London proptech startup Nested has laid off 20% of its workforce citing ‘Brexit uncertainty’

Nested, the London-based “data-driven” estate agency that provides a cash advance to help you buy a new home before you’ve sold your old one, has laid off 20 percent of its workforce, TechCrunch has learned.

According to sources, the more than 15 staff being let go were informed earlier today. The majority of departures are within Nested’s operations team, including sales, although I understand they also include a number of engineers and other product people.

Contacted by TechCrunch, Nested co-founder Matt Robinson confirmed the departures, citing the uncertainty of Brexit, and the impact this is having on liquidity in the housing market. It is understood that the layoffs are designed to place Nested in a better financial position and enable it to continue weathering the Brexit storm, and ultimately position the company to reach profitability in the future.

Robinson provided the following statement:

We have come off a record year and quarter but with continued uncertainty around Brexit market volumes have fallen significantly. We will continue to grow share, however, given the external environment we must remain cautious as we build the business for the coming years.

Launched in late 2016, Nested competes with high-end estate agents by providing all of the services needed to sell your house, but with a key difference. In addition to handling valuation, marketing and sales, the startup will loan you 90 between 95 percent of the market value of your property as a cash advance so you can purchase a new home prior to your old one selling.

Before Brexit and the uncertainty it has caused with regards to U.K. house prices, that figure was “up to 97 percent” of the market value of the property.

More broadly, the idea behind Nested is to eliminate much of the stress and uncertainty of selling and buying a home, including what your final budget will be, and also ensure that you’re never caught up in the dreaded property ‘chain’ and miss out on your desired home. By becoming a cash buyer, it also puts you in a stronger position to negotiate on your onward purchase.

Related to this, it is unknown to what extent the downward pressure on house prices in the U.K. has affected Nested’s market fit, or its ability to use data to accurately value the properties it lends cash against. However, the core value-add of not being stuck in a chain would seem to be …read more