03 Sep The Start-Up Series April Winner: The Moving Home Warehouse
Founders: Daniel Verblis
Company: The Moving Home Warehouse
Description: Moving home packing supplies on demand
Moving home is frequently cited as one of life’s most stressful experiences.
And yet with millions people in the UK moving property every year, why is it still so hard to get hold of quality packing supplies?
Daniel Verblis, the latest winner of The Start-Up Series, encountered this issue first-hand whilst running a removals business in Bristol: “Basically it was costing us money. The customers would be ringing us on the weekend and during the week asking for more boxes.
“Our guys would spend time driving round dropping boxes off for customers which was costing us in time and money. Customers just could not get hold of moving material when they wanted it and as a mover it was frustrating keeping up with the requests.”
He found that a lot of removals companies were suffering from the same problem and recognised there was great demand for easy access to packaging material for the domestic market.
Inspired, Verblis founded The Moving Home Warehouse: “An all-round removal packing supplier, specialising in ready-made courier friendly removal kits for all sized moves from students to large houses, delivered directly to the customers door.”
The company sells materials – including boxes, bubble wrap, shrink wrap, furniture covers, and accessories – directly from its website and indirectly through partner websites using an innovative (industry first) free Dropbox API.
What this means is that partners such as estate agents, van hire companies, student accommodation providers and removals companies (in fact any company with ‘moving related’ customers) can plug the API straight into their website to create their own packaging shop, which is fully customisable to their brand, logo and style – instantly creating a new previously unthought of revenue stream.
“We get the orders through to our Bristol warehouse. We dispatch it directly to their customers, take care of returns, any queries and then we split the profits with the partner. The partner does not have to lift a finger, they make money and their customers get hold of quality moving supplies when they want them, it’s a win, win,” explains Verblis: “It’s a dropshipping system and it hasn’t been done before in this industry, in this country.”
This approach saw The Moving Home Warehouse crowned winner of the UK’s largest monthly seed investment competition, with up to £150,000 in SEIS equity funding up for grabs from investment promoters Worth Capital up.
Their journey with The Start-Up Series
Verblis, a regular visitor of Startups.co.uk, came across the competition on the site just as he’d started to consider securing investment for the first time.
“I thought: ‘I’ll enter this and see what happens’. Obviously, I had no idea that we were going to win, but within a few weeks we were down to the last 16 businesses.”
Verblis said the process was “all quite straightforward.”
After sending over a business plan and taking part in a “relaxed” phone call with PaIl the entrepreneur was invited to London for an in-person interview.
“Again, it was very relaxed, but it was very in-depth with the investment promoters. They sort of stripped the company down to its core and we delved deep into what we do.
“It was also quite nice just to talk about my business. You don’t often get to speak to anyone in that much detail about the company and they were generally very interested in what I was doing. It wasn’t intimidating whatsoever.”
“To actually win was an incredible feeling”, says Verblis:
“For me it meant three things:
“1) Validation from seasoned entrepreneurs and investors – that the business has potential and can succeed
2) Having support from investment promoters and directors, with their knowledge and experience
3) Growth. Winning the competition will enable my company to grow and grow quickly.”
But what made the business stand out from hundreds of other entries?
“I think the judges liked the removals packaging on demand business model particularly because of our industry-first, innovative approach to internet technology, as well as the dropshipping and working with third-party industry partners.
“I also think they liked the fact that we haven’t really reinvented the wheel in terms of our product but what we have done is to create a new innovative avenue to sell that product and find customers – taking a traditional bricks and mortar industry online and into the future.”
This investment will help us become “a screwfix for the removals industry”
Verblis and The Moving Home Warehouse are already using the £150,000 investment to great effect:
“We’ve got a UX developer currently working with us, who’s helping us to heat map the website and look at the entire user experience, which is going to be more desktop friendly, mobile-friendly, and tablet-friendly – and ultimately help customer find the right products to suit their move.”
“We’re also taking on an acquisitions manager to help sign up partners with our free technology. We’re rounding out our product range. We’re going to be spending some money on online marketing. And then also, crucially, we need to hire staff: operations staff, admin staff.”
Ultimately, Verblis wants The Moving Home Warehouse to be more than just a household name in the removals packaging industry:
“We’re trying to partner with thousands of moving related partners across the country, so that whenever someone in the UK is buying moving packaging material the likelihood is that they’ll be buying it from us. Essentially an online Screwfix for the removals industry where we can offer huge discounts to our trade partners and domestic customers.”