P | P | P – feat. EverKnock

We capture and share the stories behind the name. We collate authentic peer to peer real-talk while celebrating the growth and success thus far and gather a glimpse of what’s ahead. As part of this, we caught up with Dan Awais-Dean, CEO at EverKnock.

The purpose of article series ‘Product | People | Potential’ is to feature and showcase the very best UK start-ups with grand potential, truly inspiring businesses that are shaking up their sector. We capture and share the stories behind the name. We collate authentic peer to peer real talk, while celebrating the growth and success thus far and gather a glimpse of what’s ahead.

Can you please introduce yourself, what your business does, what stage you are at currently and what makes your business and offering unique?

Dan: Hi, I’m Dan, co-founder and CEO of EverKnock. We are a concierge that takes the time and stress out of one of life’s most important but stressful events – buying and selling a home. Through our concierge service, we streamline communication between all the major stakeholders – buyers, solicitors, mortgage brokers, surveyors and more – and integrate all the home-moving service providers you need into one seamless journey. Think of us like a wedding planner for your home-move.

Our service is live and we are helping buyers and sellers all around the UK navigate the home-moving journey. We are the first tech-enabled home-moving concierge service in England and Wales, keen to bring certainty, both in cost and service-quality, into what can be a widely unpredictable process.

Can you share the story behind the origin of your business and Service / Product?

Dan: I felt immense pride when I made the decision to buy my first property using money I had saved in my first job. Unfortunately the 5 months that followed were filled with stress and confusion, during a process that even at the end I didn’t fully understand. 5 years later I was fortunate enough to purchase again, this time with my partner. Unfortunately the journey was no better and it took 167 anxious days to get the keys, with little guidance throughout. I became the de-facto project manager of my move without any expertise on it and it hurt me to know that this was the status quo and something that hadn’t changed in decades! If nothing else, having to watch my partner’s anxiety for the best part of 6 months drove me to find a solution that would genuinely take the stress out of the home-buying process and make movers’ lives better. The company was founded in the early months of the Covid pandemic in 2020, initially in London where I’m from and as a solo founder. About 12 months in, I met my co-founder Steve who had recently exited his own PropTech startup, which shared some similarities with EverKnock and so there was lots of domain experience, both positive and negative, that we’ve been able to leverage as we’ve built our unique solution to this widespread problem.

Speaking of People, can you share some challenges you have faced, are facing or are anticipating around scaling and growing your team? Do you have any top tips you could share with those businesses faced with the same issues?

Dan: As a founder, you often hear that one of the key reasons that companies fail is due to poor recruitment. That’s especially true as an early-stage startup where those first few employees are so pivotal to how your business grows. We plan to hire our first full-time employees over the coming months and have been thinking deeply about how to make those hires a success. Having watched the experiences of other founders as well as the experience Steve has had hiring at his previous startups, we believe one of the most important factors is a shared set of values, which will ultimately lay the cultural foundation of our company. Another big part of our recruitment strategy is creating diversity within the team, to give us as many different perspectives as possible so that we can solve problems effectively. Lastly, working in startups is a tough gig and not for everyone. It can be uncertain and consume you, so finding people that you genuinely get along with is incredibly important. We are mission-oriented but we want to have fun too!

Moving to Product, what has been your approach to understanding and implementing product market fit or sales cycles?

Dan: To date, our route to market has been through estate agents who provide us with leads to property buyers and sellers. The industry we work in is renowned for a lack of innovation and operating within the status quo in recent years. The time to buy a home has actually increased by 23% over the last few years, along with the associated stress, so things have actually been getting worse! When you enter a market like this with a belief that you can solve a huge pain point that has been pervasive for so long, it’s important to understand the need to strike a balance between pitching revolution and evolution. The sales cycle can be slow and there is a need to educate on the benefits you bring vs the way things have always been done, without provoking industry incumbents. That balancing act has been a big learning for us.

And then Potential, can you share some challenges or barriers you had to overcome to create a Product / Service offering with potential?

Dan: Our service requires collaboration between lots of different stakeholders in what is a very fragmented process. Enabling that collaboration has and continues to be a significant challenge, but one that we are confident of overcoming. The inability of others before us to recognise this has been their downfall but we are approaching the challenge in a unique way that we believe will deliver success.

Investment can often be a challenge for start-ups & scale-ups. Do you have any piece of wisdom you could share around best approach?

Dan: Like many founders, I’ve spent a huge amount of time on fundraising and learned a huge amount. My biggest takeaways?

  • Have a strategy; fundraising is a sales process so approach it in the same way you would to close a customer.
  • Fully expect this to be your full time job for as long as it takes to close the round.
  • Ask committed investors to introduce you to at least 1 other investor in their network.
  • Don’t underestimate how long it will take to close a round; it always takes longer than you expect!

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