Start-up on growth path

City Room Rentals expands online student service

Nick FindlayAn online accommodation rental business, matching students from around the world with purpose-built student accommodation, is expanding across the country.

Daily Business has learned that the former Edinburgh Room Rentals, now City Room Rentals, will be operating in Aberdeen, Glasgow, St Andrews and London, with further plans to launch in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle this year.

The company also provides booking management integration services for hotel and university partners, most recently in partnership with Stirling Venues and the University of Stirling.

Founded by husband and wife team Nick and Anna Findlay in 2014, in the last year City Room Rentals has arranged more than 55,000 overnight stays in Edinburgh and generated over £1.9 million in booking revenues for clients. The company is now on track to double year-on-year revenue growth.

The US, Germany and France are the top three sources of enquiries to City Room Rentals, with China and India also supplying growing numbrs.

The firm is looking to scale-up substantially and become the number one destination for foreign students looking to book accommodation in the UK.

It works with student accommodation providers including Unite Student, CRM Student, Mansion Student.

Having previously won Scottish EDGE Young Edge funding and STEP Business awards in October 2015, the co-founders joined the accelerator service Entrepreneurial Spark in February.

Mr Findlay (pictured), who is CEO, said: “Since starting the company in 2014 we have helped attract a large number of international students to the country in partnership with our educational partners such as Napier and Heriot Watt Universities.

“With international students in London alone contributing net gains of £2.3 billion a year towards the UK economy, we are determined to work with accommodation providers across the country to make the process of studying abroad as seamless as possible.

“After winning the Young Edge award last year we knew the focus of the business had to be on scaling up, and since joining Entrepreneurial Spark in February the expert enablement and business advice from organisations such as KPMG and Harper McLeod has certainly helped us to achieve the growth mindset shift we needed.

“We are really excited about the next six months as we aim to have to have a presence in the top 10 towns and cities across the UK by the end of the year.”

Jim Duffy, founder and chief executive optimist at Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “It is clear that Nick and Anna have a great business model with lots of opportunities to scale, and more importantly that have the right GoDo mindset and perseverance needed to make their long term goals a reality.

“Entrepreneurial Spark is delighted to be part of their journey and equip them with the tools they need to develop and grow, both as entrepreneurs and as a company.”

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