Hill: In-Deed can dominate the market

In-Deed, the new online conveyancing service from Rightmove founder Harry Hill, is eyeing up expansion into the will-writing and personal injury market.

The company listed on AIM today with a market capitalisation of £8.6m. The issue was oversubscribed and In-Deed is raising £1.6m from the float, having already brought in £2.9m in a pre-IPO placement in April.

This is on top of £1m raised from private individuals and some of the directors to get the business off the ground last year.

The AIM admission document says the directors believe the In-Deed brand and website have “the potential to expand so as to offer access to other business-to-consumer legal services”. They will explore will-writing “as a matter of priority” before considering personal injury and other products.

“The ability to leverage the company’s brand and technology platform to offer these products should significantly expand the company’s addressable market as well as bringing economies of scale,” it says.

The company also says it is “well positioned to exploit regulatory change in the legal market” that will bring about alternative business structures. Legal Futures has already revealed that In-Deed will consider investing in its panel firms.

The admission document provides greater detail on how In-Deed works. It estimates that each panel firm will handle around 1,800 cases a year, although good performance by panel individual firms will be rewarded through a greater allocation of work.

The firms have agreed to service standards, including response times, frequency of updates and quality of customer communication. In-Deed will monitor their performance through metrics and periodic inspection visits.

The firms will also be responsible for collecting and forwarding the service management charge – the up-front £200 + VAT payment by consumers that comprises a referral fee and In-Deed’s costs.

In-Deed has an 18-month contract to advertise conveyancing services exclusively on the property websites Findaproperty, Primelocation and Globrix, while Channel 4’s Phil Spencer is signed up for a year to be the “face and voice” of In-Deed. It is also considering a TV advertising campaign.

In-Deed’s plan is to become the market leader within three years and the admission document says “the combination of a fragmented market, unfamiliarity with the conveyancing process and varied service levels leave consumers confused and poorly informed”.

Mr Hill said: “I’m not very good at being second or third. Together with a team, I built Countrywide from a small estate agency group to the largest of its type in the UK, and developed Rightmove which, now valued at upwards of £1bn, is best in class. Similarly, I believe In-Deed can dominate the conveyancing market and set service standards for others to aspire to.”

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