Hannah Chapette on winning the Montagu Evans ME100 award, a search for talent and property disrupters

by Johnny Clayton on Thursday, 13 January 2022

I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled across a competition celebrating young disruptors within real estate. I knew that if we had the backing and support of Montagu Evans that we could future-proof the business.

We were at a crucial time in our journey when I came across the Montagu Evans Award as I was taking HYBR from a predominantly one-man band to a scale-up. The opportunity to tap into Montee’s network and have the support of experienced mentors was invaluable to help me make the right decisions as a young founder. Not to mention £10,000 of funding seriously helped our marketing efforts as we scaled out of Bristol into our first new city!

We’re on a journey to transform the student accommodation landscape. The same letting agents have been controlling renting standards for far too long and it’s time for a challenger brand to reset rental standards. What needs to change? Firstly, a toxic relationship has formed between students, letting agents and landlords. Secondly, students don’t feel safe renting and don’t know what they’re doing as first-time renters – too many students fall through the cracks of the university pastoral system and are left to deal with difficult situations alone. And lastly, renting is an exclusive space – it’s hard for students without wealthy guarantors and larger budgets to find accommodation.

Our mission is to drive positive change in our industry by tackling these issues and building relationships around care and trust. We’re building a platform that educates tenants on their rights and obligations, connects them to great landlords/ accommodation providers and provides them with everything they need in one place.

How you hope to work with Montagu Evans over the next year.

I plan to use the next instalment of financing towards our marketing efforts, allowing us to engage with our target market to make some noise on campus. We also plan to host focus groups to work out what new capabilities our platform should introduce to make our customers’ lives easier. And, to make the most of the experienced mentors on hand! I am working with the head of marketing on our branding, I am working with Montees’ financial team and a few partners to review our financial projections and gain valuable insights. And lastly, I am working with their student accommodation team to build partnerships with potential clients looking to find tenants to fill new builds. Of course, we can’t forget that I am fortunate enough to have access to their office space which is a particularly impressive location for me to host meetings!

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