Five minutes with Benno and Bean, AKA the Raffle House founding fathers
As Raffle House founder and employee no.2 can you tell us how you both got involved in this property adventure?
Bean: I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. When I was 17 I set up a company called Muscle for Hire — I had middle aged women calling my house and asking my mum if I could go round and mow their lawns! Fast-forward a few years and after hearing that a job in the City would give me enough money to buy my own home, I decided to follow that path. I did eventually save up enough for a deposit, but soon realised my job was killing me. And when I got wind of Raffle House last November I knew I wanted to be involved straight away, but it took a while to wear Benno down!
Benno: As if! So I worked in the City too. I managed to buy at a time when it was easier to get on the ladder, but then I saw my younger siblings struggling to do the same. The average London property is now half a million quid and that’s insane! Even if you get super lucky earning 200k a year it’s still going to take you a bit of time to save. I thought “I can’t fix the housing crisis but maybe I can figure out a way of helping people get a house”.
Can you sum up what Raffle House is in a sentence?
So how do you get this ‘dream home’?
Bean: The process is pretty straight-forward: You just go to our website and answer a question — if you get it right you could win a dream home. It’s Benno’s home so he’s really put himself on the line!
How is Raffle House going to succeed where others have failed?
Benno: Lots of people try to raffle their houses, but often their property has been on the market for ages and the price they’re aiming for is not achievable. By contrast, we’ve had third-party valuations done to determine a realistic price and I haven’t put this house on the market before.
But we’re not just here to raffle one property, we’re here to create a business. We’re trying to set up something that’s meaningful, helps people, and where you can win a house mortgage-free, rent-free, and stamp duty paid.
We’ve also done a Seedrs crowdfunding campaign to ensure we get the word out about it.
Bean: Yeah, word of mouth wasn’t going to shift tickets, so we had to think of a clever way to raise money and promote ourselves. Fortunately, we had a really positive campaign with Seedrs and raised more than our original target. In a little over three months, we had over 270 investors and a marketing budget to get the job done.
What’s the future for Raffle House?
Bean: In three years’ time we could change the lives of 100s of people, setting them up for life. On top of that, there are the donations we make to homelessness charities, which already equates to thousands of pounds.
I want it to change our lives too. We both work for nothing at the moment, so we’d love to earn a salary and have a successful business!
Could you tell us a bit about the challenges of running start-up?
Bean: If doing a start-up was easy then everyone would be doing it! The great days are super high and the tough days are super low. You have to roll with the punches a lot, but the upside is that no day is the same.
Benno: I run a company with four staff, but I do everything and anything. From training customer support, to working on the numbers, to writing content for adverts, to planning our next radio jingle. It’s relentless but that’s being in a start-up. It’s damn fun too but it’s a hell of a lot of work.
Any best or worst moments from the journey so far?
Bean: The lowest moments are for me cumulative. It’s a collection of things that weigh you down for 24 hours but then you go for a run or laugh it off in the pub. Pubs are very much needed every now and again.
Benno: My best moment was when I launched the website, a culmination of a year’s worth of work, and suddenly we had all this press attention and were generating revenue. I remember going to the pub to celebrate, but then the website crashed and I had to get back to work!
To find out more about the team and what they’re doing , check out Raffle House— and you may even bag yourself a dream home while you’re at it.