PropTech

HYBR logo

Who?

HYBR was founded by Hannah Chappatte, a 24-year-old University of Bristol graduate, with fellow Bristol student Pablo Giacomi.

Why?

Each November millions of UK students face a scramble to find accommodation. Many end up unhappy, with houses beset with damp, uncaring landlords and letting agents who don’t answer their calls.

First years have to decide in a few short weeks who they will live with for the entire next year. Those without guarantors must pay a full year’s rent in advance.

What?

HYBR links students with reputable landlords and offers access to their community. More than 1,000 students have found houses through it.

How?

The online platform dispenses free advice to both landlords and students – on everything from deposits to maintenance issues – while helping with contracts and guarantors.

HYBR also provides legal support to students and holds free housemate matcher events.

Where?

HYBR, which already employs 10 people, started in Bristol and has just launched in seven new cities – London, Cardiff, Exeter, Lincoln, Liverpool, Lancaster and Sheffield – with plans to expand to Manchester, Nottingham, Bath and Leeds soon.

They say:

Chappatte: “Students should be excited about moving out and being independent for the first time. Instead they waste valuable time that could be spent studying or having fun locked in battles with landlords and lettings agencies, or trawling through disappointing properties.

“Every year this cycle repeats – it doesn’t work for anyone and has created a toxic market where students don’t trust landlords and landlords don’t trust students.

“We have just brought in a senior team to take the business to the next level. We are looking to raise £500,000 through angel investors and venture funds. But this isn’t just a UK problem and we want to start looking abroad as soon as possible.

“Ultimately, this is about fixing a broken market. I want to question every part of the rental system and the status quo to see if there’s a solution out there. Every part of the market is geared against underprivileged students who don’t have guarantors – we also want to help them.”

Stuart Johnson, director of the University of Bristol’s careers service: “HYBR is the archetypal disrupter. Hannah and her team saw a market that needed change and set about making that happen in dogged fashion. It’s been a joy to see them go from success to success and we wish them the best of luck in the future.”