UK housing associations offer framework worth up to £400m to eBay-for-plumbers startup (but it won't get to keep it all)

'Equity-backed' DB-'n'-services biz hooks up tenants with vetted local repair shops

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A group of UK housing associations has awarded a framework contract worth up to £400m to property technology company Plentific, in part to help build a trading platform for folks to come in and do repairs and maintenance in people's homes.

The Peabody Group, which owns and manages more than 66,000 properties across London and southeast England, together with the 55,000-property Notting Hill Genesis housing association, have awarded the contract to the startup to provide "maintenance services" via its dynamic purchasing platform. The idea is to provide a "seamless marketplace" for tenants looking for contractors to do repair works.

Plentific will help with the setup and structure of the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) which will "on-board" suppliers, ensuring they meet trade-specific minimum standards and ensure tenants can book with those firms that are near them, helping keep down carbon emissions and supporting the local economy.

Although Plentific will design and run the DPS, the DPS itself will be procured separately. The tech company, which gained $32m in Series B funding in June, will be responsible for facilitating the marketplace as well as issuing and monitoring repair tasks via its infrastructure. It will also have overall responsibility for vetting and monitoring the performance of the contractors.

The tender award notice said the contract is worth £400m, which represents the value of the jobs done by the supply chain and the overall value of the framework.

The amount Plentific will receive will depend on the volume of work going through the framework, which is linked to the numbers of housing associations and public organisations using it.

The startup's platform is built on Python 3, a Postgres database, and web framework Django, hosted on Amazon AWS. It integrates with services including payment solution Mangopay and cloud comms platform Twilio.

A Peabody Group statement said: "The DPS Marketplace framework provides landlords with smart capacity management through a flexible and competitive labour force and trade businesses unprecedented access to work, providing they meet strict, trade-specific requirements.

"Plentific's expertise in PropTech facilitates the dynamic, digital marketplace. The company will also ensure the smooth running of operations through its cutting-edge platform – from vetting new contractors to issuing responsive repair tasks and voids work through to monitoring and reporting operational KPIs."

In a canned statement, Plentific CEO and co-founder Cem Savas said: "The trials with Peabody and Notting Hill Genesis have shown that our system brings substantial benefits. It can dramatically improve customer satisfaction levels, speed up repairs, lower costs for clients, and help support small and medium-sized businesses."

According to Crunchbase, the firm, which describes itself as an "equity-backed business" has inhaled $41m in funding from investors including Round Hill Ventures and Pi Labs. Nice work if you can get it. ®

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