With a new $1.8M funding round completed, MOVE Guides seeks to disrupt the massive global employee relocation market

By Editor December 18, 2013
Courtesy of MOVE Guides.

Courtesy of MOVE Guides.A Q&A with MOVE Guides founder and CEO Brynne Herbert. The London-based startup, which offers a technology-based platform to reduce the stress and hassle of employee relocations, raised $1.8 million in new Seed funding at the start of this month. The team previously secured $650,000 in an Angel round last July. Investors in the Seed round include Notion Capital and New Enterprise Associates. It was founded in 2011.

SUB: Please describe MOVE Guides and your primary innovation.

Herbert: MOVE Guides is a unique relocation solution that improves employee satisfaction and reduces costs for companies. Using our customizable technology, global footprint, and local knowledge, we guide companies and their employees through their relocations.

The market has been historically dominated by traditional offline relocation incumbents. MOVE Guides brings together technology, content and service to offer a next-generation relocation experience for the next-generation employee.

SUB: Who are your target markets and users?

Herbert: 75 percent of companies expect to increase their population of mobile employees in the next three-to-five years. Many of these are Gen Y professionals with different preferences than the traditional relocatee. We have invested significantly in understanding this demographic and creating a solution for them. We support these professionals for moves in the U.S. domestic market and to-and-from almost any worldwide destination. We largely support the employees from one of two client segments—listed multinational firms and high-growth startups.

SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates MOVE Guides from the competition?

Herbert: We operate in a changing market with a great group of traditional incumbents, like Cartus, and new entrants, like UrbanBound. We all fill different niches—what really differentiates MOVE Guides is the quality of our product, footprint, and team, most of whom have lived and worked abroad themselves. Together, these give us the scale, efficiency and knowledge to deliver much lower prices to companies and serve employee customers to 99 percent satisfaction.

SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised $1.8 million in new Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding, and how do you plan to use the funds?

Herbert: We have grown very quickly over the last year and are seeing huge demand for our offering. The funding will help us expedite product development and sales.

SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for MOVE Guides? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?

Herbert: I grew up in the U.S. and then worked in finance in Asia, where I first encountered the challenges of moving for work. When I moved to London, it was particularly challenging and I moved into an apartment without hot water or Internet, and literally had a ‘breakdown moment’ in my living room wondering why it was so hard to move and so easy to plan travel. My husband told me I should change it, so I did.

SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?

Herbert: I first started researching the market and doing customer research—trying to disentangle the hassle of a move, which is a very intricate process. I was lucky to be at London Business School at the time, which is full of global citizens, many of whom were great guinea pigs for my market research.

SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?

Herbert: The name is a double entendre—we both ‘guide’ companies and employees through their relocations and provide a legitimate ‘guide’ through our technology and content.

SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?

Herbert: We will certainly be looking at additional funding rounds as we scale. The global relocation market is worth more than $40 billion annually and we want to capture as much as possible as quickly as possible. We are pleased to have great partners on this journey in Notion Capital and NEA.

SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?

Herbert: We have the same challenges as the clients we serve—getting the right talent in the right place. We have a great team now that I am really proud of, but it was not without some false starts.

SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?

Herbert: We sell our relocation solution to our clients—largely listed multinational firms or high-growth startups.

SUB: What are your goals for MOVE Guides over the next year or so?

Herbert: We have a number of exciting things in the product pipeline for the next year, as we continually strive to better serve both our clients and employee customers. We will also be welcoming some new people to the team and continually expanding our footprint for our clients.