Former Virgin chief Murphy to chair online property portal Boomin

April 12, 2021

A former chief executive of Sir Richard Branson's business empire is taking the helm at Boomin, the latest property venture set up by Michael Bruce, the Purplebricks founder.

Sky News understands that Stephen Murphy, who spent 17 years at Virgin Group, has been hired as Boomin's chairman.

Mr Murphy's appointment will be announced on Tuesday.

His recruitment comes as Mr Bruce finalises the first stage of a £25m fundraising for the new portal, which will compete with listed peers such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket.

A source close to Boomin said the funding was being committed at a £100m post-money valuation.

DN Capital, the venture capital investor which was one of Mr Bruce's early-stage backers at Purplebricks, is said to be among the new shareholders in Boomin.

Sky News reported that DN Capital was in talks with Mr Bruce in December.

Mr Murphy's portfolio of directorships includes chairing OVO Group, the energy provider, and London & Capital, a wealth manager.

Boomin says it has signed up many of Britain's 100 largest estate agents, including Foxtons, Hunters, Belvoir Group and Carter Jonas.

Mr Bruce left Purplebricks in 2019, prompting its board to unwind many of the strategic decisions made during his tenure.

Its shares are up by more than 165% during the last year.

In relation to Boomin, Mr Bruce has previously said: "We are in talks with a multitude of investors, including some estate agents and strategic sector investors, on a first and significant equity raise to augment the substantial funds which are continuing to be provided by the founders of Boomin.

"Any monies will provide additional firepower as we look to revolutionise the property portal space, harnessing the latest technology to provide a superior service for agents and a more rewarding experience for customers."

The new venture is expected to offer a broader range of services than existing online property portals, which have divided opinion in the estate agency sector.

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