How we started
SpareRoom is the brainchild of Rupert Hunt. Rupert is an unlikely tech entrepreneur. He lives in a 300-year-old house with no TV and no microwave. Nevertheless, he's built the UK's busiest flatsharing website.
We opened our doors in 2004. That makes us ancient in web years - older than Twitter and older than Instagram. Here are some of our best bits:
Rupert had just finished a Mickey Mouse degree at Leeds called ‘Pop Music'. He moved to London to be in a band*, and created websites in his spare time.
Despite being a horrendous flatmate, and always leaving dirty dishes in the sink, Rupert successfully launched the UK's first flatsharing website - IntoLondon.com.
Rupert moved back to Manchester and realised flatsharing wasn't just a London thing. From a spider-ridden shed in his parents' back garden, he launched SpareRoom - a flatsharing website for the whole of the UK. He funded it on his credit card and worried about it later.
The same year, Rupert took on his first employee, Gemma Allen-Muncey. Together, they ran the first ever SpeedFlatmating event in Clapham. After a feature in a local paper, the Times picked the story up. By the time they ran the third event, they were joined by two TV channels, three radios stations and five newspapers. Things spiralled from there.
After separating from his wife, Rupert found himself alone in a townhouse in Spitalfields, East London. He decided to use his own website to find flatmates. Having people around didn't just make life more fun. It helped Rupert fall in love with SpareRoom all over again. He realised that living with the right people beats living alone any day.
SpareRoom is the UK's number 1 flatsharing website. We get over 2 million visitors every month - that's 11 times the circulation of the Guardian (and 133.5 times the circulation of Lady Golfer). We've brought people together from all walks of life. Our users have made lifelong friends, travelled across the world to meet each other's families, and there's even been the odd wedding.
We want to do even more to help you find people who make sharing amazing. That means inventing new ways to bring like-minded people together and leaving fewer things down to chance. And we'd love to make flatsharing a lifestyle that people aspire to - an upgrade from living alone, rather than the other way round.