Under The Doormat Blog

The key to your local stay

London: 2016’s biggest filmset


Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl novel The BFG was filmed across the UK, and is being released next week. To celebrate, we have compiled a list of this year’s upcoming and recently released blockbusters that were shot on location across the capital.

Star Wars: Rogue One – Canary Wharf (December)

The Empire; rebels; Darth Vader; the Death Star. It doesn’t get much better. Star Wars returns with a visit back to the original series. Canary Wharf tube station was transformed from a bustling hub of office workers to the locus of the Death Star for Rogue One, the latest chapter of the franchise, with other filming taking place in Elstree studios, Hertfordshire.

Jason Bourne – Woolwich (28th July)

Jason Bourne

Matt Damon returns to London to rekindle his role as confused agent Jason Bourne in the fifth part of the action series. Filming took place in Woolwich, the second time London has been a significant location for Bourne after Waterloo station was used for an exhilarating pursuit and failed assassination attempt in The Bourne Ultimatum.

Ghostbusters – Waterloo (11th July)

Ghostbusters waterloo

Almost as unexpected for commuters in Waterloo this week is the enormous Stay Puft marshmallow man appearing to spawn from beneath the station. While Ghostbusters hasn’t been shot in the UK, he’s there to celebrate the film’s release this week.

The Legend of Tarzan – The City (6th July)


The reboot of the story of Tarzan sees the title character, played by Alexander Skarsgård, abandon his political ambitions and life in Britain for the far-flung reaches of the Congolese rainforest. Less well-known is that the majority of the film was shot on location in Warner Bros. studio in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, as well as the historic interior of Goldsmith’s Hall in the City.

The BFG Dream Jar Trail

BFG dreamjar trail map

While you’re at it, make sure to check out The BFG Dream Jars trail: an eclectic series of sculptures dotted around central London until the 31st August. They have been designed by groups and individuals ranging from Arsenal Football Club to Dame Helen Mirren.

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Secret Covent Garden

How do you get away from the tourists in one of London’s busiest areas? We have put together a guide to the secrets of this enthralling part of the West End. From hidden streets to historic buildings, there’s more than meets the eye in Covent Garden.

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Our crowdfunding is now public!

We are excited to announce our crowdfunding campaign is now public! What’s more, we have already raised over £100,000 in investment, and so are 60% of the way to our target of £175,000. 

The campaign was launched privately in June but it is now possible for anyone to invest through Seedrs, a professional crowdfunding platform.

The sharing economy is expanding at a phenomenal rate – from just $13 billion in 2013 to a predicted $335 billion in 2025, within which the accommodation sector is projected to increase by 31% each year. This incredible growth is projected to continue in spite of the uncertainty of Brexit – for more on this you can read our blog article.

We welcomed our first guest to one of our Richmond homes just over 18 months ago and since then we’ve had over 630 guests stay with us across London. We would love for you to join us as we grow, so please check out our six-step guide to crowdfunding.

Please get in contact with us at investors@underthedoormat.com or 0207 952 1650.

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What Brexit means for the Sharing Economy

Since Britain voted to leave the EU, people have been trying to understand the implications: for British politics, the economy, and their own lives. But what does Brexit really mean for Britain and its citizens?

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Merilee on EURef

Headshot Photography London 0499

I supported staying in the EU. One of the foundations of the sharing economy is that we all benefit when we are open to each other, whether that’s moving freely within Europe or letting someone stay in your home when you’re away. So for me personally, it’s disappointing news.

Like all of you we’ll be keeping a close eye on how things evolve, but right now I see the vote having very little impact on us. We are a London-focused business and London will remain a great city that people want to visit. The sharing economy will continue to grow at an incredible rate, and we will continue to grow with it.

For now, we thought you might enjoy a change of topic and a little light relief.


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UnderTheDoormat’s step-by-step guide to investing


Thank you for considering investing in UnderTheDoormat. We are very excited about our next stage of growth and we’re delighted you may join us.

We understand this will be the first time many people will be using crowdfunding and we want to make sure that you feel clear about everything and comfortable about the process.

Step 1: Letting us know you’re interested in investing

We have created a pledge page as an unofficial way of letting people say they’d like to invest in UnderTheDoormat.

If you pledge a specific amount we can count it towards our target. It also means we might be able to save you some space in the SEIS scheme which is available for UK taxpayers (more on that below).

At this stage you haven’t formally invested anything and there’s no obligation that you do (though we obviously hope you will).

Step 2: Investing officially

On June 15 we will formally launch our crowdfunding campaign with Seedrs. This is your opportunity to officially invest in us.

Seedrs is a professionally-run crowdfunding platform. Before you can invest you need to sign up [link] with them.

This will include answering some questions about crowdfunding and the potential risks of investment – it’s all quite straightforward, but we recommend that you sign up before June 15 just so you are ready.

You won’t see our page on the website before June 15 as that only goes live on our launch day.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.33.30

Step 3: Launch Day – June 15

We will send a link to our crowdfunding page to all those who have pledged to invest. On the first day we will prioritise those who have pledged to invest already so they have the opportunity to invest first.

You can choose to invest the same amount as you pledged or you can invest more or less (we hope you do more 🙂 )

If you are a UK taxpayer: If you would like to qualify for SEIS then you must be within the first £82,500 of investment on the Seedrs website. We strongly recommend you make your official investment on June 15 to be sure of this. For more information about SEIS please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/seed-enterprise-investment-scheme-background.

If you can’t invest on June 15 and you pledged a specific amount we may be able to hold space in the SEIS scheme for you for a short period of time. Please let us know if you think you might need us to do this. If you didn’t specify an amount we can’t hold any space for you in the SEIS scheme.

Step 4: Our crowdfunding launch party

To celebrate the official start of our crowdfunding campaign we will be holding a launch party in central London in the evening of June 15.

We would be delighted if all of our potential investors joined us – but we can only send you an invite if you make a pledge.

Any questions?
We hope this has explained everything for you, but if there’s something else you’d like to know, please get in contact with us at investors@underthedoormat.com or 0207 952 1650.

Thank you for your interest in investing and we hope to see many of you soon!

Best wishes,

Merilee and the UnderTheDoormat team






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Meet the CEO

UTD Merilee Pic 2

Getting to know the founder and CEO of UnderTheDoormat, Merilee Karr.

Why did you set up your own company?

I’d been working for Shell for 12 years and during that time it gave me so much, but I wanted to create something new – something which could really change how people do things.

And why UnderTheDoormat?

I’ve travelled a lot in life – I lost count of how many countries I’ve visited after I hit about 70. And throughout all of my trips the best stays have been those that gave me a chance to really get under the skin of a place – to see it like a local person would.

Then living in London I could see how many homes are sitting empty while people are away, and I realised that we could let these homes to visitors and to give them a much more authentic local experience than a hotel would offer, but without the homeowner having to take care of everything themselves. And it just went from there.

Why did you call the company ‘UnderTheDoormat’? 

It goes so well with the idea that when you go away you leave keys for your friends under the doormat. It’s personal and welcoming and those are two things we really want our guests to feel when they arrive. And the concept works across all cultures.

Do you actually leave the key under the doormat?!

Haha, no! We personally check all of our guests in when they arrive and out when they leave.

What are you proudest of achieving in UnderTheDoormat’s first two years?

Oh it’s got to be the team.

Starting up a company by yourself is daunting, but I’ve been so lucky with the support I’ve had. We’ve now built a great board with huge experience in this sector and the team itself has gone from just me to 8 people now.

The most important thing for me has been to build the right culture. I want to work with people who believe in and share the company values and I’m very grateful that I do.

And the most exciting moment in a start-up?

That’s a hard one… The thing about a start-up is that everything is happening for the first time and that’s what makes it all so exciting. Our first booking, our first employee, Olesya, our first office, even our first global insurance policy – you never think of insurance as exciting but when you’re building something for the first time it is!

What do you love most about London?

Oooohhhh. Well it’s got to be the diversity and opportunities, hasn’t it? I know lots of people say that, but the possibilities seem endless in every direction in this city. London is one of the leading cities for managed accommodation in the sharing economy, and that’s because it’s a place where people are always looking for new things, for new opportunities.

What do you hate most about London?

The mayonnaise [laughs]. Seriously, what is it with English people putting Mayonnaise on everything?

Where do you want to be living in 5 years’ time?

I have no idea where I’ll be living but wherever I am I want to keep on travelling. Travelling is like an accelerated learning experience and there are still so many places I haven’t been able to visit.

What about UnderTheDoormat – where will that be in 5 years’ time?

Everywhere I hope! [Laughs]. No the natural first step is Europe – there are a lot of cities where UnderTheDoormat would thrive – my dream is to build a global brand. The concept works everywhere and with a bit of luck we’ll get to take it around the world.

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What do you love about your local area?

What do you love about your local area? Is there a place where you enjoy brunch on a Saturday morning? Do you always get your morning fix in an independent coffee place on your commute into work?

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