Under The Doormat Blog

The key to your local stay

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.

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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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UnderTheDoormat is crowdfunding!

The sharing economy is growing at a phenomenal rate – from just $13 billion in 2013 to a predicted $335 billion in 2025.   The accommodation sector within that is projected to grow at 31% each year over this period.

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. Since we started we’ve seen the number of bookings we’ve taken increase by 500% each year.

So the sector is growing rapidly and we have been too. Our next step is to raise money so we can scale our operation and keep growing at the rate we have been. That’s why we’re Crowdfunding.

If you’re interested in learning more or in owning a bit of UnderTheDoormat, please go here to let us know you’re interested and we can keep you up to date.

This is a hugely exciting time for us. We’ve built a strong business & identified our successful growth strategies; now it’s just a matter of getting the resources to implement them and scale up.

We would love for you to join us on this journey – as a homeowner, as a guest, and as an investor.


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Introducing HiyaCar!


Did you know that your car can pay itself off, fight traffic and even help to save the planet?

Thanks to car-sharing, it can!

We are pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with HiyaCar, the person-to-person car sharing service that let’s you hire a car from someone local. Whether you’re looking for a small car for a weekend in the city, or a big-booted-beast for a week away, they’ve got you covered and they have you insured!

For our very special members, if you register now, HiyaCar will give you 10% cashback on your first car hire booked before the end of May!

Curious to learn more? Head over to HiyaCar today to sign up for free, or follow them on Twitter!



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Sharing economy allowance boost

We’re delighted with the financial support announced by the UK government for the development of the sharing economy. While there is always more to do, it is definitely a great start in terms of policy for this burgeoning industry.

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Experience London like a local

Stepping into the shoes of a local and experiencing London from their perspective is the most authentic experience and is often off the beaten tourist track! We help UnderTheDoormat guests create their local story and it means that local homes, businesses and hidden gems are all enjoyed and explored, helping London be that much more exciting and vibrant and sharing the wealth across the capital.

If you or someone you know is coming to London, get in touch and experience UnderTheDoormat London!



Source commentary: City Am “Outer London boosted by Airbnb”

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Veridu & UnderTheDoormat: building trust in the Sharing Economy

What does peace of mind mean to you?

Our homeowners trust us with their most valuable asset – their homes. We are proud to have a series of thoroughly developed processes that help us to provide peace of mind for our customers who rely on our competence and knowledge.

Revealing one of our key enablers is assuring that peace of mind, we are delighted to announce our partnership with ID Verification company Veridu.



Veridu ID verification: How does it work?

Very simple.

Before any booking can be confirmed users have to verify their identity. The process is simple and can be completed by the user at any point so that it doesn’t impact the overall experience of using the site.

UnderTheDoormat have configured the verification process to include social media checks, challenges to prove the user has knowledge of the accounts they’ve used, as well as email/phone number authentication and a passport upload facility to confirm identity at the check-in. These choices give the user control over how they verify themselves.

Veridu analyses the information provided by a user to assess the credibility of their identity by calculating the time it would have taken to fake the accounts. Users who successfully verify get a visible badge for their profile and can confirm their bookings.


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What does it mean for our customers?

  • Homeowners have that extra layer of comfort knowing that their home is in good hands
  • It adds security and builds trust without compromising on a slick customer experience


“Operating in the sharing economy, it’s vital for us to build trust into our platform by removing risk for our homeowners and guests. Veridu’s social identity solutions are a big step forward for us as a business in building the trust which is at the very core of our UnderTheDoormat values.”

– Merilee Karr, CEO and Founder, UnderTheDoormat

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