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A Message from Our Co-Founder and CEO

Ben Grech

A Message from Our Co-Founder and CEO

We launched Uniplaces five years ago with a clear mission to build a global company that can help students anywhere in the world to find their ideal student home. We’ve come a long way but still have huge ambitions. And so it is with great excitement that we are welcoming a new CEO who I know will continue to deliver on this mission and take Uniplaces to the next level.

Since Miguel, Mariano & I first sat together in our porta-cabin office, we envisioned that Uniplaces would be a business focused on serving the global $200bn market for student accommodation. It was there we launched the business to solve the challenges millions of students face, bringing unrivalled choice, trust and convenience to this old-fashioned market. We had a vision and were eager to expand Uniplaces across Europe and beyond to the USA, South America and Asia. We grew from a team of 7 when we launched to more than 100 two years later.

Building a business is a hair-raising and exhilarating ride, in which every day throws up challenges to make sure we provide the best possible service to customers. The thrill of success and heart-sinking failure can all be experienced in one morning. We had a lot to learn (and still do) and made many mistakes — it was an rewarding time and a huge learning curve.

Being first time founders, we also matured as leaders and gained an appreciation of the true complexity of scaling a global business. We understand better than ever the challenge ahead and what it takes to win, and at this stage in the company’s life a key element is having an experienced leadership team.

Today we are lucky to have a fantastic team and in developing this team we have become more thoughtful about our own skills and where we can have the most positive impact. The culmination of this is the decision that now is the right time to bring in a seasoned operator to lead Uniplaces as CEO.

We are very happy to announce that Cyril Jessua will join our team as our new CEO. He has our full support as founders, and that of our leadership team and board.

We’re excited that Cyril has chosen to be a part of the Uniplaces story – his operational experience and expertise, authentic leadership style, and unflappable pragmatism made him a natural fit for Uniplaces. Critically, Cyril shares our vision of building the global, trusted brand for student accommodation and is ready to get stuck in and bring this to fruition. He’ll bring with him experience of scaling and leading international marketplaces — as he did successfully for Groupon in Canada, France and Belgium, and more recently at OPnGo.

During the interview process Cyril said to me, “A lot of the hard work is done, the next challenge is scaling”. And this is exactly what he knows best. He has the skills that it will take to bring Uniplaces to success on the international and global stage. I am confident that Cyril will have a very positive impact and look forward to seeing what we will achieve in the next 5 years!

I remain as committed as ever to Uniplaces, I will continue full-time as Non-Executive Chairman focused on developing some new, strategic opportunities that can be game-changing for Uniplaces. I do believe this is the right next step and that this will be a very positive transition, for me, for Cyril and most importantly for our team, and community of students and landlords.

And with that, I hope you will all join me and the Uniplaces team in welcoming Cyril as our new CEO!

Ben Grech

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