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Uniplaces appoints Cyril Jessua as CEO following Renovata search

Uniplaces, the marketplace for student accommodation headquartered in London and Lisbon, has appointed Cyril Jessua as CEO following an executive search led by Renovata.

Uniplaces improves the experience of booking student accommodation by prioritising the online experience. It’s fast to book, safe to pay, and lets users browse thousands of trusted properties in Europe’s most interesting and vibrant student cities. It is particularly useful for students looking to live in a foreign country, and aims to make moving to a new city an exciting experience rather than a chore. Meanwhile, for landlords, Uniplaces targets mid-tier landlords owning 5-50 properties, for whom they can simplify the booking and property management process, removing complexity and guarantees usage rates for up to 12 months. The business was founded in 2011 and has received $29M in funding across five rounds, most recently a $24M Series A from Atomico and Octopus Ventures.

Cyril has an MBA from the ESSEC Business School. He opened his career as an analyst for SocGen in London and Paris, moving from equity derivatives to leveraged finance and then venture capital; before taking a consulting role at Oliver Wyman. From 2011 to 2016, he moved into execution in a series of leadership roles with experience marketing giant, Groupon: MD, Canada; Regional VP, France; MD, Belgium and then MD, France. He then took the CEO role at OPnGO, the French street parking aggregator and platform. For both Groupon and OPnGO, Cyril has demonstrated an aptitude for scaling and leading international marketplaces: developing disruptive brands in-market and growing the organisation to match customer needs.

Co-founder and outgoing CEO, Ben Grech, will continue as full-time non-executive Chairman. Cyril will take full executive responsibility for Uniplaces, reporting to the board. He will provide the leadership, strategy and execution to guide the business through growth anticipated at 100%+ per annum; and continue to broaden the brand’s appeal, reach and product set for growth and value.

About Uniplaces

Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking student accommodation, with thousands of verified properties. The business is creating a trusted, global brand for student accommodation, to make the process easier both for students and providers. The company says it “wants students to feel safe when booking and we understand the value of good accommodation providers. We give both of them the great service they deserve… It’s our way of changing the world.”

In particular, the company targets foreign students, who have the most to gain from the Uniplaces booking experience; and rather than being just an intermediary, the Uniplaces vision is to empower student mobility.

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