Shaper: Charlie Vaughan-Lee

Show aired on 24th October 2015


Charlie Vaughan-Lee is CEO of property investment company Student Cribs, founded in 2002 whilst he was studying Chemistry at Bristol. Charlie has worked alongside Charlie Philip in developing the business over the past five years, including the successful launch of the first Student Crib Fund. Student Cribs was launched back when Charlie was part of his own target market, as a reaction to a situation he experienced first-hand when being deemed an ‘unattractive candidate’ by agents of landlords.

Fuelled by frustration and convinced the provision of luxury touches and investment in interior design would encourage better treatment of the spaces, Vaughan-Lee developed the concept of Student Cribs. Between 2003 and 2006 Charlie bought and successfully renovated houses in Bristol and Leeds on behalf of investors. By 2010 the group raised £11m in its first investment fund enabling the company to buy 29 houses in eight cities across the UK before raising £34m in their second fund in 2012.

As one of property’s fast-growing disruptors, Vaughan-Lee has ambitious plans. Now looking to raise fund three and continuing to expand the business, he is set to make Student Cribs the biggest provider of second and third year bed spaces in the student accommodation market by 2017.

Follow Charlie on Twitter @chazvl

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“I was fairly despondent about the fact that, in order to secure a nice house for my second year, I would have to lie to a letting agent and pretend I was a young professional”

“If you had asked me when I was 22 what my goals were from setting up a business, I would probably have said ‘to be the richest man in the world'”

“I set up a tuck shop in my second year at school which made about £20 or £30 a week”

“It is not just about doing business and making money, it’s about doing it in a good way.”

“We would like to be the largest provider of second and third year student accommodation by bed spaces.”

“It is about pulling together and achieving something together.”

“I am not suggesting we haven’t had the occasional mishap over the years; one guy built a skateboard ramp inside his bedroom…”

“At that stage we were probably turning over five or six million pounds and making a profit from selling paper cups.”

“We have refurbished thirty five houses over the last twelve weeks, from top to bottom, across the country.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I want to get rich still and be successful, but it’s great to use some entrepreneurial skills in another way as well.”