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Ripe for disruption, the property market has long needed a shake-up, and an injection of investment and technology to drag it into the modern day. Spotting this opportunity, Proptech players (or Real Estate Technology if you prefer) are cropping up with a regularity that is enough to make even the most discerning of individuals take note. Put simply, PropTech refers to businesses using technology to disrupt and improve the way we buy, rent, sell, design, construct and manage residential and commercial property. So why is it an area to watch, and one to get excited about?
Approximately US $6 billion in venture capital has been invested globally in Proptech since 2011, and about 70 percent was in the last two years [CB Insights]. The volume of Proptech financing globally has been on a steady increase, rising 36% year on year, and projected to reach US$3 billion by the end of 2017. Last year alone saw the emergence of four Proptech unicorns: Compass, Homelink, SMS Assist, and OpenDoor Labs, all who reached the coveted $1 billion mark. With the largest commercial real estate market in the world, New York is currently the worldwide Proptech hub. But in Europe, the UK is leading the way although eyes are looking beyond these areas for the future of Proptech.
2018 is looming, what Proptech startups will you be hearing about?
1) No Agent / DISRUPTION POTENTIAL : ●●●●●●●●● [/10]
No Agent was set up to overhaul the traditional letting agent model, and in the process, make lettings easier and cheaper for both landlords and ‘generation rent’. Its end-to-end digital property management platform automates the marketing and administration of rental properties. But No Agent acknowledges that when it comes to renting, human contact cannot be replaced, so it fuses technology with customer service provided by property experts. The platform gives landlords more control and visibility, automates reminders and is working on employing artificial intelligence to book viewings, triage repairs and prepare properties to let. Founded in 2016 by serial young entrepreneur Calum Brannan, No Agent has so far raised £1.5 million in crowdfunding and from private investors and is gearing up towards a Series A round in 2018.
2) Clixfix / DP: ●●●●●
Clixifix is making life easier for housebuilders and commercial contractors, allowing them to manage their customer care operations, and also tracks defects and repairs in new houses and commercial buildings. The SaaS platform allows house builders to assign repairs to contractors and communicate with clients and occupants through an online portal. Contractors can then provide instant updates as they carry out the work required.Founded in 2012 and based out of Spennymoor in the North East, the startup raised an undisclosed six-figure sum in 2016, of which £260,000 has come from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund and the rest from an angel investor.
3) Reposit / DP: ●●●●●●
Reposit provides tenants with a more affordable alternative to the average six-week tenancy deposit needed to move property in the UK. Currently, tenants must pay into one of three tenancy deposit schemes in the UK, which holds the funds until the end of their agreement. With Reposit, tenants pay a non-refundable fee of one week’s rent. Reposit’s service provides six weeks worth of cover to the landlord for damages, unpaid rent, cleaning costs and any other charges normally associated with deductions from a security deposit. Currently, there is £3.5 billion worth of capital in the tenancy deposit system which could be freed using the Reposit scheme. Founded in 2014, Reposit raised a seed investment of £400,000in 2016 from a range of angel investors and VC’s.
4) Seeable / DP: ●●●●●
Based in Shrewsbury, Seeable use high-accuracy mobile mapping techniques to create augmented reality & virtual reality building visualization apps. Seeable’s apps are an easy, non-technical access point to buildings and structures’ information in an intuitive game-like environment. Seeable can deliver bespoke 2D and 3D applications across multiple platforms including the fully immersive Oculus Rift platform. Floored, NY based startup offering similar services, was acquired by acquired by CBRE Group, Inc., the world’s premier commercial real estate services and investment firm at the beginning of the year.
5) Pavgen / DP: ●●●●●●●●●
Pavgen aims to completely change the way cities are built by developing a way to harvest energy and data from footfall. Paygent produce flooring that can generate renewable electricity by converting the downward force of a footstep into electricity through a flywheel mechanism. Having already gone through a few iterations, their latest tile prototype was released in 2016 and can generate five watts from each person in motion. Founded in 2009, the company has received £3,133,000 in funding so far, from crowdfunding and VCs. Smart stuff indeed.