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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

OnTheMarket to become a software house as well as portal

Jason Tebb, the ex-Foxtons agent who is now chief executive of OnTheMarket, has given his first in depth public interview since taking up the new role - and has signalled a dramatic shift in the portal’s future role.

The interview, with Property Academy founder Peter Knight was filmed at the end of March and has gone live this morning on social media

The discussion - released at 7am - covers Tebb’s vision for the challenger portal, its recent acquisition of PropTech firm Glanty, and how OnTheMarket will become a majority agent owned software house as well as a traditional portal.

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Knight also asks Tebb about his already-announced shift in direction for OTM’s marketing and communications.

OnTheMarket stresses that although the interview is being used for its own marketing and communications purposes, the questions and editorial control were entirely Knight’s - and that there was no fee for the exercise.

Tebb says: “I wanted to take the time after I joined the OnTheMarket last December to assess the business, learn what our customers expect from a portal and what consumers need and want from us too.  

“As many will already know, we’ve run a series of ‘Town Halls’ since the beginning of the year which has given me the opportunity to speak to literally hundreds of agents in a very short timescale, together with the fantastic feedback I’ve had via email and direct messages on social media from agents who have seen that I am prepared to listen, understand and then action.  

“Being able to talk about the insights I’ve gained in the last few months and share these publicly will hopefully demonstrate that this is just the beginning of my dialogue with agents and that I intend to lead the business in a very different way.”

Tebb concludes: “The business has strong foundations from which to build upon, however we have a lot of work to do in a very ambitious timeframe in order to deliver the change and development of the business that I know so many of our agents want to see.  I look forward to sharing more news in the very near future.”

You can see the video here.

  • James Scollard

    I was worried when Zoopla started buying up the estate agency software providers ... ExpertAgent, Alto, Encorelive, Jupix Etc, and accessing all data. Boomin integrating with diary / software and now OTM joining in. Portals becoming the first port of call for the user/consumer, Boomin going a step more with 'Sneak Peak' and accessing valuations & Zoopla & now OTM owning, accessing, using, raw data, its like China building our nuclear sites, doable, an easy route and cost effective, but very very risky.

    Its a bit like Lloyds owning Halifax, the largest mortgage lender in the UK now entering the buy to let market, with an aim to be the UK's largest Landlord. Is this not a conflict of interest? Will they restrict lending to developers if they are competing with very large development sites for PRS? Or having a monopoly /substantial control of this market.

    Kristjan Byfield

    I think by now the online agent model has proven itself very, very hard to establish any decent profit margins. Agents have proven ourselves an essential part of the eco-system that ensures there is enough revenue to support an eco-system and deliver profits. The care-mongering and fearful screams of 'data acquisition'- GDPR protects your clients from being directly targeted but enables them to leverage 'big data' which is anonymous. However, this delivers insights which enmab;less them to deliver products that target prospects better. These companies could pivot but when achieving decent profits why would they risk upsetting the apple cart? They can own the eco-system but let us agents take (almost) all the business risk.

     
  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    I have yet to hear or see the interview but the idea of OTM becoming a 'software house' given that you have google or microsoft etc who have multi billion dollar budgets, seems very odd, maybe this is just rhetoric or a soundbite? Or is OTM about to announce a multi-million pound tie up so that it can produce SaaS products?

    The one thing I have learnt in the proptech ecosystem is that when an enterprise starts to 'pivot' its core proposition - in this case being a property portal, and starts to go into trying to immitate another business, well focus, cash and reputations often suffer.

    Countrywide Plc was founded on high fees, high turnover of stock, focused core management, then non agents arrived and changed the model, then exited having fatally damaged the business.

    I get on five calls a day with tech founders, my first question - who are your clients? second question what is the problem you have found, third question how are you uniquely solving it? Everything else is noise, vanity and going to end badly. So who is OTM's clients? What problem is OTM solving? What is your solution? Maybe when I see the vid, things will be clearer. Maybe all the agents have said - OTM needs to pivot its model and build and distribute software products, forget the core portal business.

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    Why not just watch the video before commenting? Seems eminently sensible to me.

     
    Kristjan Byfield

    Andrew that seems a bizarre set of comments. Dont do software because of google/microsoft/etc.....most tech innovation happens outside of these businesses they just acquire them. CRMs and portals make perfect synergy- I've always been amazed RM never made this pivot- especially with the profits they had- imagine what they could have built if they gone 'all in' on this? Teclet (Glanty) has solved a long irritation of agents delivering an integrated eco-system and have landed some very nice clients to date so this appears a savvy acquisition. Theres also been talk for several years about consolidation in the PropTech space- this will largely be driven by the big agents and the big tech players (namely portals and large CRM entities....see MRIs infatigable appetite).

     
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    I will give Jason his due .. I thought he answered the questions (there were a couple of toughies in there) really well. Great interview with some some excellent questions from Peter Knight

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    The only portal that supports Agents and in return has gained the trust in this very tarnished Portal market. Jason is the CEO of OTM and still communicates with the grass route of the industry with a no Bull Sh** approch, you can speak with him direct and offer ideas on what agents want and need, seems the only portal that listens to its customers. BEST Portal for agents by a country mile..

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    It should really be the only Portal for agents as they own a majority share and therefore have control.

     
  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Kristjan Byfield the point was - OTM have zero cash to be a software warehouse, have you looked at their books recently? They are undercapitalised as it is, have almost zero traction in the portal space and managed to alienate the largest single agency in the UK with 8% marketshare. Some days I wish that I was designing space rockets, but realistically I have neither the resources or the time, a lot like OTM. Jason has arrived, but has no capital to do anything meaningful, a bit like old Countrywide, it took 140M a few years ago to bail it out, in reality all it did was keep the lights on and those in the c-suite on the gravy train, before bending its neck. And regarding tech innovation, given it can be a decade cycle before adoption and profit what shiny new things can OTM develop prior to 2031 that will help their cause. Prediction 2025 - OTM will be a very marginal player, cash strapped and out of soundbites.

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