Last time out I spoke about the beginnings of a PropTech revolution, with two major London-based events in the offing over the next few months.
In this Natter I’m going to look at some of the products that are leading this revolution.
Firstly, a few little things to mention. With the popularity of the sector on the rise, PropTech meetups are becoming more commonplace.
LendInvest, the peer to peer marketplace for property lending, has been holding regular PropTech events in the last few months – in fact, they held their latest just yesterday.
The relaxed events allow key movers and shakers in the PropTech sphere to come together and share ideas, discuss, debate, collaborate, innovate and network.
If you’re interested in attending, you can find out the date of the next event here or by following them on Twitter (@LendInvest) and searching for #PropTechMeetup.
Elsewhere, SPD Insights, which holds a free networking event on the second Wednesday of every month, spent this Wednesday discussing the close connection between Virtual Reality and property, analysing how the industry is embracing, adapting to and exploiting the weird and wonderful world of VR.
These events, with expert speakers, networking opportunities and Q & A’s with key players in the industry, will further grow in popularity as PropTech continues to thrive.
It is also well worth checking out the Pi Labs Platform website. Europe’s first “venture capital platform to invest exclusively in early stage ventures in the property tech vertical”, Pi Labs was founded by well-known entrepreneur Faisal Butt and comprises a management team of property and technology professionals.
The Programme Director is Mary Criebardis, who can be found on Twitter here.
Right, now for the top five list. (Views completely my own, of course. Feel free to agree, disagree and shout me down in the comment section below!)
It’s advertised as the fastest, simplest way to manage your keys, helping agents to save time, money and hassle when it comes to this most important of tasks.
The easy-to-use software employed by Keyzapp has a number of major benefits, including Realtime Tracking, 1-click Key Audit and a tap or scan approach – which means no delays, no paperwork and no stress.
This product isn’t gimmicky or superfluous, but a fast and useful way of helping letting agents, estate agents and property managers to track and manage keys.
By making this task less time-consuming and stressful, it helps agents to get on with the more important jobs which will help to grow their business.
Describing itself as “an advanced and innovative search engine that helps home buyers and sellers make well-informed decisions on property”, Propcision (the name derives from a shortening of “property decision”) was founded in 2015 by former finance professionals Michelle Ricci and Julien Zak.
At the heart of Propcision’s ethos is consumer awareness, helping buyers to know if a property is fairly priced, what rental income they can expect from a property, how long it’s been on the market, which areas are experiencing the biggest rises in asking prices, and much more.
Propcision also provides an add-on for Rightmove, which enables buyers to see how many times a property’s price has been adjusted, the property’s marketing history, the number of sale fall-throughs and stamp duty costs for the home in question.
It’s currently only available for London-based properties, but hopes to roll out to the rest of the UK before too long.
An innovative property crowdfunding platform which was first founded as a London-based startup in 2014, with the backing of Betfair co-founder Ed Wray and early investors in Zoopla, Property Partner is the brainchild of Dan Gandesha, former Head of Commercial at BSkyB.
In March 2016 the platform raised nearly £16 million to help stimulate growth and launch new and exciting products. There are also plans to expand operations overseas.
Put simply, Property Partner allows investors to purchase a share in a buy-to-let property (for as little as £50) and then receive an income on the rent from that property.
Property Partner maintains and looks after the property, hiring a third party to act as a landlord – which makes it an appealing option for investors who want all the benefits of letting a property without having to deal with any of the practicalities.
Property Partner isn’t the only firm offering this sort of service – property crowdfunding is also provided by Crowdahouse, The House Crowd and Property Moose – and it looks set to grow further still as low interest rates, tougher lending criteria and additional stamp duty charges make property investment in a more traditional sense less enticing.
With some properties being crowdfunded in just 35 minutes, you can certainly see how Property Partner’s core message has resonated with investors.
This isn’t one sole product, but a number of products which come under the umbrella of Virtual Reality (or VR). I’ve written before about this emerging market and the exciting opportunities it could offer to agents who embrace it.
It’s still in its infancy – and doesn’t currently have widespread use in the property industry – but as VR headsets, devices like Oculus Rift, virtual reality tours and 3D city planning continue to grow in popularity it could be the case that those agencies who take a leap of faith could be the ones who end up laughing hardest.
After all, no-one could have predicted the success of the internet or property portals 20 or so years ago. Now we can’t imagine a world without them.
Some of the companies looking to develop virtual reality in property include PropertyScape, Matterport, Virtual Walkthrough, Vieweet and VirtuEye. In all cases they allow buyers to view properties as if they were there, without actually physically being present.
It’s already an industry that is worth $1bn worldwide, with many of the opinion that it could be a game-changer for the property market as we know it.
Savills, Strutt & Parker and Foxtons have already dabbled – expect others to follow suit.
Last, but by no means least, is Angels Media’s very own ValPal tool. I mentioned it in my last blog, but I think it bears repeating: we have now reached more than 300 agents and 1500 offices! And we’re well on our way to increasing that further still.
Here’s a little reminder of what exactly the tool does: ValPal is designed to convert agents’ website traffic into vendor and landlord leads.
It does this by offering a call to action – a free instant property valuation – which captures the contact details of potential vendors and landlords and sends them straight to your inbox.
Yomdel, another proptech firm, will also be providing the live chat facility for the ValPal site.
Before I go, another quick plug for the two upcoming Proptech events in London: Future: Property Tech next Thursday and Propteq Europe 2016 in early June.
That’s all from me this week. Until next time.
*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today