Not only is real estate one of the oldest and surest of ways to build wealth, actively or passively, but it touches everyone, in one way or another - whether you’re looking to buy a home or you’re renting your first apartment with friends. It’s no surprise, therefore, that startups are emerging with the potential to revolutionise the experience both for those on the business and the consumer side. Proptech, as real estate technology is known in the start-up world, is on its way to disrupting property markets across the world.
Read on to find out how 5 proptech startups in Europe are changing the industry and how OneCoWork is using real estate technology in our workspaces.
Kasaz - Speeding up the whole process
Kasaz is an online real estate portal that is aiming to clean up and speed up the home buying process in Spain, by bringing a sorely lacking customer-orientated, transparent approach to the market. Its founders believe the sector is currently inefficient – it takes, on average, over four months to buy a home.
With Kasaz, there’s no need to sift through dozens of duplicate listings, misleading descriptions and painfully low-quality photos – they verify their properties, have professional photographers of them all and you can book viewings online.
All in all, they’re bringing the home-buying process into the 21st century, using tech that other industries have been using for a decade, but that the real estate market in Spain seems generally unwilling to adopt. Hat tip to Kasaz!
The sector is currently inefficient – it takes, on average, over four months to buy a home.
Spotahome – Long Term Rentals
Spotahome, founded in 2014, brings together concepts from a number of other platforms, helping expats find long term rentals in other cities – before they even arrive.
Firstly, the founders noticed that consumers are happy to book holiday homes without viewing, via platforms such as AirBnB. They reasoned that if we’ll do it for a two-week stay, why not a month? Or six? Or a whole year?!
Of course, one big difference is the investment you’re making and knowing that the space advertised is what you’re really going to be living in for a year. So they added a quality & accuracy guarantee – you’ve got 24 hours from move-in, if the space isn’t as advertised, to contact the platform and request a transfer to another home.
Spotahome connects the owners with the tenants, they don’t actually own any of the properties. It’s a fully online service, with a modern and simple user-interface, much like uber in many ways – and in fact, even the logo bares some similarity.
Nested – Buying and Selling your own Home
Nested, a proptech startup based in London, connects the buying and selling processes with guaranteed cash advances, allowing for stronger negotiation and more flexibility whilst moving home.
Unlike real estate investors or businesses with cashflow, ordinary homeowners are often dependent on the sale of their current home to be able to make a downpayment on a new property. This is known as being in a “chain”. Buying and selling “chain-free” – i.e. with the necessary cash flow to be in total control and not dependent on other buyers – puts you in a far stronger position to find an ideal property, negotiate well and move stress-fee.
Nested will evaluate your property and take care of the sale – meanwhile, they’ll prepare a cash advance, giving you an “advance in principle letter” of around 95%, enabling you to buy your new property with negotiating strength.
Nested, in their own words, enable families to “move on your own terms” and provide a fairly standard agency fee of 2.5%. The cash advance, if it’s needed, is charged at 0.5% and capped at 6 months – meaning a total of 3%. If it’s not withdrawn, there’s no cost.
Nested provide all their data since November 2017 on their website. We used the data available in May 2019 and calculated that their final sale price averaged 99.43% of initial valuation, taking 156 days (just over 5 months). All in all, that’s pretty good!
So far, we've helped over 400 people move home. Many of those customers were made chain-free thanks to our advance.
Matterport - Virtual Tours
Though founded in 2011 and now with over 60 million dollars in funding at Series C, matterport should still be included as a proptech startup as their use of virtual reality is showing potential to define the purchase and rental experience.
Matterport provide an end-to-end solution for producing 3D models of properties, from the hardware products (specialist 3D cameras for high accuracy and maximum resolution) to their programs which turn the 2D and 3D photographs into interactive walkthrough experiences, dollhouse views and real-life floorplans.
Whilst they started out by focussing on building cameras, with the advent of budget 3D technology – including many smartphones gaining limited capabilities – they have expanded to focus on their AI software (Cortex AI) for processing the images and creating the 3D experiences. One particularly groundbreaking aspect is the ability to create 3D data from 360 degree cameras without a 3D depth centre through the Artificial Intelligence.
They’re not stopping their – according to the matterport website, the system will eventually be able to identify and make decisions about objects in a 3D space – meaning a house that will be sold unfurnished could be accurately photographed without moving out.
The system will eventually be able to identify and make decisions about objects in a 3D space – meaning a house that will be sold unfurnished could be accurately photographed without moving out.
OneCoWork are using Matterport technology to create 3D visualisations of our innovative workspaces. Of course, there’s more to OneCoWork than can be shown on a screen. The locations are unparalleled; the atmosphere around the office is always buzzing and our friendly Community Management team are always on-hand to help make the most of your stay. Coming for a real tour also includes our amazing coffee! Nonetheless, prospective members relocating from abroad and other cities are now able to look around and get the feel for the layout of their space before arrival. Click here to virtually tour our brand-new space, OneCoWork Catedral.
Don’t just take our word for it that proptech is growing – disclosed investment rose from 221 million dollars in 2012 to 2,665 million dollars in 2016, which was also when the first proptech startup valued at over a billion dollars was founded. In 2017, VC investments hit an estimated 12 billion dollars according to one source. Proptech is attracting interest and attention because of its potential to increase revenue (for those on the business side) and save money (for consumers).