Headquartered in Singapore, proptech startup propseller is on a mission to make real estate transactions more efficient and data-driven for both sellers and buyers. The platform can tell users the probability of a conversion at every step. Propseller announced today that it has raised $12 million in Series A financing led by Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India.
Other investors participating in the round include returning lenders Hustle Fund, Iterative and Rapzo Capital, along with new investors Partech, ICCP SBIT, Vulpes Ventures and Redbadge Pacific. It also includes several prominent proptech founders, such as PropertyGuru’s Jani Rautianen, OpenAgent’s Marta Higuera, Homeday’s Steffen Wicker, and Flyhomes’ Tushar Garg.
Founded in 2018, Propseller will use its Series A to scale its business model, expand its offerings (including adding services such as moving house) and enter overseas markets. It currently has about 50 employees, including 20 salaried brokers (or consultants, as the startup calls them), and plans to hire 200 more people for its marketing, operations, product, engineering and sales and real estate teams. .
By using technology to make the real estate buying/selling process more efficient, Propseller can also charge just 1% commission, as opposed to 2% for traditional real estate agencies, founder and CEO Adrien Jorge told londonbusinessblog.com.
Jorge became interested in real estate growing up in Nice, France. He says people in his family became engineers or real estate agents, and he noticed that the latter group earned more than the engineers. Curious, Jorge joined his mother’s real estate agency at the age of 14 and stayed there until he was 22. But when his grandfather asked if he wanted to take over the company, Jorge decided not to.
One of his reasons was that the traditional real estate agency model was difficult to scale and very manual, often charging commissions that are hard to justify. Instead, Jorge went on to work for technology companies, including six years at Groupon, where he served as general manager of Southeast Asia.
While looking for investment opportunities, Jorge experienced the hassle of buying real estate in Southeast Asia. For example, he says that real estate prices are often high, but that the service of traditional brokers often leaves something to be desired. He attributes this to the fragmentation of the real estate market in Southeast Asia, with 200,000 agents in Southeast Asia closing on average only two transactions a year.
As a result, Jorge saw an opportunity to build a platform to help people sell their homes faster, with transparency and as little hassle as possible.
The reason Propseller calls its licensed brokerage consultants is because the company’s automation gives them time to work on client relationships. Propseller’s consultants close on average about 55 sales transactions per year, which also means they make more sales.
“We are very likely the only company in Singapore to tell you the expected conversion rate of buyer leads coming from PropertyGuru or 99.co‘ said Jorge. This means that when a lead is generated, it can be tracked from start to finish, so salespeople and consultants know every step of the way how likely a lead is to be successfully closed.
Viewings generally take place offline, but Propseller also makes video and VR viewings per home. Sellers can stay on top of the process with a dashboard that shows them which channels their property is being distributed to, inquiries are being generated, scheduled viewings and offers.
The COVID pandemic has made people more willing to buy big tickets online and many who will continue to work from home are looking for larger properties. As the pandemic gradually eases, Jorge believes these trends will continue.
The company’s main competition is Singapore’s 34,000 independent brokers, who own approximately 99% of the real estate market share. Proptech competitors include Own My Home and Blue Nest in Singapore, Red Fin in the US and Flyhomes to some extent, Jorge said.
Propseller sets itself apart with an end-to-end real estate transaction platform, Jorge said. “We’ve broken down every step of the process, recorded everything that happens, and we’re able to capture data that no one else has and identify how to optimize that process to get the best results.”
In a prepared statement, Carmen Yuen, managing partner of Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, said Propseller “is revolutionizing the way we handle our homes in a more cost- and time-efficient way, using technology and data. We’re following it.” Propseller team for over two years now and they have shown impressive resilience and growth over the years.”