10 Questions with John McCoy, CEO of ProprHome

June 27, 2024
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ProprHome is hoping to be the flagship for a new breed of real estate marketplaces that use blockchain technology to drive and reward trust and transparency in the market.

The brainchild of former real estate agent John McCoy, the company was founded in 2020 and has been in development since then with a launch date imminent.

As the platform goes live in its first market of Portugal, we spoke to McCoy (pictured below) to find out more about the project...


What is the problem that ProprHome solves?

Trust. ProprHome is a Trustpilot-like marketplace for the real estate industry. It rewards professional engagement and the supply of verified data. Our focus is on enabling real estate professionals to verify and validate their activities, empowering them to develop consumer trust faster. 


What makes ProprHome different from other portals?

Unlike other platforms, ProprHome has been built to address various data and trust issues in today’s residential market. Whether it be trust in your real estate professional's experience or service level or trust in the offer and negotiation process, our platform is designed to facilitate verification, reward engagement, and host secure transactions. This infrastructure is at our core and differentiates us from almost any other marketplace in our vertical. 


What is ProprHome’s biggest challenge?

The sheer scale of the competition, and the ever-changing needs of the market. The real estate portal space has been owned by a handful of global players for decades. We need to be super smart in our go-to-market. We need to stay close to our stakeholders, and build community. We have a great opportunity, but we need to stay focused. 


Whatsapp Image 2024 06 10 At 14.33.59 F1Adcbb6We’ve been speaking about the future of real estate search a lot recently. As someone building a new marketplace, how do you think about it?

Marketplaces have not changed all that much over the last 20+ years. Many companies have attempted to reinvent how they operate with the introduction of an iBuyer, subscription or transaction-based model, but in essence, they’ve barely changed. Sell side provides data, which is consumed by the buy side. The marketplace makes the match and facilitates the intro. But this is about to turn on its head...

With advancements in both AI and blockchain, builders now have so many new variables to work with that can overhaul lots of the frustrating, legacy-based processes that exist today. We have the ability to enhance search, customer service, transaction efficiency, data verification and so much more. This is uncovering lots of new, untapped revenue streams for us and many others like us in the space. 


What is ProprHome currently working on?

Lots! EU regulation in the digital asset space, particularly in relation to bringing RWAs (Real World Assets) online, is starting to pick up pace.

Companies like us should not only be aware of these advancements, but we need to be building in parallel. The majority of our energy is invested here at the moment. Of course, it’s lots of fun to investigate how AI can impact the space, there are so many really interesting applications, but we believe in delivering true digitisation of the transaction.

Immersive tech is another area we are seriously looking into. I really do believe we live in a golden age for building property marketplaces!


What is the most common request from clients?

ProprHome has been developed with lots of help from the market. This process meant we had hundreds of conversations on what works, and what doesn’t work today.

If we are to review the most common request form our sell-side (agents), it would have to be the following

  1. How can we understand our market better?
  2. How can we understand our customers better?
  3. How can we prove we are the best match for our customers' needs?

Our buy side’s (customer) needs are very different. They want efficiency, security and accountability. This can come in many forms but ultimately it comes down to data variety (sometimes pricing data isn’t the most important factor), how the data is presented and how it’s verified. Customers are more sophisticated than ever—so let’s start building this way.


You’re taking on some big companies in the market (OLX Group and Idealista). How are you going to win over agents and consumers?

Yes. This is why we are here! Taking on the Goliaths early on is a sink-or-swim strategy, but we are up for the challenge.

Both of these players have huge resources, but they have been left with total market share for a long time. This hasn’t resulted in unwavering loyalty, in fact as time passes portions of the market have become disenfranchised with the waning value on offer, but both sleeping giants are waking up to this with many new initiatives and features being introduced daily.

However, we believe in our foundation - to facilitate trust. Staying true to this position, and building community around this USP should enable us to grow into a new, agile operator utilising a combined 35+ years of industry experience.


What is one thing our readers might not know about but would probably find interesting about the Portuguese market and why did you choose Portugal for ProprHome?

Portugal has the highest density of real estate agents in Europe with just under four times the EU average per capita. Yet it only has four major urban areas and over 1,200km of coastline. As a marketplace focused on helping real estate agents become more efficient this is the perfect testbed.  


ProprHome raised a pre-seed round two years ago. How has your progress been since then and will you look to raise again soon?

ProprHome made the decision to raise a pre-seed by way of a development grant in 2022. This has had its pros and cons, but we wanted to ensure we had something tangible before going to the market for additional funding.

Our pre-seed enabled us to build, test and iterate. This strategy has meant it has taken us a little longer to get to market than we would have liked, but this is starting to prove to be a worthy investment as we were able to validate our value and prepare to close out our seed round.

Our seed round is now in place which should enable us to develop a sustainable market share in Portugal and begin to expand into new markets. We do not envisage raising again until the summer of 2026 once our current raise has closed. 


What is one thing you think the real estate marketplace industry should be talking about more?

Blockchain BEYOND tokenising the asset.

Yes, tokenising the asset is exciting. It can make investing attainable for many who otherwise couldn’t afford it, but there are so many other problems in this vertical that can be solved or improved by the use of verified ‘transactions’. As a team we believe that the next decade will be filled with blockchain use cases that enable trust at many different stages of the value chain.

It will facilitate new ownership and right-of-use models that will expand how we own and use real estate. Coupled with AI, this can transform how we look at supply and demand, transform service quality, and ultimately transform transactions for everyone.

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June 27, 2024
Since March 2020 Edmund's job has been to read about, write about, collect data on, analyse and generally know about real estate marketplaces and the companies that run them. Before that he worked at the aggregator Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect) for five years.

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