It's been a huge year for property portals - from mega funded proptech portals, to new business models - so we've compiled two of our most-read articles to bring you a list of popular portals that have made waves.
Recently PPW founder Simon Baker, the former REA Group CEO, revealed his top 10 picks for global property portals to watch over the next 12 months. Here they are again:
1. Rightmove (UK)
Baker says the leading UK portal Rightmove is a business to watch. It's a simple, pay-to-list, low cost operation with a clear model which doesn't get distracted but stays focused on delivering good value for its audience.
Baker says leading Australian property portal realestate.com.au has a good story around extracting value from the advertiser. It has grown from an 'all you can eat' model to offering a number of paid services, even though the number of agents hasn't changed in Australia.
"Realestate.com.au knows how to create competitive tension," Baker said. "By educating the market about the value of a premium product, it has created a market where everyone wants one."
He said it is also a unique, vendor-paid advertising model.
"The 10,000 agents in Australia are a sales force for REA Group," he said. "They advise vendors to buy premium product to put a property at the the top of a page. Realestate.com.au.
"Do premium listings get more clicks than normal listings? Probably not. If you want a house you look through all listings whether big or small. Realestate.com.au has exploited the use of premium products and grown exponentially."
In the US all listings are available everywhere, unlike in the UK where Rightmove has pulled together all listings in the market and they're not accessible elsewhere. US portals therefore have to differentiate themselves in other ways. Trulia has done this by excelling in consumer interaction, says Baker.
"It uses a variety of products and tools such as heat maps and related tools to add value to the listings," he said.
The VivaReal portal is based in Brazil, a huge country with a population of 200 million. It is a late entry to the market which has utilised SEO exceptionally well to grow.
"VivaReal executed its model step by step, rolling it out carefully by starting with the top end agents then converting," said Baker. "The quality team at VivaReal has a clear business model, an organsied approach and they measure performance."
Based in the emerging market of Pakistan, Zameen has a data-driven approach which uses performance management dashboards to ensure their team of 500 sales people are following up each lead.
6. Mitula Group
With 65 million visits a month, Mitula is an example of a highly successful model in which 68 percent of traffic is driven by SEO with a long tail.
Baker says Immobiliare, an Italy-based portal, has a powerful story about attacking a market leader and winning.
"When Immobiliare entered the market, the then leader was REA Group subsidiary Casa," he said. "Immobiliare's CEO, driven by the desire to win, went about understanding his competitor and through gaining a deep knowledge and strong execution gained market leadership over three to four years."
8 and 9. EasyProperty and Purplebricks
Simon Baker says these EasyProperty and Purplebricks may not be winners in the market, but he believes their business models are the way of the future. Purplebricks has just made a splash into the Australian market.
"They work on the premise of streamlining a self-service model rather than paying agent commissions," he said.
"The younger generation don't want to pay a 2 percent commission when they could sell their own house. They feel comfortable buying products online, even making movies, so they feel just as comfortable buying or selling property.
"This kind of model where you pay a Purplebricks to market and help you out with compliance while the user does the rest will work and it's the future."
10. Square Yards and Real Estate Investar
"These portals are making use of vast, rich databases which gather detailed information about customers and mass marketing the information, then selling the information to advertisers and delivering them with much greater value because it's a targeted approach to a sale," he said.
"For example, Real Estate Investar knows all about their property investor subscribers from where they are in the investment cycle to what kinds of market they might be in. This type of information is of huge value to agents and developers.
"Building data on the audience hasn't been well done until now. We know a lot about the agents, which are one side of the equation, but not the other side. It's a returning audience.
"The portal of the future will be a data collecting device. It understands the behaviour of specific buyers in great detail and will be able to work with advertisers to target buyers more effectively for better lead conversion."
Compass – This is one of the year’s real estate tech unicorns. Raising a reported US$80m in August, compass is taking a new approach to property search, focusing on giving brokers the best tools available to streamline the buying process. It’s only available in a handful of US cities and we’d hate to think what it would be worth once it has covered the whole country.
DroneDeploy – In the construction industry right now, drone advocates are promising a new dawn. It’s great getting high quality visuals of construction sites (we are doing it in Singapore) and the potential of combining BIM and drones to better monitor construction progress is exciting. DroneDeploy has gone one (big) step further, launching an app store on its platform, allowing any 3rd party developer to publish software capable of integrating with its own. 19 apps are already listed specialising in anything from tree counting to roof inspections.
Equiem – Australia punches above its weight in the real estate tech scene largely thanks to portal monster REA Group. Equiem, which has been around since 2012, has about the most sophisticated tenant engagement platform we’ve seen. They give commercial landlords a platform to engage with office workers, connecting them with retail services and infrastructure, thereby creating micro-communities to improve worker productivity and satisfaction.
Latch – It felt like the list needed a representative from the smart home category and Latch edged it based purely on a good-looking product, and an equally impressive investor list. The Latch team graduated from the R/GA IoT accelerator and received investment from real estate specialist VC Camber Creek and MetaProp NYC’s Zach Aarons (one of the statesmen in this space). While there are plenty of smart lock providers, Latch is both well connected and well-funded.
LendInvest – UK P2P lending platform, LendInvest, is a shrewd combination of FinTech and PropTech (as they call it there) connecting lenders with borrowers looking for short term real estate loans. What we like about them is their commitment to transparency – they list all their figures on their website including revenue, profit, total amount lent, properties funded and average return. They also work hard to help promote the real estate tech scene in London.
Matterport – If virtual reality (VR) was the buzzword of real estate in 2016, then Matterport is where the rubber hits the road. It’s racking up serious numbers and establishing global partners to charge further growth. So marks the death of static, 2D property photos online.
Opendoor – The most exciting one of the lot.
Opendoor's model is groundbreaking. Upload your home's details and receive an offer via email shortly afterwards. The other unicorn on the list with a massive capital raise of US$210m a few weeks ago.
VTS – VTS is the flag bearer of real estate tech v2.0 (v1.0 being the move to online classifieds like Trulia and Zoopla). The founders looked at commercial real estate and took the whole thing online with a comprehensive leasing and asset management solution. Deals this year with Hightower and Compstak have set them up for world domination.
Zumper – The rental market is full of pain points. From searching through listings to dragging yourself between apartments, submitting paper applications and getting approval. Zumper is automating this, providing real-lime listings for house-hunters to search and apply, and digitising the application process. The battle for renters’ eyeballs will deliver countless startup casualties. Zumper, with total capital raised standing at US$40m, has prepared its warchest for the long road ahead.
In our report, we include an overview, funding summary and reasons ‘why they made the list’ for all 20 startups listed. For a full copy, click here or visit our website for to explore PropTech / RETech startups, and for everyone who thinks we missed one or got the whole thing wrong we look forward to your comments below.