With their informal practices, under-professionalised agents and often chaotic bureaucracy, developing markets around the world are where housing marketplace companies with innovative models are thriving.
Southeast Asia's alternative housing marketplaces aren't yet seeing the staggering VC money that their counterparts in Latin America have seen over the last few years but there is still plenty of VC interest in the region. Google's SEA report claims that investment in the region's internet economy hit an all-time high in 2021 with $4.7 billion worth of deals in the first 6 months of 2021 alone.
With increasing investor interest and some incredible demographic tailwinds, some of the companies on this list may be about to take off like the likes of Quinto Andar and Loft have on the other side of the world...
What is FazWaz's Business model? FazWaz is an end-to-end property marketplace.
Essentially, FazWaz makes a percentage of the transaction money when it facilitates a sale - a model that is increasingly popular with advanced real estate portals in the U.S and Europe. As the company's co-founder Paul Trayman told us, Fazwaz is a mix between a portal and a brokerage...
"It focuses on helping international & domestic buyers & renters find a property in Thailand and walk them through the process. The company runs a commission-based model with its own team of highly trained agents and private sellers with a heavy focus on the resale market although also offering one of the largest ranges of new build projects with 3D tours of all facilities and amenities on their multiple lingual platforms ultimately acting as a 'brokerage' as it facilitates a deal on its own direct listings sourced predominately from private owners or developers."
What is FazWaz's Backstory? The company was founded in 2015 by expats Brennan Campbell, Michael Kenner and Paul Trayman to solve what they saw as issues with transparency in the Thai market. The company is proud to have raised less than $2 million since then and is one of the few startups in the space to have been entirely bootstrapped for its first four years of operation.
How many listings does FazWaz have? Between sales and rentals, the platform has over 60,000 direct owner listings
What is Flokq's Business model? Flokq is a co-living marketplace.
Flokq is essentially a landlord, providing fully serviced apartments for co-living and individual rent. The company charges tenants for rent as well as utilities and cleaning and water services.
Flokq doesn't own its inventory and encourages landlords and agents to bring inventory. The monetary relationship here (whether agents get paid for bringing inventory or whether landlords pay Flokq for finding them good tenants) is vague and apparently done on an ad-hoc basis.
What is Flokq's Backstory? Flokq was founded in 2019 during the boom of the managed or 'curated' coliving rental experiences model. The company managed to survive the pandemic and come out the other side with enough cash in the bank to buy out its Y-Combinator-backed competitor YukStay in 2021.
The idea behind Flokq is to make housing more affordable and pleasant for young Jakarta residents and as such its target market is largely young workers from overseas seeking a sense of community in a new city.
How many listings does Flokq have? When we looked the platform had 1,753 listings which it also lists on the 99.co portal.
What is Lazudi's Business model? Lazudi is a tech-enabled brokerage.
The company makes its money directly from commissions across new build, residential sales, leasing and commercial real estate in Thailand. Lazudi is a 'do it all' player and interacts with agents, developers, end consumers, landlords, sellers and home searchers.
What is Lazudi's Backstory? Lazudi was founded in 2020 by Costa Savva along with Neil Sutton and Ben Neve the founders of the Southeast Asian portal group DotProperty. In December 2021 Lazudi announced a $2 million seed investment from Swedish VC firm Proptech Farm.
How many listings does Lazudi have? Upwards of 17,000.
What is HomeSyte's Business model? Homesyte describes itself as a next-generation proptech marketplace.
Every customer can post their listings for free on HomeSyte or buy a paid offering for higher visibility and a higher number of potential customers contacting them.
Co-founder Benjamin Gajkowski gave us an example of why HomeSyte didn't want to go down the brokerage model road:
"The traditional business model that sells listings via direct sales is extremely challenging in SEA. As an illustrative example, the average revenue per agent in Singapore is about 1,000 USD, compared to Vietnam in which the average revenue per listing is 2 USD. That is a difference of 99%.
"Any business model that relies on a direct sales force with hundreds of sales staff selling individual listings will stumble with growth and profitability. And we’ve seen that. That is why we developed a 100% self service tech marketplace. No direct sales team. This allows us to offer prices that are 80% cheaper than other competitors."
What is HomeSyte's Backstory? The company is brand new having been launched in late 2021. Prior to founding the company, Gajkowski worked in the digital classifieds sector at Axel Springer and later at Ringier as its Head of Operations in Vietnam.
How many listings does HomeSyte have? Without any marketing activities, HomeSyte has managed to pull in around 6,000 sales listings and around 10,000 rental listings.
What is Hoppler's Business model? Hoppler is a real estate marketplace and brokerage.
The platform takes free listings and monetises the resulting transaction via its internal brokerage agents who represent the client and use the platform's proprietary deal management system.
Agents or homeowners list properties on the platform then Hoppler generates and pre-qualifies the leads and works on the closing. It generates revenue by taking a cut of the commission.
What is Hoppler's Backstory? Hoppler was founded in 2012 by Ramon Ballesca, an experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneur who, after struggling to open a real estate brokerage in Vietnam, decided to look to the Philippines and build brokerage software instead.
Global online classifieds operator Frontier Digital Ventures came on board as an investor in 2017 and increased its stake in the business to 51% in 2021 after Hoppler hit revenue targets.
How many listings does Hoppler have? Hoppler has more than 10,000 listings, mostly in and around Metro Manila.
What is Speedhome's Business model? Speedhome is an end-to-end rentals and insurance marketplace.
SpeedHome comes at renting from the angle of insurance. The company provides landlords with packages that give complete protection against vacancy/damage/non-payment as well as tenant and property management.
For tenants, the benefit is quickly finding verified apartments and signing and dealing with everything online. Speedhome charges prospective tenants a booking fee as well as the 1st month’s rent plus a Speedsign fee. For landlords it has different packages ranging from 1st month’s rent + (RM10+6% SST) to 1.5 month’s rent + (RM399+6% SST).
What is Speedhome's Backstory? Speedhome was founded in 2015 as 'Speedrent'. The company raised a Series A funding round in 2021 on the back of exceptional growth in 2020, despite the challenging economic and pandemic headwinds.
How many listings does Speedhome have? Much like its rival Instahome, Speedhome declined to give us any numbers around listings volumes.
What is PropertyScout's Business model? PropertyScout is effectively an end-to-end concierge service for consumers looking to rent or buy in Thailand.
The company employs more than 50 of its own agents and works with some 300 partner agents. The platform is free for users, but charges landlords a commission (usually 1 month's rent) for finding the best tenants.
Like many real estate marketplaces in the region, PropertyScout gets its listings wherever it can, from landlords, agents, private owners and property management companies.
What is PropertyScout's Backstory? The company was founded as Flexstay Rentals back in 2019 by Mario Peng, founder of accommodation marketplace HotelQuickly, along with former Scout24 Business Development Strategist Marco Barth.
Read our 2021 interview with Mario Peng
How many listings does PropertyScout have? Although not confirmed by the company itself and not necessarily de-duplicated, we saw around 100,000 rental listings and 16,000 sales listings on the platform.