Simon Baker advises property portals to "Disrupt or be Disrupted"

September 29, 2019
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Simon Baker, the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch, has a rich professional background.

During his time as CEO and MD at the ASX-listed REA Group, thrived beyond expectations, securing its leadership in Australia and rolling out a model that has been copied by portals around the world. The REA Group grew from $4m to $155m in revenues, turned a $6m loss to a $35m profit, and increased the market cap from $8m to $1 billion.

Following his time at the REA Group, Baker began angel investing in online classifieds businesses, focusing specifically on the real estate segment.

Over the last decade, his property marketplaces investments have included the market leading Grupo Zap in Brazil, Zameen in Pakistan, the iProperty Group in SE Asia, Shweproperty in Myanmar, the vertical search specialist Mitula Group, Lifull in Japan, and Homsters in the Ukraine.

He is also an advisor to companies such as Grupo Zap in Brazil, Russia’s Cian and Homsters in the Ukraine.

This November, in Madrid, Baker will be hosting the 26th Property Portal Watch Conference, with its theme being “Disrupt or be Disrupted”, where leaders from around the world will discuss the latest trends and innovations in the property marketplaces industry.

The “Disrupt or be Disrupted” theme was chosen as there is an enormous amount of change occurring in the property marketplaces industry, including portals changing their business model from the marketing to the sale of property.

There are also markets where portals are buying property – known as the iBuyer model, with the most famous example being that of Zillow in the US, purchasing hundreds of properties each month and attempting to flip them for a profit.

Companies are also investing in streamlining the property sales process by developing software to link all participants in the real estate transaction process and reduce the role of estate agents to face-to-face sales. Companies doing this include OneDome in the UK and NurtureCloud in Australia.

Baker sees the rentals market showing the most disruption with new players seeking to automate the rental search, selection, and ongoing management process. In his opinion, the traditional property managers need to evolve or risk "extinction".

Another topic of interest to be addressed at the Madrid Conference is the “Uberization of real estate”, which entails technology replacing many of the activities traditionally handled by agents. In some markets agents being driven by apps and serving multiple brands at the same time, similar to Uber drivers also working for Cabify or Lyft. An example of this is LoopImoveis in Brazil.

Baker believes that the "uberization of agents" is a growth opportunity for marketplaces and CRM providers as both are well-positioned to drive this evolution.   

With an expected 450 C-Level leaders from 300 companies hailing from 40 different countries, attendees can expect these topics and much more valuable content to be addressed at this year’s Property Portal Watch Conference in Madrid, November 13-15.

Prior to the Conference, on the 12th of November, Baker will run a full-day Best Practice Masterclass. This is a must for anyone starting out or looking for guidance from a well-recognized expert and industry consultant about the best practices in global consumer marketing, industry sales, product development, company structure, and capital raising. 


Join us November 12-15 for the Property Portal Watch Conference Madrid 2019.

Property Portal Watch Madrid Summit 2019

September 29, 2019

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