8 Startups Disrupting The Most Broken Market Out There: Property
By Craig Ryder on Medium
The UK Property Market is primitive and oppressive. Eight PropTech startups have identified the areas ripe for disruption and are ready to change the way we engage in property, forever
As trendy buzzwords go, PropTech doesn’t compete with the slickness of FinTech, the intrigue of Blockchain, or the vibrancy of Machine Learning. Yet, of all recent pitch events in London, last Friday’s Silicon Roundabout’s PropTech MeetUp might have outsmarted all of its more glamorous cousins.
This is THE tech scene that will affect your life.The property market in London (and beyond) is primitive and oppressive. And, still, we spend nearly 50% of our earnings on it! Seldom does anyone have anything positive to say about the property market. That’s why these eight startups are so important.
TRACK co-founders Henry Oakes and Bryon McCaughey kick us off with the ultimate acid test: a live demo of a pre launch app. Luckily, it’s seamless and their product delivers the goods. They enter CEO’s Oakes’ actual Wimbledon home address and information on his mortgage and deposit, including support received from family (an absolute prerequisite of first time buying in London!).Then the inbuilt AI does the maths and the dashboard reveals a financial breakdown of everyone’s share, including a £155,082 profit for Oakes if he sells today.
“That’s a strong dopamine hit”, grins McCaughey, knowing that their dataset empowers homeowners to make smarter decisions. The data is also invaluable for estate agents who’d love to know who’s thinking about selling and when.
If you’re a homeowner downloading TRACK is a no-brainer. Join the pre launch waiting list now.
2. Demand Logic
Two weeks ago the IPCC warned the world that we only have “12 years to limit climate change catastrophe”. Today, Demand Logic are offering a small part of the solution. CEO Mike Darby’s presentation shows how modern commercial buildings are impossibly complex, with 1,000s of sensors regulating temperature, light, pressure and so on.
“A single City skyscraper wastes the equivalent energy of over 1,000 homes,” says Darby.
So his team have built a “FITBIT for commercial buildings”: a cloud platform that enables quick analysis of performance and makes sharp decisions to reduce waste, save cost and improve the health and well being of the staff inside. Demand Logic are littered with awards already and were recently mentioned in Parliament. Darby couldn’t be clearer: “We are looking for everything: developers, a sales team and more investment”.
Coming from a successful accounting career, Orla Shields, CEO and Co-Founder of GetRentr, has developed a PropTech business like no other. GetRentr deals in the complex area of property licensing, and is set to support some of the most disadvantaged people in the country, reward property owners who operate fairly, and create a very lucrative market for herself.
“One in five homes in the private rental sector is not fit for purpose”, says Shields; referring to the criminal landlords who work between the lines of regulation and earn a staggering £5.6bn annually in rent.
Contributing to the corruption is 536 different licensing schemes nationwide for 393 local authorities. Moreover, she adds, “In 2018 a new scheme is introduced every 8 days!”.
GetRentR is a unique piece of tech that tracks and maps these local regulations. Their data set is extremely valuable as it sanctions good agents and landlords to thrive, whilst exposing the rogue ones. Win-Win.
“For the first time in London’s history, approximately equal amount of households are rented versus owner occupied. In 2005, that figure was more like 27% renting,” announces Sheraz Dar CEO of CreditLadder.
“But this is not a presentation about the politics and economics behind this massive sea change”.
Rather, he’s more about trying to achieve financial fairness for tenants. CreditLadder is the first private rental data reporter in the UK. In short, they document your rent payments to the treasury to certify your credit score. Dar finishes deadpan-as-you-like:
“If you’re renting your home, this platform is going to save you money.”
Italian Co-founder, Marcello Pelucchi, tells the crowd there are 260,000 students studying in London and they are peeved that they can only rent property under a one year, fixed contract; even though university is only scheduled from September to May. In the summer months, when they want to travel, return home and take up internships, they are held back by three months worth of rent repayments. All because the law states that subletting is illegal and the consequences can be grave, including time in jail.
When surely isn’t it the landlords committing day-light robbery?
So Pelucchi built a platform to save his cohort money. Heck, they even make money for the landlords!
SHAREnSPLIT enables tenants to sublet their room after seeking authorisation from the landlords.
“We are four guys, all 22 years old; old friends of 10 years… We have no experience in real estate”.
And therein lies their masterstroke. Rather than bring experience to a broken sector, SHAREnSPLIT have bought fearlessness and vitality. They have only been live for two weeks. Sublet your place now.
Tom Allason has an impressive track record of two exits: selling this second delivery service to ebay for $100 million. He then spent the next five years working in US and, in that time, bought a whole host of properties there and here in London too.
“I thought it was going to be cool”, says Allason…“But it sucked!”
Allason is referring to the the cumbersome viewing process, the misleading website photos, the lack of floor plans; and of course,the laborious, unforgiving and entirely insecure bidding and legal process. So he started Residently. The site has rich content, a one-day credit score assessment system, and offers digital leases. Meaning you decide your moving-in day.
YourKeys have identified 64 steps in the homebuying process, from one 1) Choosing a new home to 64) Legal Completion.
“If that’s not bad enough, 39% of property sales fall-through”, says YourKey’s pitcher Annie Siara. “And less than 5% of contracts complete in 28 days.”
So, that’s why everyone says moving home is the most stressful thing in you’ll ever do. YourKeys, however, are dramatically simplifying the process of buying new-builds.They are the first property platform to take the entire sales process online, allowing all stakeholders to feed into a central ecosystem with ‘live’ notifications, timelines and complete oversight.
Interestingly, CPO & Founder Riccardo Iannucci-Dawson is an architect by training, so he should know a thing or two about building buildings.
Canopy operate in a similar space to CreditLadder above, helping tenants use their rent payments to boost their credit score. And with 15 million people in the rental market there is ample need for multiple disruptive forces in the market. Even better then that Canopy CEO Tahir Farooqui and Dar from CreditLadder appeared more like old buddies, rather than fierce rivals.
CEO Tahir Farooqui tells the crowd they have raised 4 million so far and they have won several awards. And since their launch in January 2018 they have amassed 11,000 users.