PropTech Roundup – December 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, we all look forward to what will hopefully be a much better 2021! Here’s what happened in the PropTech world in the final month of the year…

Software provider InventoryBase partners platform provider OpenBrix  

In a move aimed at empowering agents and landlords, the collaboration will enable OpenBrix users to arrange property inspections and reports on InventoryBase Workstreams from within OpenBrix, thereby maintaining security and trust between the platform and its agents.

While Workstreams will provide a platform for independent property inspectors to offer their services anywhere in the UK, OpenBrix users will let their customers book directly through Workstreams and still benefit from a small percentage of the booking in exchange for providing total compatibility between the platforms.

The partnership results from the implementation of new services by InventoryBase which focus on supporting property professionals, including virtual live inspections, drone inspections and self-service inventories.

OpenBrix, hosted entirely on blockchain, is governed by a democratic process in which prices can’t be raised or data sold without majority consent from the agents who use it. Similarly, InventoryBase aims to grant autonomy to its users, enabling independent professionals to connect, find work and automate parts of their workload. 

Steve Rad, MD of InventoryBase, is pleased to offer OpenBrix users bookable inventory providers and inspections readily available through the platform. Adam Piggot, CEO of OpenBrix, is delighted that the integration will provide their agents with a raft of pre-populated information via a super-smart link. And that the agents will remain in control, purchase the product and charge it to their landlord clients as usual.

Complex credit mortgages enabled as Haysto joins forces with Bluestone

Bluestone Mortgages, a leading complex credit lender, has teamed up with Haysto, an online mortgage platform specialising in lending to those who have bad credit, are self-employed or have complex needs.

Their stated ambition is to make the specialist mortgage market more widely known and accessible to consumers who have been refused a mortgage. 

This follows research by Bluestone which found that 45pc of those surveyed who had a mortgage application declined by a high-street lender would be reluctant to try again. 19pc also believed they had no alternative options to obtain a mortgage.

As the incidence of customers with complex credit profiles rises due to the economic impact and financial uncertainty caused by Covid, they are being rejected by the mainstream mortgage lenders and automated online platforms because of inflexible and arbitrary eligibility criteria.

Yet more than 50pc of mortgages suitable for people with bad credit are only available through specialist brokers and cannot be accessed directly by borrowers.

As Haysto creates a profile of every customer and their specialist needs, the platform matches each customer to a broker with the expertise to recommend a suitable mortgage. 

Steve Seal, MD of Bluestone Mortgages, is committed to providing customised lending solutions to complex credit borrowers, especially those who do not fit the stereotype of the mainstream lenders. Paul Coss, co-founder of Haysto, believes the specialist lender market will become even more critical in these uncertain times and the recent return to 85pc LTV means that Bluestone will be a key partner for Haysto.

PropTech firms link up to accelerate transaction times

View My Chain (VMC) has linked its application programming interface (API) to DezRez to offer customers the ability to track each transaction’s major milestones, as well as give instant information on chain lengths and details of agents connected with properties being sold. 

VMC, which claims its data have been proven to reduce completion times by two weeks and fall-through rates by 20pc, believes it offers DezRez customers faster collection of commission and an incentive to help them win instructions, especially at a time when transactions are taking longer’.

Sohail Rashid, CEO of VMC, explains that the app will enable DezRez customers to view property chains without creating them manually, as it tracks listings, searches and mortgage applications to remove redundant information and speed up the process.

Linking apps, he believes, will enable estate agents to access this information without altering the process or installing new software. 

VMC collects data from multiple sources to display progress on sales from SSTC to completion on the portal.

Ross Liddell, Commercial Director of DezRez, is in no doubt that linked APIs will enable companies to utilise data in order to improve services and speed up time scales.

PropTech lender raises £7.5m to fund house-buying boom

London-based Proportunity has raised £7.5m to meet record demand for its deposit borrowing facility, following a post-lockdown housing boom. The PropTech start-up offers home buyers an equity loan of a maximum of £90,000 to be used as a 5pc cash deposit. 

The company has hired Marita Cavalcanti as CFO, who will lead the expansion of their debt capital by attracting more institutional money for the lending fund.

One of Tech Nation’s 2020 FinTech cohort, the firm reports it connected with over 200 new intermediaries during the previous quarter.

Vadim Toader, CEO and co-founder of Proportunity, explained that when the pandemic struck, the company was able to use their property market technology to change lending decisions quickly, thereby increasing their portfolio’s strength and enabling them to continue issuing loans.

Douglas Grant, director of lead investor Conister, remarked that the UK’s SMEs have shown a great amount of flexibility and resilience despite changing consumer behaviour resulting from the pandemic. As a result, Conister is pleased to continue supporting Proportunity to help its customers become home owners.

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