PropTech Roundup – February 2021

Here’s what you need to know about UK PropTech in February 2021…

Online agency aims to raise £800k through crowdfunding

Online agency easyProperty has raised more than £700,000 on the Seedrs crowdfunding site so far. The firm has tried for some time to break into city markets and recently announced the promotion of the brand by a former Purplebricks agent in north Manchester. 

As the first online agency to join the soon-to-launch Boomin portal, easyProperty was founded by David Brierley, of the Evolve property marketing service, who has a 50-year exclusive worldwide licence to use the easyProperty brand. 

On the Seedrs site, the company is described as an online/hybrid estate agent providing a 24/7 service to consumers buying, selling, letting or renting a home across the UK. Their business model licenses entrepreneurs with or without estate agency experience to set up their own businesses under the umbrella brand in exclusive postcode areas.

easyProperty provides full training, ongoing support and access to  property portals including Rightmove and Zoopla; a dedicated website and consumer dashboard; a CRM system that seeks out and supports potential sellers and landlords; as well as social media pages and access to mortgage lenders and conveyancing firms.

Flatfair teams up with Spike to create BTR link

Alternative deposit provider Flatfair has joined forces with proptech firm Spike to improve its service to Build To Rent occupants. The partnership will enable Flatfair to register new residents in BTR schemes using the Apo app.

Spike’s reservations and lettings software manages the tenant’s journey from reservation to moving in, while the company’s residents’ portal looks after functions such as concierge services, social clubs and forums. 

Apo tenants will also be able to sign up for Flatfair’s products.

Franz Doerr, Flatfair’s CEO, says both companies share the same aim of streamlining the rental experience for all concerned, making it fairer and more transparent for all parties. They hope to create a new benchmark for tenants in the BTR sector, making the registration process as simple, straightforward and efficient as possible. 

BidX1 doubles UK sales as sector prepares for digital future

Online auction specialist BidX1 sold property worth £108m in the UK last year as the traditional auctions market lost ground. The company, which sold £52m of property in 2019, sold more than 320 lots in 2020 as the number of bidders tripled, and its success rate climbed from 76% to 90%. 

By contrast, the total money raised in the wider UK auctions market fell by 9.9% to £3.3bn last year as the number of lots offered decreased by more than one-fifth, according to the Essential Information Group. 

BidXl credited its success to ‘the crucial role of proptech’ in surmounting lockdown challenges such as inefficiencies and pinch-points in the property sale process, as well as its partnerships with leading firms such as Savills and Foxtons. The relationship with Foxtons alone amounted to more than one quarter of total earnings in 2020.

Oliver Childs, Head of Commercial Auctions at BidXl, commented that as digital specialists, they have the benefit of maturity and are uniquely placed to complement the experience and expertise of pre-eminent firms such as  Foxtons. So much so that they look forward to building partnerships with real estate agencies right across the UK in 2021.

Ordnance Survey and UK PropTech Association announce partnership

OS and the UKPA will work together to showcase the value of geospatial data and demonstrate what it can offer to the proptech and wider property industry. More especially, how OS data, products and APIs can enable proptech and property businesses to use geospatial data to benefit their own products and services.

OS launched its new OS Data Hub in July 2020, giving users such as companies, developers and the public sector greater access to OS’s most detailed, trusted data and property level information. 

This is in addition to free access, up to a monthly limit, for businesses and developers, to the intricate OS MasterMap, through a series of new APIs.

The OS Data Hub and APIs will provide UKPA members with access to detailed, accurate datasets including OS MasterMap, addressing information and the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).

Stefan Wells, OS’s Head of Partners, believes OS data will be able to help companies tackling the housing crisis or the shortage of affordable homes and will be used to increase productivity both in the property market and in property management. 

For his part, Sammy Pahal, UKPA’s MD, states the reason why the UK has such a thriving proptech industry is because the country is one of the leaders specialising in location and geospatial data globally.

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