PropTech Roundup – September 2021

Here are the top news stories from the UK PropTech space in September 2021…

Proptech Group Forges Deal With Auction House Movebutler

The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) is to implement the onboarding and AML software developed by auction house iamproperty Movebutler in all its high street branches: Martin & Co, Whitegates, Ellis & Co, CJ Hole and Parkers.

Iamproperty has helped agents to enrol 125,000 clients since the launch of its conveyancing module, including more than 3,000 since May, each in less than one minute. Firms such as Robert Watts, DDM Residential and Linley & Simpson have already signed up to the service.

TPFG CEO Gareth Samples will now encourage the adoption of the platform by their brands’ franchisees to standardise compliance across the group.

As scrutiny increases, he says, this development is of great significance in ensuring that their agents use the best solutions to protect their integrity. Furthermore, it dispenses with a lot of redundant administration, thereby enabling the agents to spend more time with their clients, while remaining compliant.

Chris McKnight, Area Sales Manager for Martin & Co, rates highly both the  the platform’s team and the software, which will dramatically simplify the AML compliance procedure with a logical step-by-step process. 

He adds that the fact that their customers can enrol themselves digitally saves his staff many hours of administration.

Ben Ridgway, Group MD at iamproperty, says the launch of the conveyancing module will enhance his firm’s objectives to remove the bottlenecks in the moving process and achieve efficiencies across the whole of the sector. 

French Proptech’s Expansion Targets UK

Saqara, a digital procurement platform serving the construction industry, formerly known as AOS, has raised £7.8 million amid plans to expand into the UK. 

Since 2018, the company has grown to 120 employees who assist over 500 clients, 50,000 users and more than 25,000 referenced contractors, and has hosted 4,500 projects on its platform. 

Its success lies in the critical role it plays in digitising bid management, which minimises administration, reduces costs and achieves transparency and efficiencies in procurement.

The Series A funding, led by A/O PropTech, will help broaden its product suite and platform, drive expansion into Germany, the Netherlands, UK and southern Europe, and create a new strategic hub in Tunisia. 

Alexandre Brochot, president of Saqara, believes the funding will enable the company to accelerate their international growth by expanding into four countries annually. The long-term objective will be to implement a key role in the digitisation of the sector to simplify the workday activities of construction industry professionals while protecting the environment.

Othmane Zrikem, Chief Data Officer of A/O PropTech, is proud to have led Saqara’s Series A round as it expands into Europe and North Africa and is impressed by their core product, which has processed over €18 billion of construction and infrastructure tenders since 2018. 

As Saqara is the leading European ConTech platform for bid management processes, Zrikem looks forward to seeing the new products currently under development.

Proptech Convivia Lands Substantial PE Investment

Following a private equity deal worth hundreds of millions, an innovative property and tech investment firm has disclosed plans to revolutionise the public housing sector. 

Convivia, from the Latin ‘convivere’, meaning to ‘live with’, was established in 2017 by CEO, Roy Ledgister, to create an inspirational property and tech portfolio that offers experimental living and reinvigorates communities.

In response to the growing demand for affordable homes across the UK, Ledgister and the Convivia board have moved their focus to the public sector with the imminent launch of an exciting new brand developed to minimise the disparity in quality between public and private housing. 

The brand will offer residents luxurious homes with cutting-edge technology and life-enhancing facilities to promote personal development and physical well-being, with the first Convivia site due to be available to residents in 2022.

The objective will be to positively impact the areas where all sites are built, by means of a number of environmental and social initiatives that will benefit the wider community. 

Ledgister, a successful barrister and entrepreneur, boasts extensive expertise in the development of a public housing property portfolio, having grown a £50 million investment into £185 million worth of assets in a mere five years.

Both he and the board are upbeat about Convivia’s future and the positive impact their developments will have not only on the public housing sector as a whole but also on people’s lives.

Novel Referencing Service For Pet Owners Launches

Natasha Home-Earley, an entrepreneur with a background in property and tech, is due to launch a platform which she says will help solve the problem landlords and agents have in letting properties to tenants with pets.

Home-Earley has been developing her score-based platform, Petscore, since last year and has prepared for launch over the past few months.

The platform enables pet owners to construct a profile of their pet so that landlords and letting agents can understand the medical history, temperament and behaviour of the animal, as well as insurance details and previous references. 

The service is free to tenants, whereas agents are charged a small fee or subscription to view each dog or cat’s reference.

The software has been road-tested by several letting agents including ethical firm My Landlord Cares in Sheffield and rental platform InventoryBase, and is now free for all to trial.

Home-Earley claims her platform is the ideal bridging solution between landlords who refuse to take tenants with pets, and the estimated 7.6 million tenants in the UK who wish to live with their cat or dog. 

The referencing service will also offer tenants whose pets do not qualify for referencing the opportunity to buy insurance against any damage caused by their animal.

In addition to traditional lets, the service will apply to those using AirBnb and other short-term lets platforms.

Home-Earley has plans to make Petscore a global brand once her UK business is established, to overcome the worldwide problem of renting a home with a pet.

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