Property tech, or what is now known as proptech is a sector that has grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years amongst app developers. With several startups based in the UK, many are choosing to use various forms of tech to transform the property market into a more modern approach. From renting to investments, selling and buying, proptech startups aim to make what is normally a very stressful process into one that is simple through app development.
Here are our top picks of proptech startups to watch:
AskPorter makes us of AI to provide estate agents with smart virtual assistants, landlords and property managers to automate tasks such as chasing rent or arranging a contractor. AskPorter claims that the process of onboarding with them is as simple as providing an email address and telephone number and everything works with AI thereafter. The company have raised £1.5 million in their seed round in August this year from investors including Pi Labs, Venture University, Plug and Play, Henley Investments and WISAG FM.
Landbay is a peer-to-peer app-based marketplace providing investors with access to borrowers and buy-to-let managers faster to access a mortgage. It was founded in 2014 by current CEO John Goodall and ex-Sequioa consultant Gray Stern. Landbay announced a funding of £1 billion had been agreed with a ‘leading financial institution’ to provide financial backing for its mortgages back in July. COO Julian cork stated that this investment would allow Landbay to reach a greater audience of buy-to-let landlords which would provide more growth and scope for the app developers and the business overall.
London-based Unmortgage provides the ability to reach homeownership gradually for people that are struggling to get a mortgage. A minimum of £12,500 is needed upfront, so a minimum of 5% of the total value of the property as well as an evaluation of your combined household income. The firm will provide the rest of the deposit through a third-party funding partner, such as a pension fund, which allows you to move in straight away and pay rent back to cover the cost of the mortgage and pay off the deposit gradually. Afterwards, you can overpay month-to-month to increase your ownership until you reach complete ownership. This proptech startup also promises to assist future homeowners to navigate themselves through the complex world of home ownership including assessment ventures and managing solicitors.
Thirdfort, founded in 2017, is an FCA-regulated startup that makes use of ID verification tech to assist law firms and buyers to ensure the validity of the funds provided. Co-founders Jack Bidgood and Olly Thornton-Berry came created Thirdfort after a friend of theirs was scammed out of £25,000 whilst trying to purchase a flat. They aim to assist in protecting money transfers during the sale of the property as well as identifying clients. Thirdfort also secured £400,000 in pre-seed funding which was led by Zoopla’s founder, Alex Chesterman and other investors in October 2018.
HomeRenter, which launched in 2017, is an online lettings platform created by app developers that was founded by property entrepreneurs Jim Thomas, Sean Quinn and Will Handley. It provides tenants and landlords with a one-stop shop for managing the entire rental process without the estate agency fees. HomeRenter has a partnership with Zoopla and RightMove and has received over £750,000 in investment.