Digitization is slowly but surely making its way into the real estate sector. The Corona crisis has also proven to be a driver of innovation there. The pressure on the industry to become more digital is increasing. So-called property technology companies, or proptechs for short, also contribute to this. Your goal: to establish digital solutions for the real estate industry. The start-ups set trends and are likely to gain further relevance in the coming year. The most exciting proptech segments and start-ups at a glance.
# 1 House and apartment brokerage
Proptechs like McMakler or Inreal have their main business in real estate brokerage. The idea behind it: Classic tasks of real estate agents, such as compiling reports, coordinating appointments and customer acquisition, should be purely digital. Homeowners can sell their property via the online platform McMakler. In-house brokers support the sales process, from assessing the price after viewing to signing the contract. The company recently received a cash injection of 42 million euros from the private equity firm Warburg Pincus and aims to make a profit for the first time in the coming year.
At Inreal, seekers can filter apartment criteria and view suitable properties in a 3D view. For this purpose, developers provide the three-dimensional image of their project on the platform. In the background, algorithms analyze which offers interested parties are looking at more closely. In the last financing round in August, the company raised around EUR 2.7 million. Inreal would like to use the money to further expand its software.
# 2 smart homes
The crisis has shown that working from home is less complicated than expected in the vast majority of professions. Home office has become part of everyday life in many industries and will probably remain an integral part of the working life of many working people even after the pandemic. Digital everyday helpers such as the voice assistants Siri and Alexa are already a permanent part of the household for many. But what if the whole building were “smart”? Intelligent thermostats can help, for example, to reduce operating costs and save energy. So-called smart locks enable residents to open their door remotely for other people, such as the post office or a cleaner. The German proptech Kiwi has specialized in such digital locking systems. The company’s customers include the Deutsche Wohnen housing company, which wants to provide its 160,000 apartments with keyless entry. In a financing round in April, Kiwi received EUR 10 million from its existing shareholders.
# 3 communication in the “New Normal”
In the pandemic year 2020, face-to-face communication is rare. Agreements often take place in the digital space. This could increasingly also apply to communication between tenants and landlords. This is exactly what Proptech Cunio has specialized in. When registering, tenants can choose between eight channels via which they want to be contacted by their landlord in the future: e-mail, Whatsapp, SMS, telephone, letter, the website mietermangel.de, mobile apps or the provider’s web app. If the landlord creates an announcement on Cunio, all tenants in a house community are automatically informed of this according to their preferred communication channel. You can then react with a comment in the respective channel. This year, the company expanded its Proptech solution to include live video chat with appointment management. Brokers, administrators and owners can thus digitally guide interested parties through an apartment to be rented.
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