Propseller, a Singapore-based real estate agency that combines a tech platform with in-house agents to close transactions more quickly, announced today it has raised $1.2 million in seed funding.
The round included investment from Iterative; Hustle Fund; XA Network; Rapzo Capital; Lazada co-founder Stein Jakob Oeie; and Dot Property founder Ben Neve. Propseller also said “three undisclosed highly strategic investors” and returning private investors participated.
Propseller’s last funding announcement was in December 2018, when it raised SGD $1 million (about $737,000) in seed funding.
Founded in 2018 and launched the next year, Propseller says its technology platform enables transactions to close more quickly, helping with tasks like property valuations, and reduces standard commission fees to 1% from 2% because the startup’s in-house agents are able to finish more transactions in less time.
The company claims it is currently handling about SGD $75 million worth of properties each year.
Despite the economic impact of COVID-19, Singapore’s real estate market is expected to recover relatively quickly, especially the residential sector, because of demand for new condominiums and foreign investment. Adrien Jorge, Propseller’s founder and chief executive officer, told TechCrunch that during the second-quarter, Propseller’s revenue dropped 80% quarter-over-quarter, but is rebounding.
During the pandemic, tech-enabled services like online dashboards with market information and virtual viewings have allowed Propseller’s agents to continue working with clients. Jorge said Propseller didn’t have to accelerate the adoption of digital tools for online viewings because its platform was already able to handle the restrictions placed on in-person viewings during Singapore’s circuit breakers, or partial lockdowns.
Another Singaporean real estate-focused startup that recently raised funding is PropertyGuru. Last month, the property listing platform announced an investment of $220 million from KKR and TPG to expand into new Southast Asian markets. PropertyGuru’s most direct competitor is 99.co, but startups like Propseller and Ohmyhome, which also offers agent services combined with tech platforms, provide an alternative in the Singaporean real estate market.
Jorge said Propseller differentiates from Ohmyhome because Ohmyhome is based on FSBO, or for sale by owner, transactions, with a side product that offers agent services at a cheaper rate than traditional agencies. Propseller, on the other hand, focuses on being a tech-powered real-estate agency. PropertyGuru and 99.co, meanwhile, don’t handle transactions, focusing on classified listings instead, he added, while Propseller’s model is “disrupting traditional agents, not classifieds.”
In a press statement about its investment in Propseller, Iterative partner (and founder of Divvy Homes, a San Francisco-based property tech startup) Brian Ma said, “Worldwide, modern estate agencies are already taking market share at breakneck speeds. In a market like Singapore with high property prices and the need for high-quality service, we believe digitalization will be inevitable. We’re excited for Propseller to lead the charge there.”
Edit: Updated with comments from Adrien Jorge.