Can you remember a time when the property industry was entirely devoid of digital? This would have to be pre-1990s, before computers started to appear on the desks of estate and lettings agents. However, the real digital deluge in property has occurred much more recently, starting in approximately 2015.
There was just a trickle of proptech companies at first, yet in the last couple of years investors have started to show interest – and in a very big way. There was $1.9 billion (£1.4 billion) of private proptech start-up investment in 2015 and $2.6 billion (£1.9 billion) in 2016, and this year’s projected investment tops $3 billion. Investors have recognised that there is a huge opportunity for proptech to address pain points in the Real Estate industry in a vast number of ways, and hence have decided that the time to strike is now.
Europe proptech financing has also seen its share of investment. Proptech company Nested, which offers to sell your home in 90 days or give you the cash, raised £36 million in funding in October 2017 – the biggest proptech investment for a European proptech start-up this year, bringing Nested’s total funding to just shy of £50 million in a little over a year.
Nonetheless, property companies still balk at the adoption of technology. A KPMG survey revealed “while 86% of respondents see digital and technological innovation as an opportunity, only 34% have a clear enterprise-wide digital strategy.” Despite widespread acceptance of proptech within the property industry, companies are simply not employing it as heartily as might be expected.
Property inventory and inspection app Imfuna signalled this trend at the beginning of 2017, predicting that a number of proptech companies would be created or grow significantly this year. They also suggested where the problem in the chain of adoption was:
“Leadership is one of the greatest determining factors in whether a company adopts technology in their practice…It is incumbent upon property company leaders who are not familiar with technology and the internet in the way that these proptech leaders are to embrace the ways proptech can add value to their company.”
There’s no doubt that there is a wealth of proptech solutions on the market that are ready for adoption and integration. However, the charge remains the same: property company leaders must take steps to embrace technology at a faster pace, lest they risk losing out on the benefits of proptech altogether.
Without adoption, proptech companies will start to go under, and property companies will fall behind the pace of digitally enabled property companies.