AI-tinged digitalisation, recently boosted by the coronavirus era, has appeared in different fields such as health, logistics, the world of work, and the real estate sector. With a story stretching back 70 years, artificial intelligence (AI) has drawn high expectations throughout its fitful development.
According to various industry commentators, AI is steadily improving processes for people and businesses. During the last two years, we have heard of many stories of how AI has helped us to stay connected and remain working during the coronavirus lockdowns.
Now, this technology is enhancing alternative ways of working and living across most arenas – including the home and property sector.
Claiming to be the world’s first home and property-related omni app, Malaysian technology startup ProppyApp leverages AI, big data, and distributed ledger technologies to help people make informed property-related decisions.
With a vision of revolutionising the property industry, ProppyApp is an all-in-one mobile app aiming to provide a credible and safe one-stop solution, said Evan Ngoaw, chief marketing and communications officer of ProppyApp, and deputy secretary general of World Blockchain Foundation, when speaking recently with Disruptive.Asia.
Through the app, consumers can directly reach out to desired service providers from their smartphone, he said. “The app’s features assist credible merchants, service providers and property agents to create more deals and close more sales.”
Need for AI in the real estate industry
Indeed, a Deloitte insight in recent years opined that in ‘the real estate industry the utilisation of AI will not only improve the efficiency of operational tasks but also change decision-making processes.’
More recently, an opinion from Robotics & Automation News said ‘AI can help to speed up real estate transactions by cutting in half the manual input and time required to complete them. AI also holds the promise of increased efficiency when it comes to marketing, due diligence and sales processes.’
Evan laid out in great detail some of the features and benefits of ProppyApp.
“At present, the ProppyApp ecosystem comprises four modules – ProppyHomes (the flagship mobile application), Proppy Marketplace, ProppyCares and ProppyMOP. REA App is a function of Proffis, both of which are applications within ProppyApp. These combine to address and cater to different needs [summarised below with his comments].”
- ProppyHomes is a cloud-based property management system that links residents, developers, Joint Management Board and property managers to enable a seamless workflow and ease of use for all levels of users.
- Proppy Marketplace offers businesses a convenient and secure platform to promote, sell, let or list their properties and services. Using AI, Proppy Marketplace will match properties to buyers. Property buyers can also utilise this functionality, called Wishlist to reduce their cost and effort in locating their desired properties.
- ProppyMOP is a mortgage optimisation plan (MOP) tool that allows users and property owners to diagnose their existing mortgages, and assess the most optimum monthly mortgage repayment amount for them. This mortgage optimisation method uses an advanced mathematical solution, which was first introduced into Malaysia by ProppyApp company founder Lee Willson in 1999.
- Proffis is a back-office business administration tool designed to facilitate the day-to-day operations of property agencies, property agents, premium merchants and condominium management offices. The inbuilt dashboard within Proffis allows agency principals to see and manage agents working for the agency while allowing property agents to monitor and manage their property listings and listing transactions.
- REA App offers real-time data, including listings on the web and sales figures. The management of agencies will be notified whenever their agents complete a transaction. By using the REA App, the agencies will have access to the data and reports generated by the system to make more informed and precise decisions.
Milestones so far
Evan confirmed that to date, milestones include the successful completion of three early rounds of funding; co-founder, seed and angel within the first year of incorporation; and raising 12.5 million for a valuation of RM100 million.
“The aim of these funding rounds is to connect and reach out to talents who not only contributed their investments but also time and expertise to help us reach our vision,” he explained.
“We are proud to have individuals with deep corporate experiences in various fields like banking and finance, legal, marketing, business development and corporate finance,” he continued.
“Currently, we are inviting private placement partnerships to join us as partners in raising RM25 million for a valuation of RM500 million in this ongoing Angel and capital funding round.”
He added that the funds raised will help drive the development of new app and overarching ecosystem features, and also enable regional and global market expansion.
Evan also spoke of some of the challenges faced by the startup in the current challenging era.
“The pace at which technology is evolving today is mind-blowing. Our goal was and still remains to help property owners manage their properties efficiently and effectively in order to make better investment decisions. At the same time, we provide innovative tools and services for small and medium businesses to promote, sell or let their properties and services.
“Looking ahead, we are focused on R&D for product development and improvement as well as building capacity and capability in our talented team, to support our growth aspirations within the country and the region,” he said.
With the aim of helping maintain business momentum for SMEs and the property sector, Evan said: “During the course of the pandemic, many homegrown businesses and SMEs encountered hardships and have been exploring alternative ways of doing business, including embracing technology to keep their livelihoods alive.”
ProppyApp launched ProppyCares to help property-related businesses and merchants including electricians, air-condition service repairmen, plumbers, home renovation contractors and cleaners by promoting their businesses on the ProppyCares platform.
“Moving forward to 2022, ProppyCares remains strong and is helping businesses thrive in the endemic phase by consistently advocating Neighbourhood Economy, as it was the case during the pandemic.
“The angel+ round funding will also enable our regional and global market expansion, and development of new features to enhance our overall app ecosystem, which will enhance user experience and attract more merchants to an already vibrant community.”
A couple of these developments include:
- Together with Proffis, the Premium Merchant plan offers merchants access to four management tools, including product management, voucher management, promotion code management, and loyalty programme management. These features will enable them to manage their product inventory, market and promote their goods and services, track their sales and service orders and reward their loyal customers.
- All ProppyApp features and functions extended to businesses and industries beyond the property sector.
“We are also in the midst of developing another module, and additional features to be announced by the 4th quarter of 2022.”
Expanding the ecosystem
“Even though ProppyApp is an app, the ultimate product of ProppyApp is an entire ecosystem that revolves around the real estate market,” Evan summarised.
“As a sharing economy, the ecosystem benefits all parties involved. Users, merchants, agents, and condo management companies will benefit from not only the product itself but will also receive financial rewards in the form of ProppyGems.”
Looking to the future, he added: “ProppyApp is always looking to expand opportunities within the ecosystem and increase user involvement. We are also constantly exploring creative ways to improve user experience.”
“Part of our ProppyApp philosophy is to deliver rewards or confer even more benefits beyond those expected,” Evan concluded. “This applies to our users as well as all who have invested in ProppyApp. No matter at what stage an investor has invested in ProppyApp, they are not simply investors, but also our partners, our family members.”