Founders are encouraged to take on the world when building a startup and a new software-as-a-service business launched this week aims to do just that by capturing a large slice of Australia’s $7 trillion property market.
Propic is targeting the real estate agents, developers and property managers in an all-in-one enterprise technology platform featuring cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence.
And it could deliver the biggest disruption to how property is sold and managed in the sector’s history, replacing hundreds, if not thousands of agents with AI, bots and smart device interactions.
The business has hit the ground running with former Domain commercial director and big data expert Jeff Gray as CEO, and another former Domain GM and telco exec Fatek Chamma, as chief experience officer, alongside COO Peter Hutchinson.
Their pitch to agents running several different software programs in their business is that Propic does it all in one license
Propic claims to solve four key industry problems, including giving agents the ability to scale with fewer people and allow customers to interact with the agent in real-time, globally, 24/7.
Jeff Gray isn’t holding back on the company’s ambitions, as it kicks off with seed funding from private investors and a staff of 40 in its Sydney HQ and Melbourne office. He’s already looking towards a Series A round to scale internationally.
“Even by conservative estimates, we forecast significant market share and revenue growth in the initial couple of years from our Australian operations, exclusive of how advanced our international expansion plans have progressed by this time,” he said.
“We are aiming for 10% market share in Australia by 2021.”
There are six aspects to Propic: a customer engagement platform, SIGNIFI, which offers predictive analytics, voice enablement, app building capacity and a personalised user interface to agents; Enliven – a customer guidance platform with an AI user interface using machine learning that turns sales, property management, assistant and marketing functions into virtual interactions; Reveal – predictive business intelligence that tracks transactions, merges data, and augments CRM data; Sorted – a customer lifecycle app to deliver services automatically for properties; Outfit – a mass personalisation customer contact base; and finally Handled, which they hope to launch as an Internet of Things link between agents and a property’s connected devices in 2020.
Propic trialled machine learning chatbot technology during Canberra development The Grounds, declaring it a success because the chatbot succeeded in understanding context in real-time conversations with buyers to the point where some apartments were sold with no human interaction until it was time to sign a contract.
The AI and big data analysis also give agents the ability to predict customer needs and deliver the services when required. It can automatically book repairs, collect rents, prospect, follow up enquiries, provide information and refer customers to third parties.
The vision for Propic is that it will also enable consumers to connect and manage the services that run their homes, including monitoring energy consumption.
While the software doesn’t bode well for the future employment prospects of agents who’ve done well out of the nation’s property boom over the last decade, Propic’s ability to enlist AI virtual assistants could be just the solution troubled agencies such as the ASX-listed McGrath group needs as it looks to cut costs and compete in the current property downturn.
Peter Hutchinson’s pitch to the market at a time when investment in proptech in the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to hit $5.87 billion annually by 2021 is simple.
“Most real estate businesses recognise they need to look at buying new software if they are to survive, on the basis that they must lower their costs and make smarter decisions in order to meet evolving customer expectations. Why would you buy six or seven programs or licences when you can use one?” he said.