PropertyGuru was founded in May year 2007 and its official site set up in December. Property Guru became Singapore’s Properties and Real State Main Website quickly. The platform provides access to property and home-related products but it also offers services, news, , information, guidance, downloads, tools and the largest online property database in Singapore.
Unlike many entrepreneurs who pursue a long inspiring dream, the founder of this company Steve Melhuish only became passionate of real estate after he decided that it was a large market in need, or with a clear niche and he made his startup. Some say it may have started to be incubated back in 2004; its founders and bosses are Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen. Now with over 300 hundred employees Property Guru is the most successful real estate business platform in Asia.
His mission and objective was to allow users, potential buyers and or investors research more efficiently online real state and property market, and now he controls the largest Internet real estate website in the region with 14 million users a month. In fact, the renowned Alexa Rank from Alexa Inc, A commercial web traffic data and analytics California-based Company, gave Property Guru.com an Alexa index of 8,618 as of January 2016 of Interned traffic, certifying it as Singapore’s leading online property portal, PropertyGuru. The British-born Steve Melhuish didn´t know much at all on the real estate market in back in 2005, and now he dominates the industry.
Melhuish´s Wife and he had just recently moved to Asia and to the city two years earlier and were extremely shocked and frustrated of how difficult it was to browse and find new housing in Asia, specifically in Singapore. The previous and current search sites like Realtor.com, RentaHouse, Century21 and other were popular only in the United States, but not so yet in Asia, in fact, properties advertising were still handled by the newspaper´s classified ads until Melhuish decided to found PropertyGuru formally in 2007.
How it works
Relying on Computer Database processing and Online access, they area more efficient of course that the traditional newspapers and or real estate agents options. Also, money is often saved because it can be more easily scrutinized through the many choices.
PropertyGuru’s website allows buyers and sellers, or users in general search through for properties based on filters as Prices, Type, Location, Size, Features, etc: and see many photos of interiors and floor plans.
PropertyGuru makes money in their operations in three main ways: – Agents fee: by charging agents a fee to use the platform. – Advertising: It sells online ad spots on the platform and also adds on the printed newsletter. And finally, – Property developers: Assisting the entire campaign from advertising to sales for property developers.
Growth and Expansion
In its home town Singapore, Ong Teck Hui the National Director of Research at Property Broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., says PropertyGuru has already become the most common platform for people to go searching to buy or rent real state. They have created a bit like a “Coke brand for Drinks” when you want to find a property you think of PropertyGuru. Remember, only in Singapore, Property Guru holds 90% of the property sales market.
The expansion Melhuish has begun into Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, introducing varieties of the site and applications to sell their products.
In June 2012, the idea raised almost 50 million US$ from European property portal group, ImmobilienScout24.
In June 2015, the 47 years old expat was able to raise 130 million US$ from venture capital investors as Indonesia’s´ Emtek and TPG Capital, achieving the 2nd biggest funding amount of that year for a Southeast Asian Company. PropertyGuru’s fundraising was the 2nd largest amount in the region. The 1st fundraised amount was earned by GrabTaxi Holdings a taxi-substitute-riding- service, rival to Uber Inc. in Southeast Asia.
Melhuish is also astonish of the startups growth since in the short span of time numberous rivals have emerged and disappeared in the past eight years. Two months before he teamed with partner Jani Rautiainen to start PropertyGuru, 3 new competitors entered the market, including iProperty Group. In November, iProperty was acquired by REA Group News Corp. unit which owns real estate websites in Europe, Australia and China.
At the moment PropetryGuru is still private and handle´s hundreds of billions of dollars every year, nonetheless Melhuish has declined to discuss PropertyGuru’s valuation and stated that there´re no immediate plans for an IPO Initial Public Offer to open up their capital to shareholders, and grow with this extra capital.
PropertyGuru incomes derive from the same two main sources as most online web businesses do: First, from the Fee of Enrolment, or Agents fee, which is a rent amount required to make use of the platform and Second, the selling of marketing and advertising online. Also in Property Guru´s case they have advertisement in printed newsletters to complement bringing people into the online web-based system. And get fee from backing up whole marketing project for construction developers.
Nowadays Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand´s joint business account approximately for at least $150 billion annual market for property transactions.
Recently as its largest deal so far, PropertyGuru´s as an investment to power up its core business, has decided to acquire Ensign Media, architectural luxury properties websites and magazines content developer, in Melhuish´s words this is in order to build strength and depth in the markets to become integrated player.
The Properties´ online business is a very competitive one. PropertyGuru competes with startups and banks. In Melhuish own words he says that “they commonly have one or two new competitor every year”
PropertyGuru is currently facing challenges to its leading position; if some of the giants gain more market and or develop faster it may stop being the region’s hottest startups. Some of this are:
99.co, by Facebook´s co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Sequoia Capital, using an interface similar to Airbnb, 99.co is one of the main and toughest competitors.
founded by Singapore impresario Darius Cheung, of 35 years thinks the real difference his Google-like “99.co” property platform and that PropertyGuru is that whereas traditional property websites are influenced in their search results by whoever pays more to get priority listings. His 99.co startup doesn’t, they mostly care Google-like to find the most accurate market properties results. Cheung says “this encourages people want to put more accurate, quality information”.
Some of most famous competitors are: Asiapropertyworld.com, propertyportalwatch.com, global leader, www.propertywire.com, www.listglobally.com, and big corps as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp too. Another product competitor is: DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Southeast Asia’s largest lender, has an application to list transactions and provide an all-online-check mortgage calculator to help users buy a home.
But for now, at least in Singapore, the Company accounts for roughly 90% of the Real State Sales market. More than the following four competitors together!
PropertyGuru has developed and launched successfully 15 mobile apps in Southeast Asia to fend off the consumer shift to tablet computers and mobile phones, of users, buyers and agents in the four Asian countries.
Locale is important to keep customer´s loyalty, therefore PropertyGuru has done everything from allowing prospective buyers to search for property “near here” and enabling agents to upload listing for better flexibility, automation and customizing.
For their target market, and their branding (imaging) PropertyGuru has adopted a method of focusing on higher quality agent listings ranked higher, regardless of whether they pay or not, to keep up a high-end look and customer base.
Milestones and Recognitions
2008 Best Singapore Property Portal in CNBC Asia-Pacific Property Awards.
2009 World’s Best Property Portal 2009 winner, Asia’s Best Property Portal and “Best Singapore Property Portal at the CNBC Asia-Pacific Property Awards.
2010 Best E-enterprise Company 2010 winner at the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF).Best Performing VC Backed Company 2010 winner at the Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (SVCA).
2011 PropertyGuru won “Gold Award – Online Business 2011” at the South-East Asian SME Tiger Awards. PropertyGuru won “Top 100 Asia Technology Firm 2011” at the Red Herring Award.
2012 Best Mobile App – Merit at the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF)
2013 Best Informative Use of Mobile – Gold winner at Marketing Magazine’s MobEx Awards Most Popular app – Bronze at the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF). Best Mobile App by Media Owner – Gold winner.
2014 Best Best Direct Response Campaign – Bronze winner. App/Content by A Media Owner – Gold winner at Marketing Magazine’s MobEx Awards.
What´s to Come
Though the competition seems to be tough, specially of introducing the Asian successful idea into the western world. PropertyGuru certainly has a head start. The company has chosen to remain private and privately run; they are ensuring making more right decisions along to near future. We expect more assertive business decisions from Mr. Steve Melhuish to lead the way into Asian´s Property Booms.