* Updated August 29, 2022.
The digital revolution has transformed the economy, and the internet has fundamentally altered our business communication and daily interactions. Digital platforms now dominate the market of mass media, customer relations, and sales - which is why real estate tech startups have become such an integral part of the sector. The older mediums simply cannot compete with the global digital marketplace, unless they adapt. Keeping up with this trend, discovering innovative real estate startups requires a plunge into the digital sphere, as well.
Real estate startups in the digital marketplace
Technological advances are giving rise to what Harvard Business Review has dubbed the access economy. It is based on the peer-to-peer exchange of goods and services. It provides cost-effective and convenient access to resources without the burdens and commitments of ownership.
This economic model is a part of urbanization, and what better way to exemplify why it is so than by talking about its pioneer service, Uber. Uber developed a mobile application that connected consumers with Uber drivers with a simple request form and feedback loop. In this system, agents exchange the under-utilized capacities of existing assets, like Uber drivers who drive their own cars in their free time. The peer-to-peer model has significantly lowered operation costs compared to traditional bureaucratic companies with rigid, centralized structures. They use digital platforms and mobile applications that facilitate business relationships, effectively eliminating countless middlemen.
And just as Uber and Airbnb are disrupting their respective industries, the same is happening in the real estate market. Real estate innovation has come to rely on startups digitizing and shifting towards an access economy model. To show you how that works, we’ll share 25 innovative real estate startups that are shaking up the industry, competing with top real estate companies, and changing the game in many different sub-sectors such as residential and commercial real estate.
25 Innovative Real Estate Startups
Atlant aims to create a decentralized real estate marketplace with the use of tokenized ownership and p2p rentals. Tokenized ownership makes it easier to operate real estate assets and boosts their liquidity in the secondary real estate markets. With peer-to-peer rentals, Atlant endeavors to distort the monopoly of real estate agents and significantly reduce the fees for tenants and landlords.
Bowery is redefining the industry of real estate appraisals with their cutting-edge technology, expertise, and use of big data. Bowery offers a cloud-based appraisal writing software that automates and speeds up the process compared to their leading real estate agency competitors. The software utilizes a natural language generator and robust backend database. The software is easy to use and has a mobile application.
Biuldium offers an intuitive and efficient cloud-based property management software. It is affordable and perfect for the medium size property management and small landlords, allowing them to efficiently manage all day-to-day operations in one place.
Enertiv digitizes the physical infrastructure to streamline the management and operations of large buildings. They install circuit-level sensors on every valuable piece of equipment, track the crucial indicators, and analyze data streams. These features open tremendous possibilities to enhance the safety and efficiency of elevators, boilers, exhaust fans, and air conditioning.
Flip provides a digital communication platform for rentals that facilitates flexibility for renters and landlords, giving a seamless experience for those looking to sublet or search for a home for a short period of time. Flip manages the entire process from screening the potential candidates to the payment of security deposits.
This innovative software solution effectively connects commercial real estate, residential properties, and maintenance professionals. This is a communication and business that simplifies the repairs and maintenance processes. A great solution for a small real estate agency and top real estate companies alike.
Foyr was created in Bangalore, the Indian Silicon Valley. It was the first online interior designer. With its simple interface and request forms, Foyr tailors custom design solutions for your home. They measure the key indicators of your interior and adjust them to your cultural background.
This real estate tech startup is a ground-breaking technology-centered amenities provider for large residential and office facilities. They partner up with third-party vendors, like event planners and fitness trainers, to organize on-site events and activities. hOM creates a unique living and working experience without the need to hire PR professionals or entertainment teams. If you want to entertain your tenants or employees, make sure to check them out.
Mashvisor is a real estate data analytics company that helps investors find lucrative traditional and Airbnb rental properties. Their platform uses big data and predictive analytics to analyze the investment potential of properties. AI and machine learning allow them to match buyers with the most appropriate investment properties.
Landbay is an online platform for peer-to-peer lending. It matches lenders with borrowers and creates a venue for alternative investment. Landbay allows regular customers to benefit from the British property market through investment and direct ownership. They offer a personal approach and bespoke solutions for specific needs and circumstances.
The monopoly of real estate agencies and real estate brokers has plagued the industry for years. They established a firm grip on entire regions, positioning themselves as the only gateway for renting and selling property. This position historically allowed them to charge high commissions with minimal effort.
Property owners can try to market property themselves, but usually, they lack basic expertise. No Agent is changing this by enabling landlords to manage their properties professionally. No Agent’s advanced knowledge and technological toolkit allow landlords to operate the process autonomously with minimum spending.
Open Door Labs serves as a digital intermediary for sales deals. This company frees you from all the hassle of selling a home. They purchase a property from you and take care of the rest. With the use of big data and advanced market assessment algorithms, ODL is able to assign a fair price for your property, giving real estate agents a run for their money.
CommercialEdge is a property research, market intelligence, and listing marketing platform designed by Yardi Systems Inc. Tailored for commercial real estate professionals, it is an intuitive, all-in-one tool enabling data-driven decisions and enhanced lead generation.
This digital service allows you to assess the area you are planning to move to. It compiles a comprehensive report on various neighborhoods about the quality of schools, crime rate, and many other factors.
This is a digital real estate agency that provides a full package of services for a fixed fee. Instead of hiring an agent or broker, you pay a one-time fee and let the digital professionals advertise your property.
PeerStreet takes an innovative approach to real estate debt and peer-to-peer lending. They provide interested investors access to the market of real estate debt. PeerStreet enables investments in high-yield mortgages and real estate-backed loans. It is a great tool to diversify your investment portfolio and enter a lucrative market that had been previously monopolized by big banks.
Ravti is the ultimate outsourcing option for air conditioning, heating, and ventilation (HVAC). It removes the headache of dealing with sophisticated technical equipment for big property management. Ravti procures, tracks, and manages HVAC for big residential and office buildings.
RealtyShares is a pioneer in real estate crowdfunding. This industry is aiming to provide access for small investors to big commercial real estate development projects. RealtyShares allows investors to buy shares in pre-vetted real estate properties for as little as $5,000.
Rentberry is an innovative rental platform that enables direct interactions between tenants and landlords. It is an all-in-one platform that allows users to submit rental applications, track maintenance, request candidate screenings, and e-sign rental agreements. One of the unique features of Rentberry is the custom offer feature that allows tenants to negotiate the rent price transparently through the platform.
Security deposits are a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they make landlords feel secure and confident. On the other hand, they require tenants to pay a large sum of money which may or may not be returned. The British startup, Reposit, is offering a healthy alternative to this system. Tenants pay a one-time non-refundable fee equivalent to a half-months rent, while the landlord receives a half-year of the property insurance.
Modern sales and business development are all about leads. Leads come from everywhere, and it is hard to assess their quality and relevance. Riley offers lead qualification as a service. Real estate agents and brokers can send leads to Riley’s Concierge service, and in a matter of minutes, Riley will assess and qualify them before returning them to the agent.
The real estate market is all about digits: median sales price, closing price, crime rate, etc. It is hard to navigate a world of raw data. Seeable aims to transform this "grim" situation and provide a powerful visualization tool for real estate agencies. They create 3D Building Information Models that make all the information about the asset visible and accessible to a large audience. It is especially useful for regular non-professional users that need to access crucial information in a simple form. Seeable offers 3D and 2D applications for various platforms.
This company focuses on commercial real estate leasing. They customize the leasing process from initial search and open-houses to lease negotiations. SquareFoot is an online listing platform that provides tools for effective renting.
This company provides cutting-edge financial advice on mortgages through a comprehensive assessment of the various aspect of the market as well as personal finances. It calculates what you can borrow and does a search of thousands of available mortgages and shows you the best offer.
This company focuses on the immersive technologies of real estate marketing. They offer various turn-key packages and solutions to real estate through cutting-edge augmented reality and interactive technologies for real estate agents.
As you can see, innovative real estate technology has the potential to fundamentally alter the field as we know it. Many of the entries on this list were real estate tech startups, meaning their place on this list and competitive edge in the real estate innovation market were earned by relying on technological solutions. Innovative real estate startups that rely on technology to design new property management solutions is called PropTech.
What is PropTech?
PropTech (property technology or real estate technology) is a term most commonly used in Europe. Although its meaning in the real estate world is rather broad, it generally refers to the technology used in the real estate landscape. It covers both the residential and commercial markets.
Real estate is a conservative industry that is not very prone to change. This is based on the nature of the asset class. Real estate consists of large heterogeneous assets that are traded in the predominantly private market.
The industry is dominated by big stakeholders - large property management and investors that control the ecosystem. They are known to resist any business model that can threaten their dominance. This is why real estate innovation and real estate startups haven’t had it easy.
It comes as no surprise that the second wave of real estate tech startups had to fight the traditional juggernauts of the industry for its market shares. Luckily, they were successful and their focus on the quality of consumer experience and the creation of disruptive technologies have brought a much-needed change to the market.
Innovation in real estate
Young real estate startups concentrate on the unique quality of services that only modern technology can deliver. Companies like Purple Brick, Rentberry and WeWork aim to transform how property owners, managers, and investors engage with the customers.
Only the first half of PropTech venture capital funding in 2022 reached $13.1 billion, a record to date. Moreover, H1 of 2022 marked a 5.6% increase ($700 million) in comparison to the first half of 2021. Even though funding has thus far dropped in the second half of the year, the year ain’t over yet, and according to some experts, it’ll likely end up a record year for VC funding in PropTech.
It may come as no surprise that this year confirmed 21 innovative real estate unicorns - companies worth over $1B - many of which were founded within the last 5 years.
Back in 2015, New York had the largest inventory of commercial real estate property. Although this city has been leading the revolution in PropTech, real estate innovation has reshaped the industry on a global scale. The pandemic and its side effects - namely, keeping people as physically apart as possible - further propelled the digitization of this sector.
Anatomy of the industry
As we saw, the PropTech industry is likely to set a record in VC funding. Rapid developments in big data, machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT) have opened up many opportunities for new and innovative real estate tech startups.
Some effects of this shift are decreases in the transactional costs of the real estate deals and a lowering of the barrier for entry. As a result, the archaic real estate industry is experiencing a tectonic technological shift.
PropTech and FinTech innovation: Real estate match made in heaven
The backbone of the PropTech revolution is the financial technology (FinTech) industry. It created a solid infrastructure of online payment systems, online exchanges, and crowdfunding platforms. Real estate startups utilized these ready-made technologies to promote their own industry. There are main pivots built around PropTech:
This term denotes digital real-estate platforms that foster the use of real estate assets. These platforms may merely list properties and display information for the prospective users or provide the full range of services for selling or renting a property, like Rentberry. The real estate assets include offices, storage, houses, apartments, and shops.
These technological solutions help to manage and operate the real estate assets. They can gather and summarize information about the operation and management of the properties. Such services can provide information about utilities and rent payment or can be used to control the functions of the building.
Real Estate FinTech
These technological platforms facilitate the trading and exchange of real estate assets such as equity, debt, shares of funds or even shares of buildings. Investment and fund management platforms facilitate the efficient transaction of ownership.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM is more useful for realtors who communicate with customers on a daily basis. By using a real estate CRM, agents can streamline their workflow as it allows them to keep everything in one place. CRM provides access to tools such as built-in calling, automating or scheduling follow-ups, personalized texts, storing documents, and forecasting to keep a close eye on productivity levels.
An industry previously dominated by stakeholders who owned large portions of the market and ran the show is going through some big changes. And while it was previously thought that residential and commercial real estate was immune to change, that no longer seems to be the case. There's no doubt that the real estate market is in a state of disruption thanks to new, innovative real estate startups that are creating competition for the existing top real estate companies. Emerging technologies into the market make it a truly exciting time for PropTech!