Over the past five years, the adoption of digital solutions within the Australian real estate industry has dramatically increased. We are seeing a record number of emerging technology solutions enter the market, gain significant funding and deliver results for their customers.
As the national focus for innovative solutions continues to grow, the number of products entering the market is also increasing – but do the people at the forefront of these companies creating solutions that are meant to bring our profession into the 21st century really understand how the sector works?
This year we’ve seen several examples of industry having negative experiences with not only the technology they’re seeking to adopt, but the people behind it. The exact same can be said for proptech companies who have bent over backwards to meet the demands of the prospective clients, only to have a contract fall through at the last minute and be ghosted.
So, if the awareness and appetite to engage with proptech is at an all-time high and if Australia has a record number of emerging technology companies entering the market, where is the disconnect? And why are we entering a new phase of “finger pointing”?
Proptech BNE. is privileged to have leading industry experts on our annual council and decided to pose these questions to Antonia Mercorella, CEO of the REIQ and Rukshana Sashankan, General Manager, Customer Success (QLD), PEXA.
“From what I have witnessed, companies that seek to truly understand the industry they are looking to serve and know their pain points are the ones that succeed,” said Ms Mercorella. “Communication is key and checking ego at the door is a must, it is not about building something you think is cool, but rather building a solution that is needed”.
The CEO of REIQ also said “It is easy for the real estate industry to throw stones, claiming that proptech businesses are unreasonable, however, it is a two way street”. “If the industry wants digital solutions that enable them to do what they do better, more efficiently and at scale, they need to take an active approach in working with startups, sharing their knowledge and building relationships”.
As the General Manager, Customer Success (QLD for PEXA, Rukshana Sashankan has a unique viewpoint on these matters also. “PEXA has been on a 12 year journey of collaboration between a very diverse group of stakeholders and without a doubt, the ability to unite previously disparate parties in the pursuit of a shared vision is what underpinned the industry wide evolution we have been a part of.”
Ms Sashankan also highlighted the need for direct, consistent feedback and the importance of leveraging that information to ensure the product is not only meeting the needs and standards of the customer today, but it evolves with the industry. “Our strategic roadmap is heavily influenced by industry feedback and we receive this feedback in both formal and informal settings and what is crucial to remember is that your technology is solving for human problems.”
Whilst there is no doubt that for proptechs looking to scale into the property economy, direct and consistent communication is needed with their customers, there is also the opportunity for “peer to peer learning”. In support of this, Proptech BNE. has organised the national 2022 Founders Forum.
The 2022 Founders Forum will see over 100 proptech founders from around the country representing early stage startups to extremely well established businesses.
“Proptech founders who have scaled into industry, learnt from mistakes and built a reputable brand with their customers have the opportunity to share that insight with the next generation of entrepreneurs” says Ms. Mercorella. “If more proptech founders shared these insights, we would see less startups making the same mistakes or hitting the same roadblocks as companies who launched two, three, even four years before them.
There is no single step that can be taken to solve the current issues being faced by the real estate industry and proptech economy, however clear, consistent and informed feedback between all parties is proving to be a necessity for continued growth.
Written by Isaac Coonan, Founder of Proptech BNE.