The future of the property market is online, it would seem. Zoopla announced today that it has invested an undisclosed amount in and entered into ‘long term strategic partnerships’ with four young property technology start-ups – Landbay, Trussle, Fixflo and Property Detective.
The deals are part of its plan to become an all-encompassing property portal in a bid to ward off the threat of its estate agent-backed rival OnTheMarket.com. They follow Zoopla’s acquisition of the utilities comparison site uSwitch last April, for similar reasons.
‘We are delighted to announce our investments and partnerships with these exciting companies that will help us to further differentiate our offering for both our users and partners,’ said Zoopla CEO and founder Alex Chesterman.
The four start-ups do quite different things:
Property Detective lets you scout out your prospective new neighbourhood – telling you the kinds of people who live there, the quality of schools, crime rates and such. Premium subscribers get even more detail, including ‘smell nuisances’ – handy for finding out if you’re buying next to a sewage farm.
Landbay taps into the growing trend for P2P lending, offering consumers the chance to lend to home buyers in need of a mortgage. Unlike riskier (if reward-ier) unsecured lending, Landbay’s investors’ money is secured against the value of the property.
Trussle is Britain’s first ever online mortgage adviser. It promises to help consumers figure out if they are paying over the odds for their house loan.
Fixflo is aimed at buy-to-let landlords. It’s an online system for tenants to report repairs, making it easier for landlords to keep track of what they need to be doing. No more excuses for letting the roof leak for months on end.
These four weren’t the only ‘proptech’ start-ups on the receiving end of a cash injection this week either. Movebubble, which is aimed at renters looking for somewhere new to live, has picked up a £1.1m wad from several private investors, including Spotify’s UK MD Adam Williams. It seems there’s plenty of promise in property.