Thai property portal Hipflat gets investment from Japanese price comparison firm
The Thai company said it will use the funds to introduce new products aimed at enhancing transparency in emerging property markets.
Hipflat’s portal aggregates real estate listings from multiple sources. The startup said that it currently hosts 260,000 properties, and receives more than 30,000 inquiries from prospective buyers and renters each month. While real estate agents can list properties on Hipflat for free, the startup charges them to receive enquiries from would-be buyers and renters.
Southeast Asia’s online property portal space is a crowded one, with PropertyGuru, 99.co, and iProperty just a few of the bigger names angling for market share. Hipflat says that its main point of differentiation is a proprietary data mining solution – driven by natural language processing and machine learning technologies – which enables it to extract and process real estate pricing data from hundreds of unstructured sources.
This could prove of critical value in emerging markets where official records of property transactions may often be incomplete, missing, or otherwise unavailable to the public. It would appear that this is what piqued Aucfan’s interest.
The potential synergy arises because the technologies both companies apply for collecting, cleaning, analyzing and presenting pricing data are similar, Hipflat founder and CEO Denis Nemtsev tells Tech in Asia. “One of the things I am particularly interested is Aucfan’s experience in packaging the data and offering it as a paid product,” he says. “We’re planning to introduce advanced data analysis as a paid subscription in the future. I see a lot of interest to this kind of solution, which is especially valuable in such a fragmented and opaque market like Thailand.”
Nemtsev says that Hipflat has raised a total of roughly US$1.3 million since launching in 2013, including US$335,000 in angel investment in September that year. Aucfan is not the startup’s first Japanese backer; VC firms OPT SEA and REAPRA – which has stakes in several startup property portals – have previously invested. Other prominent Hipflat investors include 500 Durians and Xplorer Capital.
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