From Seattle to Sydney, Seven Start-ups you've not met yet - Proptech Weekly #29

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Friends, Feudal Landlords and Commoners, 

This blog was started to highlight the people behind the Proptech.

Sometimes there's a topic that links people together. And sometimes people like to peek into the future to look for those topics.

But this week, I'd like to focus on seven start-ups from Seattle to Sydney that you've never heard of but really need to investigate.

1. Area -
Founded by the team behind Tab, the loyalty start-up, these guys have a fascinating story - plus founder Shawn Zvinis was apparently identified by GQ as one of the 'Men of the Next 25 Years'.

2. Asset -
Whatsapp for Real Estate (search) - The right high level idea IMO, but I think over-designed. Founded by Tim Barge

3. Avenue -
Giving agents their life back - Justin Shum's start-up won last year's RealogyFWD competition.

4. Blokable -
Lego for housing - This is transformational! If done right, so that Blokable is trendy. Check out the video by founder Aaron Holm

5. Eyeball it! -
Your personal renting assistant - bringing VR into the current day. Lacra Corcodelknows how to sell. And is a graduate of the University of Transylvania. 

6. Homepass -
Daniel Oertli is the ex-CIO of REA Group and subsequently launched and sold Roomz to REA. Not sure what Homepass will do, but I bet big corporates will want to buy it.

7. Home Rise -
Where homeowners compare agents for free. Launched by ex-Cushman & Wakefield man Simon Osborne.

Recently I wrote about Property Partner and how I thought their approach wasn't going to capture the 'crowd' in a big, scalable way. 

Well, Fundrise - the big shining beacon of property crowdfunding in the US - in a complete change of its business model is rejecting the crowd and going institutional:Link 

I want to end on a non-proptech article.

It's about how pricing affects our decisions.

It is why low-fee online agents will never be dominant in the marketplace: their (low) price is putting people off - counter to what they thought it would do - leaving them with a sub-3% market share after spending heavily on all that PR and advertising.

Have a read for yourselves.

It's why the soon-to-launch Nested, backed by a formidable list of London angels, will be far more successful than any online agent to date.

And without the need to fill Rightmove's coffers with investor money in a desperate chase for market share.

Please feel free to relay news, tips and comments @RayhanRESI 

Rayhan's PropTech Weekly XXIX

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Smart agent finder Homelight raises $11m (Property Portal Watch)

Using data to make money. Here's a lesson in how to do it: Link

Zoopla buys Property Software Group for £75m (CityAM)

Boom! Another year, another industry captivating acquisition by Alex Chesterman. The man is a machine that buys everything on the cheap. The value creation machine goes on (Disclaimer: I'm no Zoopla fan. I think they don't innovate; their products are clones that add no value. But Zoopla is amazing for their shareholders with the acquisitions and marketing - they now OWN the word SMART): Link

RealAs is an Aussie start-up with an Automated Valuation you can trust (Property Portal Watch)

I'm skeptical, but they talk more sense than the nonsense Zillow and Zoopla spew out (Z-index valuations instinctively look wrong). Have a look at what RealAs are doing: Link

Placester acquires Real Satisfied to take membership to 400k agents (Forbes)

Crickey! Link

Why start-ups can't disrupt the mortgage industry (TechCrunch)

Certainly a lot of truth here, but there's no imagination in this article. I do believe tech can turn both mortgage introduction and lending up on its head. Like comparison sites and big data have done with insurance. Here's the cynicism: Link

Pi Labs unveils 3rd cohort

I truncated the title, because I'm not sure these are recognisable as Proptech start-ups. While I'm enamoured by Reza Merchant's dashing good looks, I'm wondering what he's talking about when he advocates for the Pi Labs selection process: TextAudio interview with Reza