“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too late and we reach it.”
— Renaissance artist Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni on why it’s important to occasionally stretch yourself.
Just when I was decided to do a startup to do what I had planned for the past 6 years but never got the chance I read this news article. Let’s see.
From Yahoo News
Finding your dream home can be a nightmare. How will consumers in the Philippines benefit from ZipMatch?
Having moved to the Philippines from California three years ago, John Dang couldn’t help but notice that there were an incredible number of buildings under construction. This mushroomed into a startup idea and he went on to launch ZipMatch in 2012. Yesterday, the real estate marketplace announced receiving an undisclosed amount of funds from local and foreign investors, including IMJ Fenox, 500Startups, IdeaSpace and Hatchd Digital.
How it all began
Yet, amidst a boom in the real estate scene is an extremely tedious process of buying, selling or leasing out apartments. Co-founder Dang told e27, “Searching for a home, however, remains a challenge and a common complaint. I had to sift through thousands of duplicate and spam listings without a clear picture of what is available in the market.”
Dang also spoke to many real estate brokers and developers to get a better understanding of the situation. He said that there is no central listing service and strong real estate regulatory board, which means that brokers have to depend on their personal networks.
“As a result, often times there are too many middlemen brokers involved in a real estate transaction, making the process very painful and slow,” he added.
ZipMatch was then founded to solve such inefficiencies, and automate the process of finding a property in the country through a digital solution. He noted, “We decide to gather as much data and available listings we could, as well as build our network of professionals, so that we can become the property matchmakers for this market.”
He also raised the point that online classifieds sites Sulit and Ayosdito are not exactly the best way for consumers to find their dream homes. Dang said, “When you search through these listings, it’s easy to spend too many hours; I often get lost among thousands of listings and I often give up. It’s common to see many of the same listings put up by multiple brokers, so it’s hard to sort out what really is available.”
According to him, the real estate industry was also lagging behind in terms of professional service standards. So, how does ZipMatch bring value to the table, and help consumers better find a space fast and efficiently? At a glance, it seems that the website is a more systematic way of finding information, and learning more about the country. Real estate developers can also have their own microsites and listings.
“Unlike classified ads who are incentivised by monetising off impressions — so it benefits them to have tons and tons of listings (even if they are not quality), we want to focus on technology and service to help simplify the process and make it easier for them,” said Dang. He added, “We want to make sure we not only offer relevant and quality information along with rich content, we also want to provide a professional service. It’s important to us that home shoppers get timely and informative consultations.”
Dang said that the originally bootstrapped business has earned enough revenues from customer inquiries and leads to sustain itself. The funds, on the other hand, will help scale the business and team.
The team had met its investors at last year’s Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) event in Boracay. Koichi Saito, General Manager, IMJ Fenox said in an official statement that his firm had invested in ZipMatch as the startup is coming up with out-of-the-box solutions for local real estate problems. He added, “… As people become tech-savvy, the demand for efficient ways of doing things online will grow rapidly.”
Another international investor, Khailee Ng of 500Startups, chimed in, “We’re always looking for the next big success story in each country, and we see this with ZipMatch.” Local investors also commended ZipMatch for its team and vision to solve a real problem faced by a “fast-growing economy”.