SA’s first proptech association excited about the future
MAIN IMAGE: Sean Godoy, co-founder of SA Proptech Association.
When the SA Proptech Association was introduced in Cape Town recently, co-founder and techno-preneur Sean Godoy was asked what benefit the association would have for estate agents.
Godoy together with fellow techno-preneur Wayne Berger launched the SA PropTech Association at the end of last year. The association held it’s first event in Johannesburg in April and a second event this week in Cape Town.
Godoy is the director of Divercity Property Solutions and Berger is the managing director of iShack Ventures and founder of proptech Instant Property.
In a statement Godoy said he believes proptech has the power to create new business opportunities and to help to solve problems in South Africa. Worldwide the rise of proptech – or real estate technology – is changing the way the business of property is done and proptech start-ups are steadily appearing in markets across the globe. Godoy mentioned that billions of dollars are ploughed into the growth of proptech business across the globe. He believes in SA there is also growing interest in the startup/tech scene as evidenced by Naspers earmarking R1,4billion in 2018 to support South African start-ups and drive local innovation.
“The South African proptech ecosystem is exciting because it harnesses global tech trends such as big data and AI, while at the same time solving local problems in an effective and meaningful way. At the end of the day, copying and pasting any solution from another region may not necessarily be effective. Instead, it all starts with problems or limitations with the current way things are being done within a specific market,” Godoy said.
He listed online estate agencies PropertyFox, Leadhome and Eazi.com as examples of local companies that used proptech to streamline aspects of the process of selling property.
“These platforms offer varying degrees of digitisation of the home buying and selling process, but also plug into the physical aspect of property which will always be relevant. Viewings, inspections and other physical visits will always be part of the process. What these companies have done is streamlined a sometimes slow and tedious process, and made it more efficient and, in some instances, safer. This is a global problem or challenge with estate agencies, and these companies are solving it within a local context,” he said.
This mention of disruptive digital estate agencies prompts the question of how the commission-based real estate industry will benefit from a proptech association in South Africa?
Firstly, it is important to understand the main aim with the launch of the association is to provide a platform for proptech companies to network and promote their products and innovations. “We are also aiming to raise awareness of proptech within the SA property industry and also globally. To this end we have good relationships or partnerships with similar bodies in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US,” Godoy said.
He continues that “meaningful interaction with the property industry is a key part of our mission”. This will happen through regular events, articles and stakeholder engagement projects.
Godoy is somewhat illusive though when asked whether the proptech innovations they’ll advance will primarily be aimed at making the lives of estate agents easier, e.g. by providing tech that makes their jobs easier, or tech that could replace them.
“With any new technology the first reaction from an industry is usually concern about jobs becoming obsolete. However, proptech provides new ways for established professionals like estate agents to deliver their services, often improving efficiency and the customer experience for their clients. At the same time many new roles will be created within tech and property,” he said.
Godoy observed that the proptech sector within SA is still at in its early stages of development, although this is changing quickly.
Property leaders are well aware of this and has stated repeatedly that while technology could never replace the human touch needed when people are making such an important decision as buying or selling a family home – proptech innovations can assist in making this a smoother and less time-consuming process.
Also read: Proptech and the real estate industry