The online property portal market in Singapore last month saw a new addition with the launch of Propmatch (www.propmatch.com). The new site promises to revolutionize property hunting on the Internet, and claims to be exclusively focused on “connecting serious property hunters with quality agents” – no irrelevant news, or cluttered advertisments, for example, just a clean-cut site for finding a house.
Propmatch is the brainchild of 24 year-old David Zhang, who developed a keen interest in the real estate industry last year as he neared the completion of his Singapore national service commitments.
He observed that despite the throes of global recession and its effect on the housing market in the US, Singapore’s real estate market remained resilient. As he continued his research online, his experience on local property search portals left him with “a bad aftertaste” and led him a desire to create a better platform. It was this desire and vision for a focused property portal – and a healthy dose of entrepreneurial itch – that eventually convinced web entrepreneur Cheo Ming Shen, who founded blog advertising network Nuffnang, to fund David’s business concept. Propmatch – Singapore’s latest online property website – was born.
Making Property Search Easy
“Propmatch is built to enhance the search experience of property buyers and tenants, connecting them with quality property agents easily and efficiently and bringing them one step closer to their ideal property,” says David Zhang, now the co-founder and CEO of Propmatch. “Our aim is to do revamp the whole experience of searching for properties online in Singapore. It should be easy, efficient, relevant and informative.”
The online real estate portal market in Singapore is a very competitive one, with key player PropertyGuru (www.propertyguru.com.sg) leading an entire host of lesser players. Propmatch aims to differentiate itself by bringing to the scene features such as an interactive chat function, as well as matching and comparison functions, aside from the typical features you’d expect a online property site to have. A mobile application, which allows users to chat with agents, is in the works.
David says that other property portals in Singapore tend to offer consumers far too wide a scope of information. He adds that while that might be useful of those who are keen to learn more about Singapore’s property market, it doesn’t quite work for those who are solely interested in finding a property. “With so much industry information pulled from sources that all have different focuses, coupled with endless advertisements, that has ultimately sacrificed a satisfactory experience for the user,” he concludes.
A Meeting Of Like Minds
“A regular job has the tendency to stagnate a dynamic mind,” David quips, adding that he prefers to pursue something where he can best direct his drive and dynamism into results and success. When he first met Cheo Ming Shen – regularly known in the industry as Ming – it was a meeting of like minds.
“Ming and I share the belief that the online realm is one of the only remaining greenfields left in Singapore for young entrepreneurs and startups,” says David, recalling the first few conversations between them. “What I saw was a need for a distraction-free property platform that enhanced the user’s experience, and this ran parallel to Ming’s vision of clean, efficient products that go straight to the point in addressing needs and user demand.”
“In addition, Ming’s existing experience and resources in the online advertising space was something we believed could bring synergy and unique advantages to the business,” he adds.
Although Ming thought that the Propmatch idea had legs, what struck him more was the fact he saw in David a consummate executioner. “As they say, ideas are cheap, execution is everything. I believed then as I do now, that to move forward, you need to invest in great people.” In fact, that’s exactly what the entrepreneur – he’s started four businesses in Nuffnang, Churpchurp, Ripplewerkz and Jipaban since graduating from the London School of Economics in 2006 – looks out for when he’s looking to invest in Internet startups.
“I continue to be very interested in Internet startups and am looking to start an investment fund for such opportunities,” Ming adds. Propmatch.com, it seems, will be the first of many for the Internet entrepreneur.