Proptech start-ups driving innovation in property sector

Digital start-ups meet traditional real estate industry
29 January 2020
Das Büro von Finexity in Hamburg

Around 19 so-called start-up specializing in property technology are aiming to turn the property market digital, according to a 2019 Comdirect study. The city of Hamburg counts among Germany’s top three proptech hotspots after Berlin and Munich, according to a study by the Swedish Catella Property Group. Hamburg News takes a closer look at the scene.

Seizing opportunities of digitalistation

Around 93 per cent of respondents to the Global Proptech Survey 2018 conducted by KPMG, believe that traditional property companies should interact with proptech start-ups to adapt to the changing global environment. Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Managing Director of the Hamburg Invest economic development agency, agrees and noted: “New technologies and digital change are effecting the property market as well. A large number of promising start-ups in Hamburg show how the property sector can seize the opportunities of digitalization.”

Proptech or property technology

The term proptech or property technology covers technological or knowledge-based business models that contribute to the digital development and optimization of the property sector – from 3D floor plans on apps to smart buildings. Most of the companies are start-ups, but have links to the financial services sector (Fintechs). Digital crowd investing is just one example.

Proptech companies do the following:

• Property Management: managing properties and checking e.g. tenants
• Facility Management: managing the property and improving energy consumption
• Home Services and IoT Home: technology that boost life in the home (e.g. smart light bulbs)
• Home/Apartment Search: Mediation of rental and purchase objects (digital property management)
• Portfolio Management: Asset management (real estate crowd investment platforms)

Digital property agent and agent matching

The start-up scene in Hamburg has produced some pioneers as well as leading proptechs and promising newcomers.

Maklaro-Gründer und -CEO Nikolai Roth
© Maklaro GmbH
Maklaro-Gründer und -CEO Nikolai Roth

Founded in 2013 by Nikolai Roth, Maklaro GmbH is a digital property agent and has turned the traditional offline bidding process digital. If several parties are interested in a property, an online bidding process ensues making for a virtual negotiation table. Maklaro promises an average of 25 per cent higher sales prices and employs 15 people at present. Talocasa GmbH operates in the home/apartment search segment and offers Hausgold, a data-supported, digital brokerage network. The brokerage is based on an algorithm and feeds on big data from the property sector e.g. sales prices, number of property sales per region, etc. and calculates a matching score. Founded in 2014 by Sebastian Wagner, the company has a 60-strong workforce.

Crowd investing and block-chain based transactions

Digital property investments i.e. portfolio management are also popular in Hamburg. The market leader is the crowd investing start-up Exporo, which merged with its rival Zinsland last autumn. The platform allows small investors to invest EUR 500 or more in property. 

Founded in 2014 by Simon Brunke, Björn Maronde, Tim Bütecke and Julian Oertzen, Exporo AG has over 190 employees.
Finexity AG, on the other hand, relies on blockchain-based transactions. Founded in 2018 by Paul Hülsmann and Henning Wagner, the first property went online in late 2019. Investors can acquire so-called security tokens, which represent shares in a property. According to Tim Janssen, Head of Blockchain, “Investors can sell their digital shares at any time without the hurdles of notaries or brokers.” The blockchain technology can score points in terms of safety, speed and costs. More than 15 employees are currently working on the blockchain-based property investment platform, which won the German Excellence Prize 2020 in the category “Start-up – Finance” in January.

Real-time networking between buildings, tenants and owners

Kjell Ole Beckmann and Tom Leppin, founder and managing partner of Reos GmbH, have set themselves the goal of digitising real estate and portfolio management. “To this end, we connect the building with its owner and tenants. Reos is the first cloud platform that combines software solutions with IoT real-time data from the property, including consumption values, access authorizations or fault messages,” said Leppin. They can be viewed on a management platform and a tenant portal. The duo presented their business model at the renowned real estate trade fair Expo Real 2019 as part of the Hamburg delgeation to Munich. Founded in 2017, Reos GmbH employs around 22 people.

Ganzheitliche Vernetzung
© 2020, Reos GmbH
Ganzheitliche Vernetzung

News from proptech scene

Nikolai Roth, founder and CEO of Maklaro blogs about trends and developments in the German proptech scene on Register now for the newsletter.