Confident in a rising property market in the Philippines, property-oriented startup
ZipMatch has recently secured venture funding from Kickstart Ventures
and Monk’s Hill Ventures
, with funds aimed at helping the company gain further traction in the local market and even beyond.
In 2013, ZipMatch launched as a platform that aimed to revolutionize the local realty industry by focusing on data-driven initiatives. While the service was initially like any other property listing site, it started to put increased focus on realtors and sellers as the primary customer base, providing data on qualified or pre-qualified leads, in order to facilitate the screening process. This meant that realtors and realty companies are better able to match qualified buyers with available properties, leading to a higher likelihood of conversions.
However, the company also offered potential buyers an edge, through curated and verified content, like photos, 360-degree virtual property tours, and a database of homes and condominiums that help make the property hunt easier.
Capital infusion for regional expansion
The Series A-1 funding round is led by Kickstart Ventures
, a wholly-owned subsidiary of telecom firm Globe, and Monk’s Hill Ventures
, a VC firm with roots in Asia and Silicon Valley. This latest funding round is meant to help the company gain traction and potentially expand into other markets.
With added resources, ZipMatch will continue to focus on providing an immersive experience to potential buyers, as well as data-rich matching capabilities to sellers, says Co-founder Chow Paredes. “ZipMatch’s strength lies within our community of home seekers. It is a community built on trust. Thus, we want to provide them with reliable information and tools that will take them one step closer into owning or renting a home that is just right for them.”
ZipMatch is the 26th investment of Kickstart, which is confident about the company’s deep understanding of the local market from both the home buyer and realtor sides. “As a venture capitalist with sharp focus around digital, Kickstart believes that the team has the necessary balance of platform and tech, data analytics, and human touch: making the home search process much more efficient, while also providing great real-life support where it counts,” says Kickstart president Minette Navarrete.
The company declined to disclose the amount involved in the new round, although it raised US$2.5 million Series A round in 2015 likewise led by Singapore-based Monk’s Hill, as well as 500 Startups
The Bankgo Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippine Central Bank) has launched its first ever index of property prices
, and it considers the Philippines to be a seller’s market at present. The BSP sees an annual price growth of 9.2 percent, with prices of condominium units rising fastest, at 12.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016.
The monetary authority is watching for signs of a property bubble, however, given the potential speculative nature of property prices–rising prices prompt consumers to buy more properties, which boosts prices even more. However, the BSP is confident that prices are still moving within economic growth and consumer optimism for the industry, which means prices are in line with the underlying demand. In addition, vacancy and occupancy rates are low, which indicates a strong market for real property.
The Philippines will continue to see positive growth in its real estate market, and technology companies are already capitalizing on this trend with innovative technologies and applications that add value to the buying and selling experience. With new resources, ZipMatch can help more Filipinos–and in future buyers in other countries–find and acquire the home of their dreams in a lucrative, but often confusing, market.