by Eugénie MartinezToday, we are pleased to announce a newcomer company in Axeleo’s #proptech portfolio and we want to tell you a bit about them. Please meet Propster, the Austrian real estate configurator, who is taking the real estate sector towards a customer-centric approach! After a first seed round and successful acceleration in Pi Labs’ acceleration program, the startup raises €3 million to keep growing, especially across Europe. We are thrilled to count Propster as the first European investment of our Proptech Fund portfolio and invest alongside European investors aws Gründerfonds (Austria), Pi Labs (UK) and Realty Corporation (UK),
To date, Propster has already convinced more than 90 residential and commercial developers across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia and has over 12.000 users. This round will enable the startup to accelerate and continue its expansion across Europe.Propster’s value proposition is crystal clear: bringing back the customer at the core of the real estate residential projects and let him decide what he wants. Why can you personalize your brand-new car, but can’t do the same with your apartment? Should you not be able to decide the type of flooring, the color of the countertops or the shape of the sink you want? Why are decisions regarding real estate projects still made by real estate developers and subcontractors, excluding the clients of the decision-making process?At the beginning of 2019, when Axeleo started raising its’ Proptech fund, we were convinced the momentum to digitize the real estate sector was going to come quickly. The Covid pandemic accelerated the trend as digital transformation was the only way to keep activities running. In parallel digital natives started buying their first homes. This population is used to having personalized services and products. Their first real estate experience frequently starts with coworking and coliving spaces which are quite ahead in matter of digital processes. For the continuation of their real estate journey, they obviously want to keep it digital.Knowing that, it seems odd that in our society, where almost all industries have switched to a customer centric model some are still quite behind in the transition. The real estate sector has moved slowly but is definitely on the way now. Propster’s platform is game changer as it puts the customer's choice back at the center of the project.How is Propster’s platform going to make the transition work? By becoming the unique interface to guide the clients all along the way from the configuration process to the delivery of the building.To do so, the platform comes in support of the sales teams by enabling clients to see the apartments available for sale among the on-going projects and start the customization process. The goal is to keep it scalable for the developers as they predefine the available options they want to propose to the buyers. With this strategy, customization becomes key in the sale process.Propster has also many advantages for the real estate developers. First of all, it helps them optimize processes. Secondly, it enables to communicate within a single channel in order to simplify and document all exchanges with the clients. It also helps to manage the deadlines and automate dispatch of legally binding information. But at the end of the day, the solution is here to help increase off-plan sales and boost revenues.The Covid-19 pandemic has been the proof that digitization is necessary and possible. Thanks to Propster, developers were able to keep on selling apartment despite the fact that clients were not able to visit the showrooms. The team’s advanced understanding of the real estate market will make the difference against competitors.To win in this market you need to have a solid market-fit and you can only have it if you understand the maturity of the market. The real estate sector has come a long way to itself, but it is still at the start. Understanding it is key. What does it really mean? To become a leader on the market, you need to offer the solution that will adapt to the developer’s digital maturity. For example, BIM – Building Information Modeling - is still far from being a standard in the industry. If you do not want to restrict the market you need to have a platform that adapts to your client’s digital maturity. Propster understood that from the beginning and offers different possibility to import their clients’ projects from a simple PDF to a BIM model. Propster’s geographical position will be key in the company’s development.Europe is a very deep market with over 681.000 projects that rises from the ground every year. Nevertheless, the countries are not all equal regarding real estate digitization. On one hand, Southern and Western Europe are quite behind and slow to adapt. On the other hand, the Nordics, DACH and Eastern Europe are transforming their approach at a higher pace. It can come from the fact that population in Eastern Europe is younger. The market will certainly not be a “winner takes it all”, but in order to become the market leader, expanding quickly throughout Europe will be key.Headquartered in Austria alongside with the team’s perfect knowledge of the regional market, we are convinced that Propster has the best position to address the Eastern and Central Europe.The promising achievements of Propster in the DACH region (which counts on its own 1/5 of the European building programs) and the United Kingdom gives us the confidence that the company has everything it takes to build a European company. By bringing AWS Gründerfonds from Austria, Pi Labs and Realty Corporation, Axeleo from France and Business Angels from the sector, Propster demonstrates that their market is booming all across Europe. With all these fairy godmothers around the cradle need to say Propster expansion should rocket across Europe.