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Tech startups have the ability to charge the value chain of several industries. With the presence of smartphones, information asymmetry is reduced considerably. Consumers now have the most up-to-date information available and thus, can make informed decisions. This removes the requirement for middlemen that were integral to the value chains of many industries. Further, the customer feedback cycle is now very prompt allowing companies to modify their products and services to ever-changing customer preferences.

The real estate industry connects multiple sides of our life. As the Managing Director at Estater, a unique real estate firm providing real estate market intelligence, I have learned about the real estate industry across the GCC.

Builders develop residential properties that are bought by families to live in. Commercial properties are developed for professional workspaces; retail properties are developed where we all love to shop and entertain ourselves. Technology startups can find multiple ideas here that can tremendously alter the way business is conducted and thereby create a lot of value for themselves.

Here are some ways tech startups can contribute to real estate: 

  • Property searches: They have been made easy by myriads of property listing portals. However, a customer looks for additional information on neighborhoods, connectivity, and infrastructure before making a buying decision. These can be added here to create an evolved property listing portal. 
  • Property assets need regular maintenance and upkeep. Numerous studies show that the well-maintained properties generate higher returns and occupancy for their owners. A technology startup that can simplify the complex process of property maintenance and connect different service providers can find good traction in the market. 
  • Service provider industries: These are architects, project management companies, cost consultants, quantity surveyors, etc. Before any project starts construction, several months are taken by these service providers to complete their job. This time period can be reduced through a clever application of technology. This will save precious time for property developers thereby generating considerable savings. 
  • Content is the key to sustainable advantage: Rich content in the core area of focus can ensure that the customers stay with a new application. Thus, when planning a new start up, the focus should be how to create good content.  
  • Cost and time efficiency: An activity integral to any business’s value chain can be done in lower-cost, lesser time or both. In such cases, the speed of implementation and market reach become critical factors for success. The faster the application can be introduced in the whole market and the wider audience it collects to ensure that the startup becomes successful. 

In all such ideas, the key factor to remember by any technology entrepreneur is what is the “unique selling proposition” that he/she brings to the table. Developing an application has now become a “low-cost affair” and it can be completed with ten to twenty thousand dollars. Thus, just having an application will not give sufficient advantage to any new venture. It can be copied by anyone in no time and thus is not a sustainable advantage.

In summary, real estate offers tremendous opportunities for technology startups. The industry remains one of the least efficient industries when it comes to the time it takes to complete every activity. Information flow remains highly fragmented and consumer feedback is still not reaching property developers on time. There is a pressing need for good content and clever technology ideas in this industry.