APAC Realty Limited ("APAC Realty", the "Company" or together with its subsidiaries, the "Group") today announced a strategic collaboration with UrbanZoom, a homegrown start-up that applies big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to the real estate sector, allowing all agents and customers of ERA Realty Network to benefit from AI-driven predictive intelligence. This is part of the company's new Digital Lab initiative, an investment programme aimed at making it Asia's leading digital real estate agency.
Founded in 2018 by a team of real estate professionals and data scientists with backgrounds from Stanford University, UC Berkeley and Singapore Management University, UrbanZoom utilises a proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm to analyse millions of data points derived from regulatory, industry and other public sources to predict the value of a residential unit. Underpinned by cutting-edge Proptech technologies, UrbanZoom yields highly accurate residential price predictions, with an overall median error of less than 3%.
To-date, ZoomValue, the auto-valuation tool developed by UrbanZoom, has already generated hundreds of billion dollars' worth of valuation searches for end consumers. UrbanAgents, a premier agent referral service, has also seen an uptake in demand with a number of clients leads leading to actual transactions. Going forward, ERA looks to partner closely with UrbanAgents in providing quality business leads to its agents while developing agents-facing productivity tools with UrbanZoom. Initially developed for the Singapore residential market, UrbanZoom has plans to expand into other adjacent markets over the next few years.
As part of the collaboration, APAC Realty has entered into an agreement to invest S$1 million in 3-year interest-free convertible notes issued by Dots Connected Pte. Ltd. The Group will have the option to exercise the conversion of the notes into an equity interest in Dots Connected Pte Ltd.
Mr Jack Chua, Chief Executive Officer of APAC Realty said: "At the time of our listing, we had communicated a three-pronged strategy to create value for our investors: deepen our presence in Singapore; expand and grow our business overseas and enhance our technological abilities. We are delighted about our investment and collaboration with UrbanZoom as this headway will boost our technological capability to enhance productivity, raise professionalism and build stronger client relationships. This outcome backs up our commitment to provide up-to-date solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of modern real estate salespersons and customers.
"In our journey to build up our technological capability of the firm, we believe in an ecosystem approach to tap the best-of-breed solutions that are outside the companies through our Digital Lab initiative. As such, we had set aside S$5 million of our IPO proceeds for this purpose. This will provide us with the flexibility to invest in promising companies that will further drive APAC Realty's business in Singapore and the region."
A Confluence of Technology and Innovation
ERA continues to invest in technology, innovation and enterprise to stay at the forefront of the real estate industry. In November 2018, ERA collaborated with Lyte Ventures to roll-out Lytepay, an instant commission advance service for its agents. LytePay allows ERA agents to get an instant payout on their project commissions for a low flat processing fee without affecting their personal credit. This benefits agents to manage their personal finance and provide a more predictable cash flow. It also helps to unlock their working capital and empowers them to invest in their business needs such as marketing and training expenses. To-date, hundreds of agents have signed up for the service.
In addition to Urbanzoom and Lyte Ventures, ERA is exploring possible investments and partnerships with other promising technology companies that can enhance their business.