Before we dive further in, let’s try to explain what proptech actually means.
Proptech, as any new disruptive tech, doesn’t have one, official definition. It’s an umbrella term for new technologies adapted in the property industry which are fueling the larger digital transformation of the real estate sector.
The type of technologies offered by different companies might vary. Generally, company profiles can be broken up into four categories:
Companies aggregating and offering access to property data.
Companies that use technology to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of different operations (like renting, selling, etc.).
IoT-supported properties are getting more and more popular on account of being comfortable and eco-friendly.
Peer-to-peer business models are on the rise in the property sector. Take Airbnb, for example!
So, what’s happening in this booming sector at the moment? According to Unissu, total global proptech funding for 2019 was $13.85 billion, raised across 726 funding events.
The UK is the leader among European countries when it comes to the total amount of proptech funding, leaving the rest of the continent in the dust. As of June 2019, “over $5bn was invested in 805 UK proptech companies, five times more than Germany.”
According to the recent Oxford report, we are now about to enter the third wave of proptech. The massive rise of startups that drove proptech 2.0 might be coming to an end, but the cash is still flowing while the sector is reaching stability and maturity.
What will proptech 3.0 look like? It “will probably be driven by the global pressures of climate change and rapid urbanization and enabled through the maturing of exogenous technologies including the Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.”
There is another important lesson we can learn from the report. According to the authors, the most successful proptech ventures will be those that “produce and extract value from data.” Not only will their services be needed, but they’ll also be the safest bets for the investors!
This trend is definitely visible on our list of top 10 UK proptech businesses, all of which are heavily data-driven.
Bricklane is a property investment platform that enables its customers to invest in residential property from as little as £100 to £100+ million. According to the company’s CEO, Simon Heawood, “residential property is the UK’s most important asset class.” The company’s mission is to make tapping into this attractive market more accessible, while at the same time improving the rental market for renters.
With its data-driven approach, Bricklane delivers tax-efficient and strong returns.
According to Crunchbase, Bricklane has raised over £6M in funding, with £4.7M raised in the latest investment round led by A/O Proptech and DMG Ventures. Other investors include LocalGlobe and Zoopla.
The company puts a lot of emphasis on data. Based on the current job postings (as of March 2020), the company uses Python for the backend, as well as the Postgres database and AWS cloud computing service. Developers at Bricklane are required to have “knowledge of React and Typescript (or equivalent), a modern web framework (Python/Flask) and CSS frameworks (such as Bootstrap and Blueprint).”
Flatfair is a British deposit alternative, with a mission to fix the UK’s residential lettings model. As their website states, the company combines “the most effective government deposit schemes with smart technology to make renting more affordable for tenants, more profitable for landlords and more efficient for agents and institutions.”
What does it mean in practice? Tenants are able to pay a membership fee instead of a deposit, and landlords can double the protection on charges. For agents, flatfair offers a hassle-free property letting process.
Flatfair has already received a number of awards, both as a successful business and a great employer. In August 2019, the company raised $11M in Series A led by Index Ventures. According to CrunchBase, its total funding amount is now $13.2M.
According to their job offers, the flatfair platform uses mostly Vue.js on the frontend and a mixture of Python and Node on the backend. They also use CircleCI, Terraform, AWS Lambda, and PostgreSQL.
The name of this startup says it all—it’s an app dedicated to helping you find the perfect person to live with, whether you’re looking to rent a room or sublet one. How do they do that? Apart from listing your preferences concerning the location, price, conditions, etc., the website also asks you to take the Matching Test.
The Ideal Flatmate app has both a web and mobile version. Their mission is to help their customers make the most out of apartment renting while helping people find the best place to live and build a community.
According to Crunchbase, Ideal Flatmate now has the total funding amount of £2.2M, having closed the funding round of £1.1M via equity crowdfunding by the end of 2019.
According to LinkedIn, the company stack now “comprises a PHP web application hosted on AWS.” It also works with MySQL, yii 2.0, as well as HTML and CSS. The company has also hired data scientists who were required to have experience in statistical modeling in Python/R or similar and interacting with databases using SQL.
Operating between proptech and fintech, Landbay is a “specialist marketplace lending platform for prime residential buy-to-let mortgages, combining market expertise with technological innovation, to benefit both investors and landlords.” It used to cater to retail peer-to-peer lenders as well, but that part of the business has closed due to unfavorable market conditions.
Landbay has won many prestigious titles. For example, it was listed 20th in the Deloitte Fast 50 ranking in 2018, while in 2019, it was named Best Buy-to-Let Lender of the Year, Best Specialist Lender, and more.
According to Crunchbase, the total funding amount for Landbay is now $1.6B, the company scored €1.1B debt financing in July 2019.
Landtech’s mission is to provide the property industry with the tools they need to facilitate their daily operations.
Their current portfolio of products consists of:
Landtech has won many prestigious awards from PlaceTech, UKPA (UK Proptech Association), SaaS Growth, and more.
LandTech has raised a total of $678.9K in funding over 3 rounds, their newest round dating to January 27, 2020.
According to the job offers, LandTech’s current tech stack includes Node.js (Vue.js & React), Python, Shell Scripts, data stores such as Mongo, Postgres and ElasticSearch, CI and some CD via CircleCI, AWS, and Kubernetes Cluster.
Lavanda is a SaaS platform whose mission is to combine real estate, hospitality, and travel industries. Whether you’re dealing with residential assets, student housing, serviced apartments, or property management, Lavanda’s products are here to help you.
Currently, over 10,000 units are managed on the Lavanda platform. Their customers include JLL, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Savills, LaSalle, Long Harbour, and Europa Capital.
Lavanda has a total funding amount of $8.3M, with $5M raised in Series A lead by Henley.
Nested is “the only estate agent that manages your sale, purchase, and chain in one place.”
The company aims to make the selling and moving process less stressful by breaking the chain. Their customers can buy homes while their old ones still haven't been sold, as they are offered a cash advance (of up to 97% of the sale price).
Nested still offers the help of estate agents, as well as access to an app monitoring the selling progress 24/7. They also have tools for home valuation or market reporting available.
According to AngelList, Nested raised a total of $47.9M.
Nested is a data-driven company. According to their job offers, their tech stack includes Python and SQL, and they also use Jupyter Notebook.
Plentific’s mission is to “connect landlords and property managers with local trade professionals for a range of repairs and maintenance jobs.”
With the use of the Plentific platform, landlords can manage property portfolios easier, offer better tenant services, and receive better maintenance and repairs. Trade professionals can get access to “exclusive jobs, faster payments and a platform to manage [their] business.”
Investors include A/O Proptech, PiLAbs, Target Global, and RHV.
According to CrunchBase, their current total funding amount is $41M. In November 2019, the company raised $32M in Series A, led by A/O Proptech.
As the website proudly announces, the Plentific platform is built on Python 3 and Django, with React on the frontend, and hosted on Amazon AWS. According to their job offers and G2 Stack, the rest of their tech stack includes PostgreSQL, PostGIS, AWS, Amazon Redshift, Kubernetes, Docker, Redis, Celery, Pandas, Numpy, Scrapy, Git with Zenhub, Jenkins, Elasticsearch, Logstash, and lots of raw SQL for analytics.
The mission of Realyse is to provide valuable data to the UK’s residential property professionals. Their areas of expertise are “smart technology, real estate expertise, and independently sourced data.”
Their products help developers and investors maximize value with access to relevant data, minimize risk for the landlords, and enable consultants to successfully advise their clients. All the data is stored in one place, easy to analyze and carefully validated.
The current total funding amount is £3.5M. The investors include XTX Markets, Anthemis Group, Quivira Capital, PiLabs, and Round Hill Capital.
According to their job offers and G2 Stack, the tech stack of Realyse includes Go, Scala, Java, Python/Ruby for scripting, as well as Postgres and PostGIS, Docker, AWS, and Spark.
Residently’s mission is to fix the renting process by granting renters a stress-free experience, allowing them to feel at home even in a property they don’t own.
The Residently platform allows renters to easily search for houses and apartments, as well as sign formalities without paper documentation. They provide flexibility when it comes to moving in and out, and some extra perks (like a welcome pack or ready-to-use WiFi) to make the whole experience even more pleasant.
They also offer flat-owners help in renting out their properties with low commissions to responsible owners.
Residently has a total funding amount of £9.5M. In August 2019, they raised £7M in a seed round led by A/O Proptech, Felix Capital, and LocalGlobe.
This is just an introduction to the vibrant UK proptech scene and by no means a definitive list. There is a bright future ahead of proptech, as the interest of investors, real estate professionals, and customers keeps on rising.
As our short list shows, proptech, at least in the UK, is strongly data driven. Python, being the perfect language for data science, is therefore quite widely used—even if it’s not the backbone of the products and platforms, it comes in handy in data science-related jobs. What’s more, our proptech clients have already been harnessing its power for quite some time!
If you’d like to know which other industries rely on Python, feel free to check out these resources:
And if you’re involved in proptech and would like to find out how to make your tech stack even more cutting-edge in this pretty competitive landscape, take a look at what we can do for you.