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APAC Realty to invest S$1m in proptech startup UrbanZoom parent Dots Connected
APAC Realty, which operates the ERA brokerage brand here and across the Asia-Pacific, has invested S$1 million in proptech startup Dots Connected via a three-year convertible note that comes with no interest. A convertible note is a form of debt that comes with an option to be converted into equity.
Dots Connected owns UrbanZoom, an artificial intelligence driven auto-valuation platform for real estate; and UrbanAgents, an agent referral service. UrbanZoom analyses data from regulatory, industry and other public sources to predict the value of a residential unit, and claims an overall median error of less than 3 per cent. It plans to expand into neighbouring markets outside Singapore in the next few years.
APAC Realty plans to use part of the S$5 million proceeds it earmarked during its initial public offering (IPO) for building up its technological capabilities - an effort the company has christened Digital Lab to invest in promising tech companies - to invest in Dots Connected.
The investment in Dots Connected is the first investment under Digital Lab.
ERA will work with Dots Connected develop "agents-facing productivity tools" through UrbanZoom and provide business leads to its agents through UrbanAgents.APAC Realty's chief executive officer Jack Chua 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 everchanging needs of modern real estate salespersons and customers."
In November 2018, ERA collaborated with Lyte Ventures to roll-out Lytepay, which allows its agents to get instant payout on their project commissions for a low flat processing fee without affecting their personal credit.
The investment is not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets per share and earnings per share of the Group for the financial year ending 31 December 2019.
APAC Realty added on Monday two Singapore cents or 3.85 per cent to close at S$0.54, before the announcement was made.