Leading global tech and finance giants boast of swanky offices in Singapore CBD, making it also a prime destination for proptech in Singapore.
The global financial center and island country of Singapore is known to be a concrete jungle and one that is highly technologically advanced. In a span of just 50 years, the beautiful and safe country Singapore has transformed itself from a third world to a first world one. The technologically advanced country is not just talking about robotics and artificial intelligence, but also of driverless cars. The government is also pushing these efforts to make Singapore a smart nation, the driving force of the proptech movement here.
This country of modern gleaming skyscrapers, tall fake trees of metal, solar panels, designer malls, shining and bustling Orchard Road and neat & tidy city streets is one of contrast. At one hand citizens enjoy many government services, on the other hand, there are restrictions on free speech and imported chewing gum. You can be walking around in the swanky streets of Clarke Quay or CBD (corporate business district) and next moment turn into a corner to find cultural gems like China Town.
But how did a 50-year-old country become so sustainable, modern and fast moving’ The quick answer is real estate. The real estate industry has played a pivotal role in this transformative change, as Singapore is now one of Asia’s leading real estate investment location, far from a swamp land that it once was. Expert management has led to a robust development of Singapore building and its city facilities, making it worthy of a prime international investment destination.
To understand the full scope of what are the opportunities available for real estate tech in Singapore, one also needs to understand how Singapore works. Think of the functioning of this country like that of a company. One of Asia’s wealthiest country without any natural resources of their own, Singapore’s government has very closely run its operations to bring it to the modern day vision of a megacity that it is. It is a very well-connected, globally aware and technologically advanced nation that is currently serving as a hotbed for external investment. This is also because Singapore provides easy access to the hot technology destinations of Southeast Asia like Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is the leading driver of the Singapore economy.
The government is also currently in the process of helping entrepreneurs set up and sustain their businesses by matching VC money that comes in these companies. In 2019, the Singapore government provided 70% of the funding in an initial investment round of S$250K for startups that improve existing technologies. Post it, the government will invest S$1 for every S$1 invested by private investors up to a cap of S$2 million. As per a report from e27, startups in Singapore continued to account for the lion’s share of regional funding after raising US$7.5b in 2018 across 189 deals.
In this real estate obsessed nation, there is no dearth of classified websites for properties that promote DIY transaction, eliminating expensive middlemen. The real estate tech in Singapore is flourishing and traditional agents can either embrace and evolve and or possibly be swept up in it. In an efficient country like Singapore, paperwork can be tedious but easy as processes are defined, making way for the younger generation to lead the DIY property sale and buy demand. Real estate tech in Singapore and the companies in proptech sector here are aiming to provide end-to-end solutions for property sellers and buyers, including management and paperwork.
The real estate market in Singapore has plenty of opportunities for gain but it is restricted to the rich few that can afford real estate investment in an expensive country like Singapore. This also means that real estate tech in Singapore has to also focus on average apartment seekers and lenders. The technologies that are doing wonders here range from virtual agents to 3D modeling and printing, use of VR and AI for virtual tours, Big Data and analytics, robotics and very evidently IoT (Internet of Things) for making a home as well as the country smart.
Proptech companies in Singapore range from crowdfunding websites to smart building firms, property search engines, market research companies, asset management companies augmented reality service providers and video analytics solution providers to track human traffic in retail malls. Some of these leading portals for real estate tech in Singapore are:
Founded in 2014, 99.co is a map-based property search engine. It utilizes smart algorithms for helping housing renters, buyers, and property agents alike a fast, transparent, and efficient property search experience in Singapore.
Hmlet is a co-living company, which offers rooms and full apartments for young working professionals at affordable rates. They cater to international talent, helping them balance their lifestyles, finances, etc. and provide a platform to connect. Hmlet was founded in 2016 in Singapore and enables individuals to come together as a community to actively collaborate and contribute to a more purposeful life. It currently has locations in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Melbourne.
Oxfordcaps was founded in 2017 and is Asia’s first branded and tech-enabled student housing company providing Student Housing product with full-stack service model. They have been merging technology and lifestyle to bring Gen Z students around the world a better living experience during their university years. “> The tech-enabled student housing company is now growing rapidly in Singapore and India across education hubs such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Dehradun, Indore, Jaipur, Greater Noida, and Ahmedabad.
Anthony Chow, Kelvin Jo, founded this startup in 2015 and Sharon Goh and manufactures security locks for residential and commercial purposes. They aim to help people manage homes and properties through technologies. Some of their key products are the igloohome Smart Keybox, a solution for short-term rental hosts and home or property owners. Then there is Smart Padlock, a remotely managed security solution that provides owners with convenient access control to their properties and assets. Igloohome sells its products through resellers and online. The company is headquartered in Singapore.
This Singapore-based startup that makes sustainable paints and advanced building materials. Since bad air quality leads to asthma, allergies, decrease in cognitive abilities and has adverse long-term health effects, Gush was created with the aim to help you take charge of your interior environment by transforming your walls, the biggest surface area around you, into a tool that purifies your air, so that your loved ones can breathe better and live better.
A very significant discussion in the real estate tech in Singapore is of Blockchain and how that changes the face of proptech here. This technology, using a coded smart contract, can help facilitate for quicker, more reliable, and cheaper transactions for homeowners and home seekers.
Any tech based company here, not just real estate tech in Singapore, will have to seek to cater to global markets and build solutions of international standards. For Singapore-by-Singapore is an ideal scenario but the sheer number of population is so less that the numbers don’t match up for sustainability.
The way forward for proptech in Singapore
An advanced country like Singapore is working towards becoming the leading destination for real estate tech and adapting these practices locally. With the government’s effort and attention towards this sector, and at making Singapore a technologically smart city, one can expect exponential growth here. Innovations are booming here with the conducive ecosystem of entrepreneurship and the good life, making sure that real estate tech in Singapore booms. The proptech revolution has long started in Singapore and the next few years will be crucial to see how advanced they can get.