Pic: ZipMatch

Philippines real estate startup Zipmatch seeks to ride country’s property boom

A PROPERTY boom and a seller’s market in real estate make for a good recipe for success for technology startups seeking to capitalize on the Philippines’ economic growth. ZipMatch, a platform that uses data-driven technologies to match buyers and sellers, recently raised a Series A funding round to increase traction, and potentially expand to more Asian cities.

Founded in 2013, ZipMatch initially mirrored most other realty platforms, offering listings and location-based search functionality. The service then focused on more targeted means to reach customers, first through partnering with sellers, realty companies, property developers and financing institutions, and then by offering immersive virtual experiences to customers.

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Data drives better-quality leads

The company’s technology enables sellers to properly match their offerings with pre-qualified buyers, which streamlines the lead generation process. Meanwhile, ZipMatch’s curated virtual property tours give potential buyers a better feel of the properties for sale, before making an actual visit (and sometimes even before the property is constructed, as in the case of condominium projects).

virtualtourLast week, ZipMatch announced the new capital infusion led by Kickstart Ventures, a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom, as well as Silicon Valley-based Monk’s Hill Ventures. The company has not disclosed the amount of funding secured, although it raised at least US$2.5 million in an earlier Series A funding round likewise led by Monk’s Hill with 500 Startups.

ZipMatch co-founder Chow Paredes stresses how the platform helps establish trust within the community, which helps facilitate the transactions. “ZipMatch’s strength lies within our community of home seekers. It is a community built on trust. Thus, we want to provide them with reliable information and  tools that will take them one step closer into owning or renting a home that is just right for them.”

Meanwhile, Kickstart president Minette Navarrete lauded ZipMatch’s deep understanding of the property market from both the buyer’s and the real estate professional’s perspectives.

“As a venture capitalist with sharp focus around digital, Kickstart believes that the team has the necessary balance of platform and tech, data analytics, and human touch: making the home search process much more efficient, while also providing great real-life support where it counts.”

Property boom, but no bubble yet

According to the Central Bank of the Philippines, the real estate market is currently in a boom, with property prices consistently growing at an average rate of 9.2 percent annually. Condominiums – especially developments in urban areas – are fastest risers, with 12.9 year-on-year growth as of first quarter of this year.

BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo told CNN Philippines that the monetary authority is keeping a close eye on property prices, to watch out for a potential property bubble which could echo the situation during the 1997 Asian financial crises and the 2008 global financial crisis. The BSP notes, however, that the rise in property prices is in line with economic growth and consumer optimism, which means the underlying values represent actual demand for properties. Real estate developers also affirm this, with reportedly low residency and move-in rates.

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The takeaway

The lucrative property market in the Philippines is one sign that citizens are starting to enjoy and partake of the country’s newfound economic growth. With data-driven technologies in matching buyers with sellers, ZipMatch helps people find and acquire the home of their dreams in a lucrative, but often confusing, market.





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