They say that third time’s the charm.
Ng Say Joe’s hoping that’ll be the case. But judging by how his previous startups, iBilik and Propwall, saw success as individual platforms dealing with the local property scene and were both sold at a total of RM13.5 million to Star Publication, he might not have to fear much.
After selling his ventures, Joe remained in the property industry.
He was saddened to see little improvements when it came to giving the right solutions to seeking home owners.
It wasn’t just based on his own perception; other property agents chimed in with their dissatisfaction too.
“Services like iProperty & PropertyGuru keep increasing their subscription fee while iBilik is full of duplicated and low quality room listings ever since I left. So I started Land+ as a solution for both property owners & agents with no cost,” said Joe.
Land+ is essentially a real estate search engine for people to find property in Malaysia and Singapore easily through the use of advanced map navigation and machine learning algorithms. Think of it as a single platform for you to find all available property in one marketplace at a real-time basis.
It’s not exactly a new groundbreaking service but Joe never claimed it to be one. He did highlight the few differences that separates Land+ from its competitors.
- Targeting direct owners to list their properties for no price.
Some platforms may require people to be an agent or pay an annual subscription fee before they can post their property listings but Land+ lets anyone do so for free. A bonus for those seeking a new marketplace to broaden their listings.
- Bringing a “Pokemon Go” element into their app.
Yes, you read right. When you boot up their app, you’ll see their main navigation interface is done in the form of a map. So you could roam around the area you’re interested in and watch the app update you on what properties are nearby.
“I studied the elements that made Pokemon Go so addictive. It incorporated augmented reality into the phone map, which made people somewhat feel like treasure hunting in the real world,” said Joe.
“I wanted to rethink real estate in the era of smartphone that’s not possible with a computer browser.”
- Marketing it as an all-in-one platform.
Rather than focusing on a niche, Joe wants Land+ to be a platform that combines auctions, properties and rooms, which the latter is usually ignored.
“Since I also founded iBilik, one of Malaysia’s leading room rental websites, I realise the importance of sublets,” added Joe.
It’s not just the type of properties. Land+ doesn’t split according to countries, as Joe prefers to combine all countries on a single unified platform, following the likes of Airbnb, Agoda and Uber.
And it’s all done on an app, which isn’t as common as we thought.
You would think most property platforms in Malaysia would want their own app, seeing as how dependent we are on our smartphones nowadays.
After a quick search, we found only one other prominent proptech platform that also has an accompanying mobile app.
“We want to be seen as a fast and efficient mobile-first real estate platform rather than some old and clunky website from the Dotcom 1.0 era where users have to print, sign and scan a registration form and wait for 3 days for approval.”
“With Land+, users can start listing their properties immediately right after installing our app,” said Joe.
“It is a huge risk, but wasn’t it riskier before?”
He sees bright things for Land+ in 2018 where he hopes to roll out more interesting and novel features for the app while also potentially expanding to more countries.
The idea isn’t necessarily fresh but Joe’s planning on investing RM1 million of his own funds into the startup which says a lot on how idealistic he is on Land+.
The platform’s surrounded by goliaths that dominate the top hits for Google property searches but this isn’t the first time Joe’s placing his bets on a risky thing.
He reminisced back in 2009 when he only had RM200k in his bank, after leaving his 5-figure salary job for his first startup.
“I had also just gotten married and it was right after the Great Recession here so the risks were higher. Compared to now, even if I lost all my RM1 million investment, I’m still better off than when I first started in 2009,” said Joe.
- Land+ is the newest property tech venture from the founder of iBilik and Propwall.
- After selling his startups to Star Publication, Ng Say Joe was bothered by the lack of innovation and improvement in the local proptech scene.
- This led him to build Land+ as a fast and efficient mobile-first real estate platform for Malaysians and Singaporeans to find property.