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Chesterman recalled: “We were confident that we could differentiate our proposition by solving a key consumer need around transparency in the property space.” The firm initially provided historic sold house prices across the UK and now has a database of over 20m, while it developed algorithms to value all 28m residential abodes nationwide. From there, Zoopla added property search, but included various features that weren’t offered by rivals. Of course, the launch took place during the recession, but Chesterman explained its offering, combined with the economic climate, allowed it to achieve growth.
“The difficult market conditions played to our strengths as consumers wanted more useful data and information and advertisers wanted more effective marketing and data solutions,” he detailed. Believing tech in the property space has been transformative, he said that estate agents can’t afford to bury heads in the sand. “Change is inevitable and more so over the past decade than at any time in recent history as a result of first the web and then mobile,” Chesterman said. He noted that there are some that remain resistant and believe the old method of newspaper ads are the answer to achieve sales, but that is indeed a minority as over 70 per cent of UK estate agents work with Zoopla. As such, the company’s websites boast over 40m visits a month. “Those who don’t use us are operating at a significant disadvantage and are not serving their customers, the homeowner, well as they are unlikely to get the best outcome in any transaction,” he added. Zoopla’s revenue increased by a third in 2015 and Chesterman put that down to a strategy of audience and service growth, which included the acquisition of uSwitch. Looking ahead, he said that brand and product investment will remain a key component of the ambition to scale. “We have a great team and by continuing to hire great talent and investing in new areas, both our internal product developments and our partnerships will ensure that we continue to lead the way in terms of innovation across the property space,” he said.
Continue reading on the next page as we observe three proptech players that have different agendas, with one out to conquer, one blurring the lines and one hoping for harmonious collaboration – all with different innovations.By Zen Terrelonge
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