API platform connecting real estate agents and social media users leverages significant growth on the continent to target global property market
Flow, a proptech startup that enables real estate agents and developers to seamlessly advertise properties on social media, has announced that following consolidated growth in South Africa the company is launching in Australia.
Flow’s move comes at a time when African proptechs are building scalable solutions with application beyond the continent more frequently than ever before, with strong reception from global markets seeing the viability of home-grown African businesses. Boasting 90,000 agents and a housing market value of $9 trillion, Australia offers a latent opportunity for Flow to change the way that people find places to live and work.
Launched in 2019, Flow matches people with property on the largest social platforms in the world (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) by automating rental and seller listings, and driving pre-assessed leads straight to the phones of estate agents and landlords. Having achieved consistent 30% MoM growth since launch and secured $2.4m backing from CRE Venture Capital, Kalon Venture Partners and Vunani Capital during 2018 and 2019, Flow is now used by 4,500 South African estate agents, which represents 10% of the country’s agents.
The phenomenon of using social media to sell and rent properties is a recent one, and 9 million South African buyers and tenants have been reached via Flow about agency brands and property listings in the past year, which is 40% of all Facebook and Instagram users in the country. Flow’s proprietary data shows a 10x increase in the use of social media to sell property over the last 12 months, and the company is targeting this trend while building a global solution for a global opportunity within a property industry that is relatively undisrupted to date.
An uptick in buyers and renters searching for and finding property on digital channels coincides with the recent acceleration in the proptech vertical. Having previously lagged, in part due to an archaic property industry, more and more startups are bridging the gap between analogue processes and the hyper-connected world that we are used to. With 26 million South Africans and 17 million Australians using Facebook & Instagram, Flow is leveraging an enormous online community and is part of this wider proptech surge as the company delivers trust during the discovery stage of buying or renting a house.
“Surprisingly for such a progressive economy, Australia’s real estate industry suffers from similar dynamics and transformations that are happening to real estate markets like South Africa,” said Gil Sperling, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Flow. “By rolling out Flow in Australia we’re grabbing the collar of an industry dragging its heels to propel it into the 21st century. Such a high percentage of people have one form of social media or another, so real estate agents and property developers really can’t afford to miss out on reaching that audience directly in an efficient way.”
Daniel Levy, Co-Founder and Co-CEO added, “We put in a huge amount of research before committing to the expansion and we’ve had super positive results during the testing period. Our tech was always designed for savvy agents and developers who are experts in their chosen areas, no matter whether that’s in Africa or elsewhere around the world. We’re launching in Australia with a distribution partner and actively looking at other markets where we can follow suit with a similar approach.”
As the company begins to increase its global footprint, integrations with Australian real estate CRMs AgentBox and Box+Dice will provide Flow access to 6,300 Australian estate agent offices, along with a partnership with real estate management proptech MRI Software.
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