Soho property app founder, Jonathan Lui (also Airtasker co-founder), has just raised $1.65 million.
Soho was already well capitalised from the prior round, however, the primary purpose of this round is to accelerate team growth and traction in the property market, which, as you know, is a billion-dollar industry.
The raise is being led by BridgeLane Group, whose founder and CEO, venture capitalist Markus Kahlbetzer, is also a director and a founding member of Tank Stream Ventures. BridgeLane’s portfolio covers three investment areas: agriculture, real estate and venture capital.
The fund was led by Australia based fund BridgeLane Group. After launching Soho last year, Jono received significant interest from investors, which moved the planned 2018 capital raise forward 6 months with finalised $1.65 million of commitments at the end of last year.
Sogo has signed on real estate agencies from many major brands in Australia (e.g. Ray White, McGrath, Harcourts) and Singapore (e.g. ERA, Propnex, Huttons). Over 5,000 properties and listings have been added to the platform since launch with an estimated value of over $3.5 billion.
How exactly does Soho work?
Having already co-founded one of the most successful startups in Australia, Jono used all that he learnt at Airtasker and his home selling experience to come up with a new idea – disrupting the property market. Soho is smashing the prop-tech industry, as the app that allows homebuyers and sellers to communicate, chat-like, through the app to gauge each other’s interest in purchasing/ selling property.
Homeowners/ investors can manage their home/investment properties via the management tools in Soho, which allows them to keep track of important documents and basic investment metrics such as capital gains, yields, strata fees and much more.
Buyers can search through the entire network of properties and find the exact home they’re looking for – and not just the ones available on major property listing website.
Renters can chat and apply online, and will soon be able to track their applications in real time or pay for rental bonds and rental payments online.
Agents will now have access to a whole new suite of tools to help them sell and rent homes, such as broadening out the property networks to allow for passive interest, growing their network of buyers, sellers and tenants, and managing buyer and renter interest with instant chat and more.
Why has Soho attracted this funding?
Investors from both Australia and Singapore given Soho’s presence in both markets. BrideLane have invested for Soho potential to bring a whole new dimension to the real estate market.
“One of the biggest issues we’re hearing from both owner and agents in the industry are that fees to list properties online are getting out of control. These are dramatically increasing every year and can cost thousands of dollars per property, but our view is that technology should be making things cheaper, not more expensive”, said Jonathan Lui, Soho Founder
“We’re seeing solid support for Soho as it’s not only free to list, but also has capabilities well beyond just the transaction itself. Our view is that the classifieds pay-to-list business model will phase out over the next 5 years, and we will see significant changes to the online property searching experience.”
“BridgeLane is focused on large markets such as Proptech and Fintech, where the industry has not innovative enough and there is huge potential for disruption. We feel the traditional classifieds model fails to capture and provide all the information available in the market,” Markus Kahlbetzer, BridgeLane Group
“Soho will attempt to change this and provide a more complete and meaningful picture to both buyers and sellers. We are very happy to support Jonathan again, we have backed him before with Airtasker and believe he is a talented entrepreneur with a proven track record.”
The money will be used to accelerate team growth and traction in the property market by doubling the growth of the software development team, focus on mobile & web apps and CRM integrations and accelerate market penetration by on boarding agents through CRM’s which make it easier for agents to list with Soho.
After launching Soho last year, it received significant interest from investors, which moved the planned 2018 capital raise forward 6 months with finalised $1.65 million of commitments at the end of last year.