PropTech dragons form new expert property innovation council

Aerial photograph of land and housing

Housing Minister Esther McVey MP met leading PropTech firms in the capital yesterday (4 November 2019) to unveil a new expert advisory council dedicated to the digital transformation of the property sector.

Visiting the Geovation offices in London on Monday morning, which hosts some of the leading tech start-ups spearheading innovation in the UK property sector, the minister met entrepreneurs to discuss how the government can help turbocharge the way in which technology is used to build and sell property across the country.

The new expert council will advise ministers on how to support and grow the sector further, which will make it easier and cheaper to plan, build and buy new homes.

Property entrepreneur Faisal Butt, founder and CEO of Pi Labs, a venture capital firm supporting others to innovate in the PropTech sector, will be the first expert to sit on the minister’s new council.

Housing Minister Esther McVey MP said:

We’re taking every advantage that new technology has to offer across the entire house building and house buying journey. Whether that’s finding a plot of land, getting planning permission, engaging the local community, getting the property built or selling or buying a house.

The people behind PropTech are using technology to make the process faster, simpler and cheaper. This new industry is digitally transforming the whole of the property sector, putting much more information at the public’s fingertips.

The new PropTech dragons will provide expert advice to government on how to make the property market work better for everyone, whether it be helping homebuyers find their dream home or helping developers find the sites they need to build.

Today’s announcement follows the minister’s industry roundtable last month where she met with the country’s leading PropTech firms who are bringing about a digital revolution in the property sector.

The minister talked about how we are opening up government information by creating a national index of brownfield sites with the Geospatial commission committing to maximising the value of the data it holds. This will help the growth of the digital economy and consolidate the UK’s position as the best place to start and grow a digital business.

To allow the UK to develop as the world-leader in PropTech, we are today announcing Faisal Butt as the first member of the advisory council. He said:

I am thrilled to be advising the Housing Ministry to achieve our common objective of helping UK Proptech start-ups thrive.

In bringing together the best and brightest minds in PropTech globally in a strategic and coordinated way, we can begin to make the UK the global epicentre of PropTech excellence I know it can be.

The government and the private PropTech sector working together will help propel PropTech start-ups to a meaningful international scale, and we think this initiative is exactly the type of fuel the UK PropTech ecosystem needs to achieve its full potential.

The UK PropTech sector, a growing industry potentially worth £6 billion in the UK, is leading the world in the property building and buying market and the sector already receives 10% of global PropTech investment.

At the event the minister met entrepreneurs, hearing their stories about building PropTech services from scratch, starting homegrown businesses and putting this growing industry on the global map. She met:

  • Babek Ismayil, founder of OneDome, an online platform which uses data to rate the attractiveness of specific neighbourhoods, and links prospective homebuyers with estate agents, mortgage brokers and conveyancers allowing them to complete transactions and prevent gazumping. The website has over 15 million-page views per month and attracted 2 million users to date.

  • Brittany Harris, co-founder and CEO of Qflow, which is using on-site data to help the construction industry be greener and more efficient, driving down costs and minimising the environmental impact of building new homes.

  • Jonny Britton, CEO and co-founder of LandTech. Employing over 60 people, they also use data to help clients find the perfect site to build new homes and go through planning, making the development process quicker and driving down the time it takes to get shovels in the ground.

  • Annette Jezierska, co-founder of The Future Fox, which helps developers and local authorities to consult effectively with proposals for new homes, using technology to get a wider range of citizens to engage in the planning system and share their feedback.

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