Singapore city

APAC Realty pumps $1m into AI researcher UrbanZoom

APAC Realty, based in Singapore, has agreed a strategic collaboration with UrbanZoom, a homegrown startup that applies big data and artificial intelligence to the real estate sector, allowing all agents and customers of its franchise network to benefit from AI-driven predictive intelligence.

This is part of APAC Realty’s new Digital Lab initiative, an investment programme aimed at making it Asia’s leading digital real estate agency.

Founded in 2018 by a team of real estate professionals and data scientists with backgrounds from Stanford University, UC Berkeley and Singapore Management University, UrbanZoom uses proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse millions of data points derived from regulatory, industry and other public sources to predict the value of a residential unit.

UrbanZoom claims to be able to predict residential prices to an overall median error of less than 3%.

To date, ZoomValue, the auto-valuation tool developed by UrbanZoom, has already generated hundreds of billions of dollars of valuation searches for end consumers. UrbanAgents, a premier agent referral service, has also seen an uptake in demand with a number of client leads leading to actual transactions.

Initially developed for the Singapore residential market, UrbanZoom has plans to expand into other adjacent markets over the next few years.

As part of the collaboration, APAC Realty has entered into an agreement to invest S$1m in three-year interest-free convertible notes issued by Dots Connected Pte, the parent of UrbanZoom. The group will have the option to exercise the conversion of the notes into an equity interest in Dots Connected Pte.

Jack Chua, chief executive officer of APAC Realty, which listed in Singapore, said: “At the time of our listing, we had communicated a three-pronged strategy to create value for our investors: deepen our presence in Singapore; expand and grow our business overseas and enhance our technological abilities. We are delighted about our investment and collaboration with UrbanZoom as this headway will boost our technological capability to enhance productivity, raise professionalism and build stronger client relationships. This outcome backs up our commitment to provide up-to-date solutions to meet the everchanging needs of modern real estate salespersons and customers.

“In our journey to build up our technological capability of the firm, we believe in an eco-system approach to tap the best-of-breed solutions that are outside the companies through our Digital Lab initiative. As such, we had set aside S$5m of our IPO proceeds for this purpose. This will provide us with the flexibility to invest in promising companies that will further drive APAC Realty’s business in Singapore and the region.”

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