Dominic Grace, former head of London Residential Development at Savills, has joined Austrian startup Propster months after it launched its UK business.
Grace, who worked at Savills for 37 years, was appointed special adviser to guide the company amid its UK expansion.
Having recently raised €3m in seed+ funding, Propster aims to digitise the property buying process, moving a property developer’s relationship with their customers online.
Propster offers developers a platform where they can sell properties digitally and carry out all of their communication and document sharing with customers in one place.
A 3D configurator on the platform allows buyers to customise their homes before a purchase, choosing fit-outs or adding and changing fixtures and furnishings.
Propster launched in the UK earlier this year, focusing initially on off-plan residential developments.
Grace, whom the team met when the startup took part in the 2020 Pi Labs accelerator programme, will help the product expand in the UK, bringing with him decades of local industry experience and contacts.
Milan Zahradnik, founder and CEO of Propster, said he is “super happy” with the appointment, which will also help the company to integrate into the UK property and startup scenes, adding: “We want to be seen as a UK startup, as somebody who’s located in the UK.”
Propster’s UK expansion looks to tap into a growth in off-plan residential sales, revamping how developers sell to customers.
The product itself is a white label B2B piece of software, which means users can customise it to match their branding and customers won’t know they’re using Propster when they are purchasing a home.
For developers, Propster aims to increase and speed up sales – partly by allowing buyers to visualise and customise a 3D version of a potential new home – and introduce new revenue streams.
The product, Zahradnik said, increases the possibility of reaching overseas investors (since everything happens online), while the in-built configurator can enable a developer to offer services it would not previously have offered.
Zahradnik said: “There is a huge opportunity for the industry if you focus a little bit more on your customers.”
Because there can be a long period between buying and moving into an off-plan home, Propster can also facilitate other services customers might need to sort out, including home insurance or broadband. By combining everything in one place, Zahradnik envisages customers using the platform far beyond the point of sale.
Although its initial focus is on residential developments, Propster plans to move into UK commercial property, as it already has in the DACH region where it started in 2017.
Zahradnik’s aspirations are wide-reaching. “Everywhere you have to deal with buyers, tenants, investors, Propster is the right product for you,” he said. “Our main goal is to be the main platform for property developments when it comes to dealing with customers.”
In total, the startup has 90 clients with more than 200 projects and 15,000 users across Europe. The company plans to pursue a Series A funding round next year and has its sights set on building “the next proptech unicorn”.
Grace said: “Propster’s platform adds real value to the improvement of customer centric digitisation of the buying process, with a proven track record across various European markets, where it currently increases off-plan sales by up to 45%. Entering the UK market is a natural step for Propster and I’m very pleased to be a part of this next stage of their journey.”