Certified real estate broker Chow Paredes recently made international headlines, when she and co-founders John Dang and Kyle Wiltshire raised $2.5 million dollars for online real estate marketplace ZipMatch. This amount is the most publicly raised by an Ideaspace Foundation portfolio company and one of the highest Series A rounds in the history of Philippine tech startups. This feat garnered Paredes and the ZipMatch team extensive press, including a feature on TechCrunch.
She believes that it is high time to do away with traditional home buying and real estate professional practices. Paredes, who worked as a real estate professional for almost a decade before founding ZipMatch and serving as its chief revenue officer, is naturally concerned with both sides of this marketplace.
The funds, which were invested by Monk’s Hill Ventures and 500 Startups, will help the company continue development of its products for prospective homebuyers as well as real estate professionals.
“To make homebuying more efficient in the Philippines, we need the best tools. Homebuyers need tools that make the process of searching and finding the right home easier, and real estate professionals need tools that help make them better in their field,” Paredes said.
Empowering real estate professionals
ZipMatch aims to improve the way Filipino real estate professionals deal with clients and offers them a “smarter” process to help connect with prospective homebuyers.
“Growing up, I remember that all my peers always wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or a businessperson, but never a real estate professional. The profession gets little respect in the eyes of the public, even though real estate professionals help people make the most important purchase they will ever make in their lifetime – that of buying a home,” Paredes said.
Paredes feels that this perception may in some ways be justified. While there are plenty of hardworking, knowledgeable real estate professionals, there are also those who know little about real estate and only wish to make a commission. It is Paredes’ goal to contribute to the professional development of all these real estate professionals – her means of accomplishing this only happens to be technology.
ZipMatch offers tools and programs for real estate professionals and real estate developers to find more prospective homebuyers and serve them more efficiently, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software designed specifically for real estate and dedicated sales training about serving online customers effectively.
These tools and training fall in line with Paredes’ broader goal of raising the professional status of her fellow real estate professionals across the Philippines.
“My hope is that our CRM will give real estate professionals a clear understanding of where each client is in the homebuying process so that they can provide them with the exact kind of help that they need, rather than just trying to hard sell them with the properties in their portfolio,” Paredes said.
To Paredes’ credit, real estate professionals seem to be responding to her vision. Real estate professionals have been signing up for ZipMatch’s services at an exponential rate, such that the company is experiencing 525% YoY growth.
Real estate professionals have expressed particular enthusiasm for how ZipMatch helps them focus on what they do best: sell. It thus gives them a competitive advantage over real estate professionals who choose to stick to traditional means of salesmanship.
“You can really get clients through ZipMatch. The company makes your life as a real estate professional easier because they filter the prospective clients before turning them over to you. You know their budget, where they want to live, and other pertinent details before ever dealing with them. Because of this knowledge, it’s infinitely easier to talk to them. You will never want to make cold calls again,” said David Andrew Wong, a real estate professional from Alveo.
To date, ZipMatch is working with a wide variety of sales teams, including DMCI, SMDC, MegaWorld, Alveo, Rockwell Primaries, and AnchorLand.
Simplifying the home search
ZipMatch, of course, also serves the other end of the marketplace: homebuyers.
“If we give homebuyers the tools they need to find the right home, the job of the real estate professional becomes much easier. Their role will evolve from an information clearinghouse to the smart guide,” Paredes said.
To be more specific, ZipMatch presents an array of services that eliminates most of the online research and physical work done when searching for a property. For one, the startup has been collecting and curating pertinent information about a property, which is accessible by homebuyers in a single, interactive page. These property pages include overviews, available listings and photos, virtual 360 tours, property scout and user reviews, and other significant details.