6 min read

Daily Markup #127: Property media company 99 Group expands its portfolio with the acquisition of…

500 Southeast Asia Team



Proptech expansion

  • 99 Group, the property media company operating 500-backed 99.co, iProperty.com.sg, and Rumah123.com, has announced the acquisition of Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), a real estate data provider based in Singapore, in reports today.
  • Under the acquisition, 99 will absorb all shares in StreetSine Singapore Pte Ltd, the operator of SRX.
  • Through the deal, SRX will collate and aggregate data and information from across the property industry to help 99 Group create a wider pool of listings for its users.
  • Some of SRX’s data mining tools include its AI algorithm X-Value, which provides instant estimates of property value, and the Analyzer and Home Report applications.
Credit: Vulcan Post
  • Darius Cheung, CEO of 99 Group said, “Reliable property data is especially important as property hunting continues to shift online even though physical viewings are now allowed again, suggesting a lasting change in consumer behavior. The real estate industry needs to digitalize accordingly to meet evolving consumer needs.”
  • “SRX’s best-in-class data capabilities are a natural fit for our platform that increasingly emphasizes the quality of listings and content so that users receive trustworthy information,” he added.
  • 99 Group has been doubling its tech stack in recent months as property viewings and roadshows shift online due to the pandemic. In September, the company said it was hiring 100 additional tech staff in the next 12 months to bolster its tech and engineering teams.
  • Last October, 99 acquired iProperty.com.sg in Singapore and Rumah123.com in Indonesia. Both sites were previously under REA Group, the Australia-based property media conglomerate.

Pay with Split

  • “I literally told them to buy their own flight with my credit card and they could pay me back over 3 months,”
  • This was CEO and co-founder of 500-backed Split, Dylan Tan’s lightbulb moment to create the fintech, which uses a “buy-now-pay-later” model.
  • Split started out offering flexible payment options to buy flights. But with the pandemic shuttering airports and halting flights globally, the team was at wit’s end. They had to pivot.
  • “Vish [Dylan’s co-founder] and I looked at each other and said ‘we’re screwed’ because travel had dried up and Malaysians were now spending on stuff they could buy online to use at home,” Dylan told Vulcan Post.
Credit: Split
  • So they did what startups do best — hustle. In a week, they pivoted and a new version of Split to work on e-commerce sites was up and running.
  • The premise is simple: Allow online stores to offer interest-free installment payments to customers, even those without a credit card.
  • The monies are automatically deducted from a user’s bank account. Ensuring payments are made on time, Split sends out reminders via SMS and/or email before the installment due dates.
  • In return, Split takes a cut of around 10% from partner stores’ monthly sales.
  • Dylan admitted that not everyone who signs up for the service is approved. Split uses its own software to predict an applicant’s repayment history with data and information procured from partner stores or third parties.
  • “I like to joke that when we first started we were like Oprah on a Christmas special giving out installment plans to everyone,” said Dylan.
  • Since April 2020, Split has garnered more than RM6 million in sales and has partnered with over 150 brands.
  • Looking beyond e-commerce, Dylan said Split also works on social media, chat apps, email platforms, and more.
  • Read Split’s full interview on Vulcan Post here.

Automated drones

  • A leader in global drone tech, 500-backed Aerodyne’s latest expansion will see its Japanese outpost working with Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory (ACSL), a Tokyo-based leading manufacturer of autonomous industrial drones to create a new range of drones that don’t require human operations.
  • The Level 4 autonomous flying standard, as it’s called, will allow drones to fly commercially without human intervention, according to Digital News Asia.
  • To start, ACSL’s industrial drone platforms will undergo a stringent 1,000-hour safety and reliability test. The data from these tests will serve as a benchmark for risk evaluation.
Credit: sUAS News
  • “The disruptive digital technologies associated with Industry 4.0, such as robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, are poised to drive unprecedented productivity increases across ASEAN businesses. We are thrilled to be pushing the boundaries for commercial drone applications in this market with our partner ACSL,” said Kamarul A Muhamed, Aerodyne Group Founder, and Group CEO.
  • This partnership comes at the heels of Aerodyne’s collaborations in Canada, the UK, Middle East, and North America.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Southeast Asia family of funds. The 500 Southeast Asia funds have backed over 240 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

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500 Southeast Asia Team