Proptech Startup Flow gets $4.5 Million in Funding to automate social media advertising for real estate agencies and agents.
The model used globally by millions of real estate agents and thousands of property portals to reach real estate buyers and sellers on digital channels are highly fragmented.
The Proptech (Property technology) industry hasn’t fully caught up with other industries that are using social media to make sales and convert customers.
South African proptech startup Flow wants to change this.
The startup intends to do this by changing how real estate agencies, developers and agents interact with their end customers.
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Flow uses APIs to connect with the websites of real estate agencies and property developers so it can automate the agencies’ advertising on social media channels like Instagram and Facebook.
The proptech startup automates the marketing for real estate agents and developers and works hand-in-hand with real estate websites to pull listings and automatically create ads on Facebook, Instagram and other digital channels.
Co-founders and co-CEOs Gil Sperling and Daniel Levy founded Flow in 2018 as an app that rewards tenants for early rent payments.
However, before Flow, both founders had previously built an adtech and performance marketing company called Popimedia, which was the largest buyer of Facebook media inventory in Africa for some of the world’s biggest brands.
In 2015 they sold the business to the global communications group Publicis.
Yet it was the knowledge gained while running Popimedia that the co-founders drew on to pivot Flow into its current business model ( Marketing platform for real estate agencies).
More on Flow’s $4.5 million Pre-Series A
Flow, now a proptech marketing platform announced that it has raised $4.5 million in pre-Series A funding and intends to use the funding to include other social media platforms such as TikTok and LinkedIn and other advertising channels like digital out-of-home billboards into its platform
This investment will help Flow drive its business’s B2B growth strategy and integrate Flow’s social media–driven real estate marketing platform into existing international property portals and CRM platforms.
Co-founder Sterling on a call with Techcrunch had this to say:
“With our first adtech business, we never dealt with real estate or property as we could never really service them in this country [South Africa].
And the biggest problem was that as much as real estate is the biggest asset class in the world and very valuable vertical, it is the least innovated around because it’s just highly fragmented,”
“When buying and selling homes, if you take South Africa, for example, 40,000 agents are marketing 300,000 listings at any time.
Every agent is essentially a little small business because they’re commissioners, and there’s no way that they can afford to each have a marketing, data science department, and design department like big businesses can, and that is one reason why we couldn’t conduct ads or performance marketing for many of them.”
According to Flow, its proptech marketing platform improves revenue for agents and experiences for property buyers and sellers.
Flow makes money when these agents use its SaaS platform and the startup gets a percentage cut from its marketing spend according to Co-founder Levy
Flow’s Future Outlook
He added that revenue has been growing 20% month-on-month within the past year.
“Our route to market, for the most bit, has been going door-to-door from franchisor to franchisee to different offices within that group. And over the last couple of months, we’ve identified the enterprise channel, as we call it, which is more associated with strapping on our technology to portals,” stated the co-CEO. “So our next phase of traction and growth will come from those relationships, which are significant in our world. And that’s why we’ve just gone through this capital raise to experiment with that essentially.”
Flow currently has over 300+ clients using its platform — a client being a real estate agency or developer where each office has about 15 to 20 smaller agents. So more broadly, Flow is used by nearly 6,000 agents across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius and Australia. It is in talks with partners, mainly property portals and CRM platforms, to expand into Europe (France, Germany, Belgium and the U.K.) where it’ll face stiffer competition — which the co-founders hope Flow will edge out with its technology and attention to design — but a more extensive market base.
Futuregrowth Asset Management led Flow’s pre-Series A round with $2 million. Endeavor Harvest Fund and serial entrepreneur Steven Heilbron participated, while existing investors Kalon Venture Partners, Vunani Fintech Fund and Buffet Investments also doubled down.
“We’ve keenly followed Flow’s progress in South Africa and Australia and integration into the B2B side of the global property industry as the next natural step in the company’s evolution,” says Futuregrowth Asset Management head of Private Equity and Venture Capital, Amrish Narrandes, on the investment. “We share Daniel and Gil’s vision to bring the property industry into the 21st century and know they have the expertise and experience to make it happen — and we’re pleased to be able to be part of a South African company taking bold steps that will bring much-needed change to an essential global industry.”
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