In Switzerland, proptech companies and their partners are embracing ecosystem business models, believing that open, multilateral cooperation arrangements will allow them to improve the impact of their products and allow them to generate more revenue, a new study by Credit Suisse found.
Credit Suisse’s annual Swiss Proptech Report, released on June 21, 2022, looks at the state of the domestic proptech industry, sharing findings of a survey of the sector’s players on their ambitions and market sentiment to get a sense of their current priorities and challenges.
The report puts a focus on the rise of ecosystems, arguing that Swiss proptech companies are actively pursuing this form of collaboration, following on trends observed in other countries and industries. Multilateral forms of cooperation in the real estate sector are gaining traction in Germany, the report points out, and the trend is projected to generate revenues approaching US$3.8 trillion globally by 2025, McKinsey estimates.
These developments are among the driving forces that have contributed to the Swiss proptech market’s adoption of ecosystem business models. In 2021, almost 70% of the proptech companies polled by Credit Suisse cited “establishing an ecosystem” as one of the key drivers of cooperation, showcasing that building up extensive ecosystems have become a critical strategic priority for Swiss proptech companies.
The concept of ecosystems has been around for decades, but it only started becoming popular in the real estate market over the last couple years, the report notes.
This evolution is evidenced by the surge in the usage of the term “ecosystem” in annual reports from the fields of real estate, banking and insurance. In 2017, “ecosystem” appeared in less than half of the annual reports studied, a figure that surged to 80% in 2021, an analysis by Credit Suisse found.
This shows that ecosystems are becoming a trend among both proptech startups and their partners, the bank says.
In 2022, the Credit Suisse survey found that although not all proptech companies are part of an ecosystem, they all aspire to be in one in the long run. Of the proptech companies polled, 46% of respondents said that they already belong to an established ecosystem, while an additional 26% are part of an emerging ecosystem. Meanwhile, some 28% of proptechs plan to be part of an ecosystem in future.
Swiss proptech ecosystems
Credit Suisse has identified at least 14 proptech ecosystems in the country. These were established by both incumbent firms like insurers Swiss Life and Baloise, and banking groups UBS and Raffeisen, as well as younger tech-enabled ventures like Allthings Technologies and Flatfox.
Basel-headquartered Allthings Technologies operates a tenant management platform designed to simplify and enhance the communication between owners, property managers and residents. The platform also integrates with third-party services, enabling clients and users to connect through a digital ecosystem of nearly 50 service providers.
Flatfox, a company founded in 2012 and based in Zurich, provides a digital real estate marketplace for private and business customers. For corporate customers such as property management companies, Flatfox also offers software that digitalizes the whole process of renting an apartment, and further provides services such as scheduling flat viewings, filling out forms and keeping track of all potential tenants or available apartments. Flatfox’ clients and partners include Adimmo, Allianz, Helvetia, Steinauer Immobilien, and Viva Real.
Proptech startup Houzy is developing a comprehensive platform for homeowners in Switzerland. The company offers an open ecosystem that integrates user-friendly online tools such as the property valuation, the renewal fund calculator and the plant manager and brings homeowners and craftsmen together with one click. Its network counts over 700 partners of qualified craftsmen and realtors.
UBS and Baloise, meanwhile, have joined hands to develop the Home & Living ecosystem, combining their capabilities and platforms, including UBS’ mortgage brokerage platforms Atrium and key4, and Baloise’s Home initiatives, to address property owners’ needs regarding financing, insurance and maintenance.
Similarly, Mobiliar and Raiffeisen are collaborating on Liiva, a platform that allows users to manage all matters and needs relating to home ownership from search to sale. Liiva aims to cover the entire life cycle of home ownership and support homeowners throughout their search for, purchase, maintenance and sale of a home.
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