In the rapidly evolving world of real estate technology, known as Proptech, few pioneers have managed to create a lasting impact on the industry. Among them is Vivek Agarwal, the Co-Founder and CTO of Square Yards, a prominent player in the Proptech space. With his extensive experience and relentless pursuit of innovation, Vivek has been at the forefront of transforming how people discover, buy, and finance properties.
In an exclusive Q&A session, we had the privilege to delve into Vivek's insights and expertise, where he sheds light on the revolutionary advancements in Proptech and its profound impact on property search, transactions, and mortgage facilities. As an entrepreneur and technology leader, Vivek also generously shares invaluable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to venture into the Proptech industry.

Join us as we dive into the world of Proptech with Vivek Agarwal and uncover the groundbreaking innovations that are reshaping the real estate ecosystem.

#PTS: How is ProTech enhancing the property search process for buyers and renters compared to traditional methods, and mitigating fraud risk in real estate transactions?

Vivek: With rapid advances in Proptech, property search and discovery has moved beyond the threshold of online listings and basic data access and filters. As customers demand greater efficiencies and customization in their home-buying experience, tech-enabled real estate players have made a fundamental shift in how people find houses. Property search has now become more personalized based on customer ideologies and preferences like lifestyle, connectivity, liveability, etc. To enhance the search process, proptech players are offering unparalleled research tools like micro-market heatmaps, AI based recommendation engine and algorithmic-driven property match scores for consumers to make an informed property decision. As buyers gain access to these deeper insights, they are feeling more sacrosanct about the results. With the AI-rush already sweeping through the property sector, proptech platforms are deploying AI-driven chatbots, acting as a homebuyer’s personal assistant. These bots are scanning millions of photos and listings to personalize the search process and come out with relevant and nuanced home suggestions. Further, 3D/VR tours have made property search more experiential, offering buyers with locational intelligence and a visceral sense of the property which helps in emotional engagement. This digital convenience and transparency in search have also moved to transactions. With real time inventory selection, fully secured online payment gateways, e-payments, and e-signatures, real estate transactions have become quick, hassle-free and sanguine.

#PTS: As we have seen, the loan & mortgage facilities are easily available to the people with fixed income. How is proptech making the loan & mortgage facilities easier and more accessible for the people with less income or irregular income?

Vivek: Mortgages are complex, time-consuming and paper-intensive product lines which have for long been wired traditionally and are ripe for tech intervention. With changing needs and expectations of consumers, lenders across the world today are starting to accept digital authentication and consumer alternate data aggregation as core components of their backend credit decisioning systems. This has led proptech companies to disrupt the status quo and act as online loan aggregators, by partnering with banking institutions and providing end-to-end paperless loan fulfilment support on a single platform; bringing buyers, sellers, their respective agents, property valuers and lending institutions together. Integrating AI and machine learning, these property mortgage platforms are evaluating the borrower’s debt capacity and eligibility in seconds while the document-intensive loan application processes are now boiled down to a few hours. Whilst speed and convenience has been increased, the process has eliminated silos and saved time. This uberization of mortgage has opened up loans for a wider population which was ignored earlier due to lack of credit history data and greater lead time.

#PTS: Given your extensive experience in the Proptech sector, what advice or suggestions would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs who are venturing into the industry, particularly in terms of product strategy, technology development, and managing teams for successful execution and operations?

Vivek: Real estate is an exciting industry but challenging too, and only a handful of entrepreneurs have succeeded in shaking up real estate in a meaningful way and changing the face of this fragmented and unorganized sector. Any successful real estate venture lies in understanding the market to the core and finding an existing problem, and then developing a real solution that can change individual lives. Aspiring entrepreneurs need to conduct a thorough market research to identify pain-points, trends, demographics and demand patterns. This will help in coming up with a unique selling proposition that resonates with the target audience, and shape up strategies accordingly. As technology slowly becomes the core of the real estate sector, entrepreneurs must leverage cutting-edge tools and methodologies to build a scalable, user-friendly, and secure platform. Embrace innovation and be adaptable to evolving technologies in the Proptech space to stay ahead of the competition. As a proptech leader, building the right company culture, motivating team members and sharpening their skills continuously should be the core focus if you want to take your startup to where you hope to take it. Lastly, be resilient and adaptable. The proptech landscape is ever evolving and hardships and setbacks are inevitable. Learn from mistakes, be open to change and stay agile in your approach.

#PTS: How can events like the London PropTech show contribute to the advancement and growth of the Proptech industry, and what benefits can it provide to the overall real estate ecosystem?

Vivek: Global property events like the London PropTech show serve as an epicenter of innovation, inspiring proptech start-ups to showcase their cutting-edge solutions and disruptive technologies. Industry participants can have direct exposure to emerging Proptech solutions and learn how groundbreaking innovations are creating a ripple through the entire industry, enhancing efficiency, transparency and customer experience. Besides, such marquee property events attract venture capitalists, angel investors and other financiers looking to invest in transformative technologies. It provides a good opportunity for proptech startups to secure funding which is vital for research, development and scaling of their innovations. Such influx of capital accelerates proptech growth, enabling it to disrupt the traditional real estate sector faster.