It was 2014, and Darius Cheung was in the midst of house-hunting when he realized he was sick of it - not just of looking, but of the system itself. Cheung was more than unhappy with Singapore's real estate market.
“It’s always been a painful experience looking for something to rent,” Cheung says, and it comes from a place of experience - he was a landlord that had invested in multiple properties over the years and was acquainted with both sides of the leasing coin. “I just realised that the entire marketplace was extremely inefficient.”
At the time, PropertyGuru and iProperty were the big leaders within the local real estate market and had efficiently and neatly transitioned the market from print news classifieds to online platforms.
“But essentially it was still a list of ads,” says Cheung, now the co-founder and CEO of 99.co, a housing website that has dominated approximately half of the industry less than five years after its inception. “There was no real way to search through [them], to locate them on a map, to just put the user experience around it, which is not really rocket science, because Airbnb had done it. Many other platforms have done it in terms of using map technology and other technology to make a much better search experience.”
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Join us in Miami from the 20th to the 22nd of June for the Global Online Marketplaces Summit. Our summit theme is From Classifieds to Marketplaces – Capturing Value from the Transaction and we’ll hear from Global Leaders who are creating the Online Marketplaces of Tomorrow.