Matterport is a leading immersive media technology company and a silver sponsor of the forthcoming Property Portal Watch conference in Lisbon. We spoke with the company's EMEA sales director James Morris-Manuel, to find out more.
Can you tell me a bit about Matterport, its evolution and journey so far?
Founded in 2011, Matterport entered the European market with the acquisition of Virtual Walkthrough in 2016. We're a leading property technology company and has been ranked the 26th fastest private growing company in the US. The journey has been very positive, as the company expands across Europe, Middle East & Africa bringing the technology to the property, events and travel industry, as well as to professional photographers, and has the largest library of VR content globally. Over 500,000 3D spaces have been captured using Matterport.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, Matterport is an immersive media technology company that delivers an end-to-end system for creating, modifying, distributing, and navigating immersive 3D and virtual reality (VR) versions of real-world spaces on Web, mobile devices, and VR headsets. The Matterport Pro2 Camera makes it quick and easy to turn real-world places into immersive virtual experiences, and in one shoot you can create 3D walkthroughs, print-ready photos, videos, floorplans and VR content.
How did you become involved with the company? Can you tell me a bit about your role?
I co-founded a VR & virtual tour business Virtual Walkthrough in 2009, after leaving my career as a commercial real estate agent at Cushman & Wakefield. Virtual Walkthrough ended up being a leading proptech company in the UK, working with leading agents such as CBRE. In 2016, Matterport formalised the acquisition of Virtual Walkthrough, bringing our expertise of the UK and European markets to one of the US’s leading immersive tech firms.
I believe that technology such as Matterport can help drive forward the property industry, providing positive change, transparency and increase efficiency.
Where does your interest and passion in both virtual reality and real estate come from?
VR has the unique ability to allow you to be present somewhere else, in a fully immersive way; this is something very exciting, as it is so much more personal and accessible than a video call, or a slide show.
When I was working at C&W I spent many hours on trains travelling to and from viewings, which ultimately the buyer wasn’t interested in. The time wasted astounded me. With VR, buyers are able to fully experience a space before travelling to it, so can be better informed and only spend time on viewings that are likely to peek their interest.
Once I saw how 360 and VR tech worked, and the quality of some of the technology out there, I could immediately see its potential application for the real estate industry, and this is something that really excited me. I am very passionate about it, and have been an advocate for tech in the property sector, helping to demonstrate the benefits to agents, both on the commercial and the residential side.
How important has VR been for real estate? Do you have any figures on the instance of people buying/renting properties without inspecting them first? Or any other trends you can discuss?
VR has been extremely important for real estate. We have found that by using Matterport VR tours, dwell time online when looking at a property has increased by 600%, meaning that potential customers are properly engaging in a way they had not previously. When using a Matterport Showcase, agents are receiving a 200% increase in calls, and most generating 50% more qualified leads. The technology is having a real and tangible effect. I see it becoming standard use in the future, giving customers the interactive and immersive experience they are demanding.
How will Matterport continue to shape the future of VR and real estate? Do you have a any news or plans you can share?
We have just been lucky enough to raise $5 million, bringing our total funding to $66 million. This will go towards focusing on deep learning to improve our technology to further the use of VR to benefit the property industry. AI can be used to create automated content, speeding up processes and therefore saving more time for agents. Agents will be able to list their properties on portals faster and have more access to relevant data.
What are you looking forward to most at PPW Lisbon?
I am very much looking forward to meeting with like-minded people. By generating open conversation, great ideas can be formed. By discussing ideas with your peers and forward-thinking people, I fully believe that you have better access to inspired ideas. Neither technology nor real estate can operate in a silo; it is by coming together and understanding where strengths and weakness are that solutions can be found.
Anything else you would like to add for our readers?
At Matterport we see a future where VR is fully integrated as standard within the real estate sales and letting process. The opportunities for where this tech can go are extremely varied and very exciting. If you’d like to hear more, and or test out the Matterport technology click here