CEO says Vancouver is a “great hub” to begin serving Western Canada.
Nearly seven months after closing $44 million CAD in Series B funding, Properly has begun its planned expansion across Canada.
After establishing a presence in Toronto, Properly is moving into Vancouver’s hot real estate market. The Toronto-based proptech startup, which currently serves Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), has officially rolled out its home-buying and selling offerings in Vancouver and Fraser Valley.
“The Vancouver real estate market is super strong. But … there’s very few homes available for sale, and an incredible amount of demand.”
-Anshul Ruparell, Properly
In an interview with BetaKit, Properly co-founder and CEO Anshul Ruparell said the startup selected Vancouver, which makes sense from a market size standpoint, after identifying a need for its services and seeing “a lot” of inbound interest from the area.
“We’ve seen an incredible amount of demand in Toronto, and there’s clearly an unmet need in the market for services like Properly,” said Ruparell. “Relative to Toronto, Vancouver has even less competition, even less innovation. Things look in the real estate market like they did close to 100 years ago.”
Founded in 2018, Properly is a tech-enabled real estate brokerage that aims to improve the home-buying and selling process. The startup offers a suite of real estate products and services, including a home search tool, and a sale assurance offering that allows customers to buy a new house and move into it before selling their previous home.
“The Vancouver real estate market is super strong,” said Ruparell. “But Vancouver is an interesting market in, actually, some of the same ways that Toronto is, in that there’s very few homes available for sale, and an incredible amount of demand.”
According to Ruparell, this demand stems in part from people who have “a different need for space than they had prior to the pandemic.” The CEO added that this environment is leading to “aggressive bidding wars and homes selling very quickly,” which puts prospective homeowners in a difficult position.
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“If they aren’t in a position to move really quickly when they find that perfect home, they’re not going to win it,” said Ruparell.
Enter Properly, which aims to help solve this particular pain point through its sale assurance service, which provides home sellers with a purchase guarantee from Properly that allows them to purchase a new home with that existing equity. The startup launched its operations in Toronto in August 2020.
“We feel very confident in the quality of customer experience we’re delivering in Toronto, said Ruparell, citing Properly’s strong net promoter score of 88. “Having those kinds of metrics, and the consistency of them over the last year or so, gives us the confidence to begin expanding elsewhere in the country.”
Properly has added Vladana Zlatic as general manager of the company’s Vancouver operations. Zlatic formerly served as a market operations lead for Lyft and on the team that launched the United States ride-hailing company’s service in Vancouver.
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To support its Vancouver expansion efforts, Properly has also added Vancouver-born Drew Scott of the Property Brothers to its now 17-member Vancouver real estate agent team. Scott invested in Properly last October alongside his brother Jonathan.
“We’re seeing unprecedented demand from local buyers,” said Ruparell. “This is primarily because the wants and needs of people have changed during the pandemic. People are interested in home gyms and home offices, and they just want more space, both indoor and outdoor space, and so the demand for new homes is quite high.”
The CEO highlighted that Vancouver is also consistently ranked as one of the most desirable cities in the world to live in, which Ruparell said is reflected by the city’s “lack of inventory.”
According to Ruparell, home prices are rising in Toronto, Vancouver, and other markets across Canada because demand is outpacing supply.
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To date, Properly has raised a total of $60 million CAD to tackle this hot Canadian real estate market, from a group of investors that includes Bain Capital Ventures, Wealthsimple’s Mike Katchen, Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff, and Opendoor CEO Eric Wu. Properly has also secured a $100 million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank and i80 Group.
Since closing its Series B round last year, Properly has “roughly tripled, close to quadrupled” its headcount and added “a number of world-class executives” to its ranks, including some former Zillow employees in VP of Sales Ann Sobil and VP of Product Jake Hite. The startup has also launched a number of new features and rolled out its first large-scale integrated marketing campaign.
As Canada’s real estate market soared, Ruparell said Properly grew its revenue and customers served by 1,110 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. Much of this increase was concentrated in Q4, when the company saw 450 percent year-over-year growth.
To build on these results, Ruparell said that in the near-term, Properly’s focus will be on the Toronto and Vancouver markets. From there, the startup plans to move into other parts of Canada.
“Toronto and Vancouver are both really strong foundations from which to scale into [other] regions,” said the CEO. “Vancouver can be a great hub to begin serving with the rest of Western Canada, as Toronto was a great hub for serving the rest of Ontario.”
Once Properly establishes a strong presence in Vancouver, Ruparell said the startup plans to turn its attention to Québec.
Feature image courtesy Properly.