The launch is also one of Gobi’s first investments for its SuperSeed Fund II and one of the winners of the Gobi SuperSeed II Championship last year.
With this recent investment, SPEEDHOME plans to advance the platform’s technology and application, along with a regional expansion that begins in Bangkok.
A house that sells itself
Gobi Partners (Gobi) is a venture capital firm with a pan-Asian presence in North Asia, South Asia and ASEAN with assets managed for more than US $ 1.1 billion. Headquartered in KL and Shanghai, the firm supports entrepreneurs from the early stages to growth and focuses on emerging and underserved markets.
This funding comes after SPEEDHOME’s efforts to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic on the real estate industry. There was a significant drop in RM 1.3 billion in volume and transactions in units not sold in the local buying and selling market amid the pandemic. This is according to the SPEEDHOME team, which cites data from the National Property Information Center (NAPIC).
“Unfortunately, the rental market was not spared from that either. With many landlords unable to show their units during the MCO, tenants unable to travel and people more aware of their expenses, we also saw a drop in rental demand during this period, ”said Wong Whei Meng, CEO of SPEEDHOME at Vulcan Post.
Thus, SPEEDHOME launched its virtual display services and Homerunners that fixed the loopholes of motion restrictions. Landlords can basically leave the hassle of finding tenants up to SPEEDHOME Homerunners, who basically act as real estate agents to help lease a vacant property.
This service resulted in a year-on-year growth of 160% of the gross written premium (GWP) contribution to Allianz in 2020 compared to 2019. This demonstrated SPEEDHOME’s ability to grow as a player in the real estate industry despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Dictionary time: Gross written premiums are the total income from a contract that is expected to be received by an insurer before deductions for reinsurance or assigned commissions.
Eliminate deposit tenants
Since we last spoke with Whei Meng in 2019, when the company was still known as Speedrent, a zero deposit plan was introduced to SPEEDHOME services. With it, tenants can rent houses without paying significant deposit fees in advance, increasing the cash flow of tenants.
“The zero deposit will help tenants ease their financial burden and at the same time allow landlords to rent quickly by taking advantage of this group of tenants who can rent but don’t want to pay an expensive deposit,” Whei Meng said. In total, tenants have saved $ 37 million in RM deposits through the plan, SPEEDHOME reported.
Homeowners, on the other hand, are promised zero loss protection for their properties of up to RM42k on coverage that includes support for eviction, damage and theft, among others. SPEEDHOME also claims that its units are rented five times faster when the deposits for tenants are lightened.
In return, landlords charge insurance fees that are priced based on one-month unit rental costs plus 6% SST, along with RM10 for the stamp duty of a basic plan.
To date, SPEEDHOME has over 575,000 app downloads and over 128,000 listings. The team expects that number to grow as consumers become more aware of their spending habits.
In Bangkok van
With the achievements of the startup in Malaysia so far, it is looking to expand its services in Bangkok.
“Bangkok shares a similar rental culture in Malaysia, so we believe our zero deposit model would work well there as well,” Whei Meng explained. In addition, Bangkok has a population of high density and job opportunities, qualities around the rental market.
While the SPEEDHOME team couldn’t share more details about the new updates that users can expect on their platform, they hinted that there will be AI and machine learning technologies.
Whei Meng concluded our interview with a tip for emerging companies that wanted to get financing during the pandemic: it will focus on the basics and the money will follow.
“In any plan or plot, we made sure to prioritize our users and solve their problems; in doing so, we want to provide a solution that our users will continue to use and trust in the long run,” he shared.
Featured Image Credit: Wong Whei Meng, CEO of SPEEDHOME