While Andre Mercado worked as an employee at online real estate marketplaces Lamudi and Zipmatch, he noticed the gaps in the local property market – particularly in lead generation. “Brokers are not into marketing or business development. We do the marketing for them so they can focus on building relationships,” he said.
So in 2018, he established Signet Properties, a data and tech driven lead generation provider that aims to be a household name in real estate.
By utilizing latest technologies such as 360-degree aerial views of neighborhoods, 3D modeling for units, and commute map integrations with Sakay.ph, the company delivers an end-to-end solution catering to the needs of property sellers while also connecting them to property buyers.
Today, Signet is one of the fastest growing lead generation providers in real estate and has grown its employees to 35 in only a year. The platform currently has more than 500 broker subscribers and over 5,000 registered brokers. It is also quickly growing its database of real estate developments from all over the Philippines and has partnered with Megaworld and Suntrust Properties.
Flint, a “Grab for real estate”
One of the company’s flagship services is Flint, the Philippine’s first real estate crowdfunding platform. In partnership with Seedin, Southeast Asia’s leading crowdfunding platform, the investment vehicle allows Filipinos and foreign investors to invest in real estate for as low as P1,000, with guaranteed returns for investments.
Mercado explains that real estate crowdfunding is a concept that has been around for some time now. Flint has simply stepped in to digitize it. (The government’s approval of the rules on crowdfunding last year opened the doors for them.)
“In the past, people would usually need to save up until they’re finally able to pool together enough money to buy a property to rent out or resell,” he said. “Flint makes it convenient for users to purchase a share of a real estate property regardless of whether total Flint user investment has reached the investment amount of the property selected. That’s because we’ve pre-funded all our real estate properties in our portfolio.”
Real estate crowdfunding compliments REITs (Real Estate Investment Trust), Signet’s CEO adds. REITs are a longer-term investment and would need a great exit plan for one to profit, whereas Flint is a short-term investment with low risks and low investment cost.
Innovating and creating impact
Over the next three years, Signet plans to roll-out brand new innovations to complement Flint, including an e-commerce platform for real estate currently in the works.
They also aim to increase visibility for their proptech services in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, as well as countries such as Singapore and Taiwan.
“We’re all about doing innovation and creating impact,” Mercado shares. “As a founder, I deal with collaborators and not competitors. To create more impact, we need more collaborators who have the same vision and the same heart as our company’s.”