RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

PropertyGuru's Steve Melhuish reveals investments in the tech arena

He has made the property market more transparent by bringing as much as two million properties online.

When Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen went house-hunting in Singapore years ago, the lack of updated choices and pricing options only left them feeling frustrated. Learning that this problem is common amongst other property seekers, Melhuish and Rautiainen decided to make a move and address the challenges at a wider scale. Barely a year later, PropertyGuru was born.

Melhuish’s initiative to found PropertyGuru in the midst of Singapore’s housing boom began revolutionising the property industry. For half a century, the $150b industry remained antiquated, with buyers scouring pages of classified ads and driving along roads with vacant properties only to decide based on mere opinion from friends and family. The launch of PropertyGuru enabled buyers to make wise and informed decisions through the help of real estate experts and greater transparency in the buying process.

Despite the lack of experience in real estate, Melhuish developed a business plan and pitched it to an investor friend, who then connected Melhuish to Rautiainen. Back then, Rautiainen had already begun building a property valuation website, a perfect match for Melhuish’s new idea. Launched with a vision to simplify the property search process and help renters, buyers, sellers and investors make confident property decisions faster, PropertyGuru has grown to be the leading online property site in five countries and provides services in ten other countries in the region.

Melhuish’s work experience as the CEO of an Asian social network start-up as well as his stint in business consultancy have contributed a great deal to the eventual success of PropertyGuru. His passion for technology, entrepreneurship and social enterprise has helped millions of people find the perfect homes for their needs at the best prices possible.

“For over nine years, PropertyGuru has made the market more transparent by bringing two million properties online - many with photos, videos, floorplans, full descriptions, pricing information, etc. PropertyGuru publishes 650 articles, research and property reviews every month, creates video interviews, conduct sentiment surveys and provide property price trends. With the explosion of smartphones, the company’s focus shifted from desktop to mobile, enabling people to use their personal property advisor in their hand,” Melhuish said.

Steve’s passion for technology manifests in his company’s investments in the tech arena. From drone videos to virtual tours and 3D floor plans, buyers can get a better view of the property by moving from room to room without having to step out of their current location. PropertyGuru has also invested in data science and artificial intelligence to enhance their recommendations and provide personalised and better consumer experience through social media and standalone applications.

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