Who won the 2021 Australian Proptech Awards – and why?

Who won the 2021 Australian Proptech Awards – and why?

The inaugural Proptech Awards have been a huge success. While the real estate and property industries are famous for the frequency of their presentation of awards, this was the first time the innovation of industry suppliers was put into the spotlight and it shows the extraordinary ideas, passion and commitment that technology businesses are contributing to the real estate, property and construction sector. 

At Proptech Association Australia, we wanted to create a rigorous framework for the awards that would do two things – we wanted it to help proptechs understand the best way to explain their technology and the information they need to share that makes it easy for clients to understand and assess their value. In this way, the goal was that participating in the awards would be a valuable experience for proptechs because it helped them refine their thinking about their product, and hopefully come out of the awards with a document that would support either their pitches for funding, or marketing and client engagement. 

And secondly, we wanted the awards to help potential clients and end users see value in the technology, and act as an endorsement for some of the best tech out there. 

When we first launched the awards, I imagined our winners would be the bold thinkers who have daring and brave new visions for real estate and property that would inspire the judges – because whenever I’m asked about proptech, everyone wants to know the sexiest and most exciting big idea. 

But our judges were infinitely more practical than that. If there is anything that connects each of our winners across the categories and proptech life-stages, it is that judges rated highest the ideas that were proven or could show real traction in terms of adoption and clear thinking, even if they were startups. 

The awards therefore, were not a vote for the most interesting proptech idea, but what judges saw were the soundest real estate and property technology businesses that were solving real problems and making a difference in the lives of their customers. 

Awards are a little like buying a property in a booming market. Only one entry can be successful and it’s always disappointing not to win. But I really encourage everyone not to see it that way. 

At the Proptech Association of Australia, the board made the considered decision that we would have genuine finalists in these awards, not simply make everyone who entered the competition a ‘finalist’ as we have seen others do to sell more tickets to dinners. The very generous support from our hosts Ashurst ensured we did not need to go down this route. 

Our finalists were genuine contenders who all offered excellent proptech solutions. Getting to finalist level was a real achievement. Winners consistently were excellent at articulating the value of their technology, backing that up with figures and providing client examples and real life user cases that supported their business plans. 

Looking back at some of the entries and judge comments I can see that the difference between winners and finalists was not the cleverness of the technology or the value of the solution to end users, but it was that level of detail. Finalists may just have not quite nailed just one or two sections quite as well as their competition. It speaks to the need to give yourself enough time to enter and assemble all the facts and materials you need to make a really great submission. 

Below I’ve listed the winners of the inaugural Proptech Awards 2021 held by the Proptech Association of Australia, together with the proptech’s elevator pitch and the judges comments so you can see both the calibre of our winners – and get some tips on your entries for next year.  

Start Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Operations & Administration

Winner: Lendhaus – a managed marketplace for commercial real estate financing.

Judges comments: 

• There’s a need for this offering: congratulations for executing and delivering

• A one-stop station for information & execution at this level is very impressive.

• Solid roadmap of future product development and business goals.

• Good concept in a market that clearly can be improved with technology.

Scale Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Operations & Administration

Winner: VaultRE – a cloud-based sales and listings management, CRM and property management system 

Judges comments:

• Incredibly impressive, and no wonder the big brands are jumping on board & taking away the hassle of using more than one database for their businesses.

• Cloud based and open APIs . . . they appear to have all bases covered.

• Agile approach and responsiveness to developing technology and changing market requirements.

Established Supplier

Most Innovative Proptech

Operations & Administration

Winner: List Once – CRM-agnostic listings and data management platform

Judges comments

• Excellent presentation of the specific tech stack and how that translates into tangible benefits such as speed and security.

• An incredible support to the industry for a number of years.

• Delighted to see you using customers as advisors to deliver a high quality service

Start Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Design & Development

Winner: Hubble – an artificial intelligence platform that predicts and assesses property – either existing or in design – based on criteria such as carbon neutrality, allergy-free, comfort, and potential for bill savings.

Judges comments:

• Really exciting product and I think it targets a rapidly growing trend of buyers seeking more advanced intelligence to assist in the buying process.

• Very smart and looking forward to seeing this grow!

• This initiative will increase in relevance as more consumers increase their awareness in their own environmental footprint.

Scale Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Design & Development

Winner: uDrew – for its interactive solutions to streamline and automate the Design, Planning and Approval of residential building projects, producing certified and compliant plans in minutes. 

Judges comments:

• An exciting submission that articulates a thorough knowledge of their target market

• Their future roadmap is clearly outlined, with long term investment and a development strategy

• User-friendly experience obviously adopting gaming tech. It’s so relatable, especially to younger property owners.

• It collaborates with industry, end users and councils to streamline the design, approval and construction process.

Start Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Smart Buildings & Cities

Winner: Exergenics – data-driven control strategies for commercial air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, driving efficiency and sustainability without impacting comfort, food safety or system reliability.

Judges comments:

• A real problem, with real solutions! Love it.

• This company is bound to be successful.

• Making all the right noises in a sector that is just about to hit a tipping point. I wish them every success.

Scale Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Smart Buildings & Cities

Winner: Planet Ark Power for it’s eleXsys® product – an advanced, power electronics device integrating a suite of artificial intelligence (AI) applications that enables next-generation two-way smart grids.

Judges comments:

• A clear problem they are trying to solve with worldwide scope.

• Any technology that helps solve society’s need to adopt renewal technologies and maintain a functional and reliable energy network is primed for success.

• A bright future.

• Excellent technology.

Start Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Ownership, Affordability & Finance

Winner: Brickfloor – for its offer to home sellers: an upfront commitment to buy a seller’s home for a market price – guaranteed for the length of their sale campaign

Judges comments:

• Outstanding entry. All criteria comprehensively addressed, making it clear their situation, technology, innovations and future goals.

• Great service and well summarised.

• Lots of innovation & disruptive thinking at play here. I like the approach.

Scale Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Ownership, Affordability & Finance

Winner: Tic:Tok – for its financial platform – an Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) with digital fulfilment and underwriting expertise. 

Judges comments:

• Unique offering. Improving existing innovation with demonstrable ROI. Becoming widely used. Very strong entry.

• An outstanding application. 

• Great product!

• The enterprise and the innovation are particularly well-articulated.

Start Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Property & Facilities Management

Winner: Inndox – a web-app that provides “property logbooks” for easy management and maintenance throughout the property’s life-cycle 

Judges comments: 

• Road map is very well thought out and go to market strategy also well-articulated

Scale Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Property & Facilities Management

Winner: Groundfloor – a combination smart lockers, intuitive software and customer service to fully automate the management of all deliveries. 

Judges comments:

• A really great product!

• I love the simplicity of the technology (all it needs is power) and the universal application across a range of built environments.

• A solution for an issue that’s so prevalent is great 

• This product looks like it could really increase efficiencies and reduce staff being redirected from their core role

Established Supplier

Most Innovative Proptech

Property & Facilities Management

Winner: Console Cloud – a residential and commercial property management platform for agencies who want to grow their rent roll

Judges comments:

• It is a very strong offering and definitely at the pointy end of property management platform offerings.

• A very clear submission. I really liked the 30% guarantee!

• Excellent explanation and business goals

Start Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Sales & Marketing

Winner Little Hinges – a suite of conversion tools and behavioural data sets that customise user experiences during a virtual tour. 

Judges comments: 

• Great initiatives in the product that look to challenge many existing elements of ‘dominant logic’ within the real estate industry.

• Smart platform that brings some blue ocean thinking to a competitive part of the market.

• A very smart tool for engaging buyers.

Scale Up

Most Innovative Proptech

Sales & Marketing

Winner: ActivePipe – an email marketing platform that uses intelligent automation to nurture clients and generate leads.

Judges comments:

• Smart technology delivering simple UX, personalized CX, and smart automation in a key area of real estate practice.

• Exciting to see the success in the US.

• Exceptional explanation of the business overview

• Challenge is in change management and education for agents these are being addressed through well-executed training and industry education.

Established Supplier

Most Innovative Proptech

Sales & Marketing

Winner: Box and Dice – CRM solution

Judges comments:

• This solution becomes increasingly important as margins are squeezed. 

• It is a solution critically important to the efficiency agenda. 

• The Open API strategy is so important to allow agencies to build their architecture in line with their vision.

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