99.co

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company

99.co is a property tech startup founded in 2014 by Darius Cheung, Anuj Bheda, Conor McLaughlin, Ruiwen Chua and Dominic Ee. Headquartered in Singapore, it is currently operational in Singapore and Indonesia. It is notable for being one of the first startups in Southeast Asia to receive funding from both Sequoia Capital and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.[1] Other notable investors include 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, East Ventures, QuestVC, and Kathrein Ventures.

In 2015, it was named by the Singapore Business Review as one of the hottest startups in Singapore to watch out for, while CEO Darius Cheung was named by the Singapore Computer Society as the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year.

It raised a total of SGD$2.76 million (US$2 million) by January 2015,[2] and as of June 2016 received a further undisclosed amount from Saverin, who also sits on the board.[3]

History

The inspiration for creating 99.co came when Cheung needed to look for an apartment of his own for the first time after his roommate moved out. He cited the frustrating lack of a user-friendly, comprehensive medium for searching authentic, high-quality listings in Singapore as a catalyst for creating a better alternative to the existing web and mobile tools.

The beta site for 99.co was launched in November 2014, while the official launch took place in January 2015. By May 2016, it had over 140,000 listings - a more than 1000% growth from the 11,000 listings in November 2014.

In June 2016, 99.co launched its mobile app for property agents, 99Pro in conjunction with its 2nd anniversary.[4] Saverin commented during the launch, "“The reason I invested in 99.co is that it is the only real estate technology company that is serious in changing the way real estate is transacted – not just a mere portal with swaths of listings. 99.co creates technology and harnesses data to help every stakeholder in the industry.”[5] The launch also marked 99.co's first successful transition to a revenue model.

In July 2016, an Australian Vietnamese employee, Sonny Truyen, received widespread criticism in the media for making provocative comments about Singapore on social media.[6] The incident prompted Cheung to fire Truyen immediately, but also appeal to the public to refrain from attacking Truyen on the basis of his ethnicity and nationality.[7]

Technology

File:99.co By Travel Time.png
Searching by travel time on 99.co

As a property search tool, 99.co allows filtering according to parameters such as district, HDB town, proximity to MRT stations, travel time to specific geolocations (such as offices and schools), user-defined key words, price per square feet, year of completion, etc. It claims to distinguish itself from rivals by prioritizing user-friendly experience and relevant search results.

In July 2016, it launched a new filter for selecting listings open to all races as part of an initiative to combat rental racial discrimination.[8]

Funding

In May 2014, 99.co announced securing SGD$700,000 (US$560,000) from 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures, East Ventures, and Fenox Venture Capital.

In January 2015, 99.co announced securing SGD$2 million (US$1.6 million) from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Sequoia Capital, bringing its total funding to SGD$2.7 million (US$2 million) and putting the company at a valuation of US$8 million.

It has since received a further but undisclosed amount of funding from Saverin.[9]

See also

The 99.co team also runs homie.co, a website for renters seeking roommates and/or housemates.

References

  1. "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem" (in en-US). https://www.techinasia.com/facebook-cofounder-sequoia-invests-singapore-proporty-site-99co. 
  2. "Here's all you need to know about a Singapore startup backed by Facebook co-founder". https://e27.co/99-co-secures-funding-facebook-co-founder-sequoia-capital-20150129/. 
  3. "Eduardo Saverin: Billionaire investor in Singapore start-ups". http://business.asiaone.com/personal-finance/investor-profiles/eduardo-saverin-billionaire-investor-singapore-start-ups. 
  4. "Property portal 99.co celebrates 2nd anniversary with new app". 2016-06-05. https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/startups/property-portal-99co-celebrates-2nd-anniversary-new-app. 
  5. "This App Could Be the Uber of the Property Market here" (in en-US). 2016-06-02. http://dollarsandsense.sg/this-app-could-be-the-uber-of-the-property-market-here/. 
  6. "Property portal 99.co employee fired for insulting Singapore on Facebook over Pokemon Go game". http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/property-portal-99co-employee-fired-insulting-singapore-facebook-over-pokemon-go-game. 
  7. "An apology and an appeal - 99.co blog | Singapore's Fastest Growing Property Portal" (in en-US). 2016-07-10. https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/foreign-talents-apology-appeal/. 
  8. "I’ve said NO to rental racial discrimination. Will you?". https://www.99.co/regardlessofrace. 
  9. "Eduardo Saverin: Billionaire investor in Singapore start-ups". http://business.asiaone.com/personal-finance/investor-profiles/eduardo-saverin-billionaire-investor-singapore-start-ups. 

External links