Property and real estate portals were one of the early internet business models to become huge in Indonesia. Local portals Rumah.com (founded in 2011) and Rumah123 (founded in 2007) were acquired by regional mammoths PropertyGuru and iProperty, respectively. UrbanIndo is another strong local player, along with Rumahku and Rocket Internet’s Lamudi.
The “old guard” of property portals are pretty generic. They offer real estate in different categories, for sale or rent. They usually monetize by charging agents or owners for premium listing space or add-on services. It’s a proven model, and a lucrative one, at that: iProperty Group, which Rumah123 is part of, is about to complete one of the biggest exits seen in the region to date.
But there are still opportunities for entrepreneurs eyeing Indonesia’s real estate market. Some startups are targeting a niche or address a specific problem. Here’s a collection of startups going after property in Indonesia with a twist.
Rukamen, launched in beta a few months ago and founded by Kristian Bunjamin and Pauliady Widjaja, is a property portal that focuses solely on apartments. This focus, they believe, will help them serve those specifically in search of apartments better. Rukamen has some sweet features like location-based search and integrates with Google Streetview so you can look at the apartments surroundings ahead of making an appointment for inspection.
Founded by Ricky Megen, Carigudang has been around since 2011. It specializes in properties like warehouses, commercial lots, and factories. But according to Tech in Asia’s data, the site barely generates any traffic. Is Carigudang not doing enough to win this niche, or is it because the general portals already have these categories covered?
Villa Bali Luxury
Indonesia, specifically the island of Bali, is a favorite with tourists and those looking for a temporary or permanent holiday home. Villa Bali Luxury is a site going after this market, with listings for both rentals and outright sales.
Other startups like Villacarte, based in Thailand, and Villa-Finder from Singapore are doing the same. Neither of these three sites seem to be generating much traffic. Could it be that AirBnB already has this covered? It’s not supposed to be for professional vacation rentals, but in reality many of AirBnB’s listings are.
Spacehype lets people search for and book spaces on temporary basis, for events, exhibitions, or parties. Its launch is planned for early 2016. The concept reminds us of Japan’s Spacemarket, which is sort of like an AirBnB for unique spaces.
“Kost” is a unique phenomenon in Indonesia. They are informal guest houses, typically with something like 5-30 rooms, and shared kitchen. Students who study away from home, or young employees who have moved to another city for a job typically live in one of these “kost.” Some are co-ed, some are women or men-only.
Infokost probably has the most complete offering in this category, though it also offers apartments and houses.
Smkost developed a software to help kost owners manage their property. It has a billing, reporting, and notification system, all optimized to the processes of managing a kost. It’s still in beta.
Cutbroker has yet to launch. Its landing page promises “hassle-free” property selling, without the need for an agent acting as middleman (and taking a cut). The name and concept sounds familiar: In India, a startup called NoBroker made waves when a mob of angry brokers attacked their office. Let’s hope Cutbroker won’t face a similar fate in Indonesia.
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