Rental Property Service 99.Co Raises a Total Of $560K Financial Funding.
Founded during 2013, Singapore-based online home rental portal 99.c0 has recently announced that its manage to raises a total of S$700,000 (USD560,000) in financial funding, led by East Ventures, 500 Startups, Fenox VC, and Golden Gate Ventures.
Co-founded by a Singapore entrepreneur who incidentally is al the man behind tenCub, Which was acquired by MCAfee during 2010, Darius Cheung, along with BillPin, Which was bought over by former competitor BillMonk, the 99.com team is also ran by its sister brand Homie.co, a website for roommate searching in Singapore.
During a conversations with reporters, Cheung stated that this recent funding shall be used to hire and grow a bigger team, and market towards potential user, those being agents, landlords and tenants. At the moment, the team is composed of up to eight staff members, of which four are its founding members.
Having rented properties for the past 20 years, he spoke about his own personal experience when it came to searching through established room rental sites, only to find it overfilled with duplicated or fabricated listings.
These sites seem to not care much about these issues as their main source of revenue, which is advertising, depends on them having a large database or room listings, according to Darius. The larger the database, the higher these established sites can charge for advertising..
“The right way of thinking about it,” he said, “which is our philosophical difference, is that we put the customers — the renters — first, and we do everything we can to deliver to them the right search results.”
Not only does 99.co ban listings deemed “bad”, it has also developed an algorithm that ranks search results.
“Right now, it’s just rental. What’s relevant in rental search results is different from what’s relevant in sales search results,” added Cheung, who further noted that eventually 99.co will have to enter the larger real estate sales market. He told this author, “Some of the agents that we work with have already said they want to put their ‘for sale’ listings up as well.”
Currently, 99.c0 does not have any kinds of active monetization model. “We don’t plan to generate revenue for the next six months. Beyond that, we are working with agents, our partners, to figure out what is the right way to do it,” he said
Selling advertisement on the site does not seem to be the correct way to generate revenue, according to Cheung, who further elaborated that listing properties on 99.c0 will continue to be free.
“We would most likely take a flat fee. The agents typically take a commission of four per cent from the landlord, which equates to about one month commission for a two-year contract. That’s fairly standard. We would basically charge a flat fee on a transaction basis. Right now, it’s free. We are incentivised to make sure that the transaction happens,” said the seasoned entrepreneur.