Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Tech company launches property search app Keez

Published:Sunday | October 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson

Tech start-up SiFi Studios Jamaica Limited has developed a mobile app that allows real estate agents to list properties on a platform called Keez.

It requires agents to sign up to list properties on the market. When prospective buyers click on the listings, the click notifies both Keez and the agent to the lead for a possible sale. Keez only gets paid when the agent closes the sale.

The commission is split 70 per cent for the real estate agent and 30 per cent for Keez, said Ajani Harris-Williams, co-founder and CEO of SiFi Studios. He plans to, over time, increase the commission demanded by Keez to 50 per cent.

Harris-Williams defended the commission, saying that the app would serve to increase sales for agents; that it would enable the company to" break even"; and finance the marketing of listed properties in digital ad campaigns. The start-up is currently backed by NCB Capital Markets Limited and First Angels Jamaica, but the terms of their participation in the SiFi were not disclosed.

Only real estate professionals will be allowed to list properties through Keez. SiFi contemplated allowing 'sale by owner' but thought it would be too disruptive for the industry.

The app is currently available for download on Android and iPhone. The Android download portal describes Keez as an app in its development stages and "unreleased" but available for download. The app allows quick searches for properties by street, size, type, and other criteria.

"We aim to achieve this through a platform that allows industry players to quickly and efficiently connect to their customers," said Harris-Williams.

"Our approach as a company is user-centric," added Marvin Whitfield, co-founder and chief technology officer of SiFi Studios. "We focus on an exceptional user experience, that allows them to use their natural language to easily search for items on our digital platform."

The app also has generic listings similar to other local real estate websites. Those sites are populated with mirror listings, which the real estate brokerage community terms Multiple Listing Service or MLS listings. Keez, however, wants non-MLS listings to also populate its application.

"We are not a competitor of the MLS. We want non-MLS listings," said Harris-Williams at the launch of the Keez app in Kingston on Thursday.

Keez is the tech company's first release of a market-ready digital platform.

SiFi is the seventh of 10 companies to receive funding to date from FirstAngels. The angel network said the 10 companies combined have received $179 million from participating investors.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com