Micheal Wales, Head of Business Development UAE and Gulf Region of Triplerr. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

DUBAI: Real estate start-up Triplerr wants to be part of the regular toolkit of every estate agent in cities around the world.

The UK-based firm chose Dubai to launch its commercial services because of the volume of property deals and number of freelance agents operating in the city. It’s been operating in the city since November 2017, and has subsequently begun operations in London and New York.

What Tripler does is vet potential buyers by phone, recording what properties they’re interested in buying and how much they’re prepared to spend — 17 data points in all. Triplerr calls this curation process pre-qualifying the leads.

Agents can listen to recordings of the calls for free via Triplerr’s app, then choose whether to buy the potential buyer’s contact details on a pay-per-lead basis or via monthly subscription. The price is determined factors such as budget area and urgency. The firm is proud of the invention of these ‘voice leads’, which it says triples lead conversion rates up to three times compared to regular internet leads.

“One of the frustrations from an agent’s point of view — and also a consumer’s point of view — is that they are used to getting leads — or what they call leads — from a portal,” said Michael Wales, Triplerr’s Head of Business Development for the UAE and the Gulf. “Actually, it’s just a name and number, and if you’re lucky an email address.

“Then the agent has to go through the process of calling, emailing, in this region WhatsApping, texting, trying get hold of that person, to find out if they’re a real customer — could they be another agent, could they be a third party trying to find some other business within the real estate market? And this all happens. So, there you have the frustration of these leads not actually being leads.

“On their day-to-day basis they have to call, call, call, call, hoping that they hit upon a good lead.

“From a consumer’s point of view, where you have a perception of the real estate market as quite poor in most regions globally, is the fact that they never get a call back. They put all these enquiries online and they never get a call back. Around 23 per cent, 24 per cent of people don’t ever get a call back.”

Instead, Triplerr aims to call potential buyers back within 5 minutes. It insists agents buying leads contact the buyer within 24 hours. The app allows agents to filter leads by factors such as budget, the area the buyer is interested, allowing them to focus on their speciality.

“We believe that the voice lead, listening to someone saying what their budget is, what area they’re looking in, whether they’ve seen anything before, when they’re looking to move, what position they’re in, this is so powerful to hear someone saying that it’s a completely different proposition,” Wales said. “No one else has done that globally.”

The firm deals with rentals as well as residential sales, Wales added. “The rental market here is buoyant. We’re getting many, many leads through on a daily basis ... Whenever the market is in a good or bad position, there’s always going to be buyers, there’s always going to be people who are going to rent. People have to live here to work.”

Currently, the firm deals primarily with residential property, but scope exists to move into the commercial sector.

Of an estimated 5,200 agents in Dubai, around a thousand have so far registered with Triplerr.

“The take-up’s been fantastic. Obviously with us being a newish company, it’s going to take time to get integrated into the market,” Wales said. What percentage of agents using the service would satisfy the firm? Wales’ mouth twitches into a smile. “I’d be content when Triplerr becomes an everyday part of agents’ business. Globally. It’s as simple as that.”

The firm chose its three cities launch because each has a different style of estate agencies, founder and CEO Sam Singh said in a video call from the UK.

London’s market is dominated by a few large, consolidated corporate agencies; Dubai agencies are yet to consolidate and the market is dominated by smaller firms, independents and individuals operating on a commission-only basis; and New York has gone beyond consolidation to have individuals acting on behalf of the big agencies.

Success in these three types of market — pre-consolidation, consolidation and post-consolidation — indicates Triplerr can operate in any city worldwide, Singh said.

He said it took the firm as little as two weeks to set up operations in a new city. They would select locations based on volume and speed of property sales — and were next eyeing Abu Dhabi and Manchester.

Triplerr is Singh’s fourth venture, following enterprises in tech and specialist real estate. Triplerr is the culmination of that experience, he said. “It all works together to bring this customer acquisition model focused on real estate,” he said.

Sector: Property/Tech
Founder: Sam Singh
Funding: $3 million seed, with additional funds being raised through crowdfunding.
Employees: 15 direct employees, 25-27 associates