Category Archives: Classifieds

Tapu’s first year

Tapu, an online real estate auction marketplace where we’re investors, recently completed its first year of operations.

The company shared some data about its performance over its first year, which you can read in Turkish here.

Here are some highlights of what the company achieved during its first year:

  1. The number of properties sold on Tapu grew an average of 87% per quarter.
  2. Over 1,200 buyer candidates participated in auctions on Tapu.com in the 2nd quarter of 2016.
  3. Tapu.com had 250,000 visitors in July 2016.
  4. Of the properties that were first listed for sale in May 2016, 30% were sold within 3 months (by the of July 2016).
  5. Of the properties sold on Tapu, 26% were sold within the first 15 days of listing.

Tapu opens to individual sellers

I wrote about our investment in online real estate auction marketplace Tapu in a post from August 2015.

At the time of Tapu’s launch, it sourced the supply of properties auctioned on its marketplace from banks and asset management companies. These organizations had a stock of properties that they found challenging to sell through their existing channels and they welcomed Tapu as a new sales channel. The properties were also a good fit for Tapu because they came together with land titles and valuation reports which gave potential buyers the confidence to bid for them in an online setting.

However, Tapu soon began to receive requests from individual sellers who also wanted to auction their properties on the marketplace. Individual sellers represent a larger supply of properties than banks and asset management companies, so this was a big opportunity for Tapu. The problem is that, unlike the properties of banks and asset management companies, the properties of individual suppliers don’t always have land titles and rarely have valuation reports. This makes them difficult to sell in an online auction environment.

Rather than accept these problems, Tapu decided to solve them. And the result is that Tapu now lets individual sellers auction their properties on its marketplace. To do so, Tapu connects its individual seller candidates with licensed valuation companies who confirm the land title and provide a valuation report for the individual sellers’ properties. This verification and appraisal process ensures that potential buyers can have as much confidence bidding for the properties auctioned by individual sellers as they have bidding for those auctioned by banks and asset management companies.

The result is a new and efficient sales channel for individual sellers who don’t have to deal with the back-and-forth communications, property visits, and price negotiations which are part of the experience of selling a property through a classifieds site. And the result for buyers is that they have many more properties to choose from.

The development is a win-win for both sides of the marketplace and I believe that it’s going to be an important source of growth for Tapu.

Tapu

Tapu is our investment in the real estate space. It’s an online marketplace connecting real estate buyers and sellers in a live auction environment. We invested in the company together with Earlybird’s Digital East Fund and angel investors Can Yucaoglu, Seha Ozgur, and Banu Kucukel.

Buyers on Tapu browse properties online and can visit the properties they’re interested in offline. However, the bidding and payment of the service fee to participate in the auction (this service fee is refunded to all participants but the auction winner) take place fully online. This is a big convenience for both buyers and sellers over traditional online real estate marketplaces where properties are listed online but the negotiation and down-payment take place offline. The full final payment takes place offline in both models.

Tapu’s second core benefit is its auction model. The fact that a market mechanism rather than an individual negotiation is used to determine the price of the property makes the price converge to its market value much faster. This process can take months in the absence of an auction environment.

Tapu’s founder Emre Ersahin recently spoke about the company and its value proposition to Emlakwebtv. I couldn’t embed the video from the article directly onto this page so you’ll need to visit this link to check it out. It’s 8 minutes long and in Turkish.

TV advertising

Tasit is a used car classifieds site that we invested in back in 2013. Founded by Birol Kabakoglu, the company’s goal is to be the leading car vertical classifieds site in Turkey.

Tasit is 4 years old so it has already optimized most of the low hanging fruit like targeted online marketing to bring customers and car dealers onto its platform. On top of this, many car dealers have yet to build an online presence and remain skeptical of the benefits of online sales channels. Given this context, it made sense for Tasit to launch a TV advertising campaign.

Despite being less targeted than online marketing, TV advertising can be particularly valuable for internet companies to create trust within their traditionally offline communities. Although TV viewership is declining, a company with the resources to engage in TV advertising signals to viewers that it’s a trusted brand.

You can check out Tasit’s TV ads below. My favorite is the first one. What’s yours?

How thinking by first principles can produce a great user experience

Metrekare is our investment in the real estate classifieds space. We invested in the company’s seed round several months ago together with Cem Sertoglu and Evren Ucok who lead the Earlybird Digital East Fund’s Turkish operations.
At the time of our investment, the company was pre-product. As a result our decision to invest was based on two factors. The first was an outstanding founding team consisting of Serhat Karahan, Halil Akin, and Arda Bayindir, and their ability to attract similar talent. The second was the real estate classifieds market’s need for an online product which is fully aligned with the thought process of a home searcher when looking for a new place to stay.
Our first hypothesis of the founders’ ability to attract great talent was proven true in very short time. The founders quickly assembled an all-star team of developers with the skills necessary to rapidly build all of the features necessary for a great product from the ground up. They also took the first steps in building their sales team to interact with real estate agents and are now growing this team with additional talent.Together with the release of Metrekare’s tablet version, we’re pleased to see that our second hypothesis is also now a reality. The web, iOS, and Android versions of the product which were released earlier were an excellent start, and the team has once again impressed with the release of the iPad version.

While most classifieds sites present a text-based list of search results, Metrekare approaches a homeowner’s search process from first principles. Instead of simply copying what other classifieds sites do, the Metrekare team asked themselves what key criteria a home searcher relies on when initiating their property search. Their discovery was that the two key criteria are a property’s location and price. While other factors like the number of rooms and square footage are important, home searchers are more flexible on these attributes. Metrekare’s decision to display search results on a map together with the home’s corresponding price is exactly in line with this thought process.

New features designed to give users an even smoother experience are being developed as we speak. I’m confident that these additional features will continue to delight home searchers until Metrekare becomes Turkey’s real estate search portal of choice.

Even if you’re currently not looking for a home, I encourage you to take a look at Metrekare’s web, smartphone, and iPad applications. They are great examples of how a first principles based approach can produce a great user experience.