#TECH: Property-buying made easy
Start-up MHub aims to simplify the process of purchasing properties.
ANYONE who has bought a property before will be familiar with the time-consuming, manual, pen-and-paper process.
Having experienced this personally, Quek Wee Siong decided to create a start-up called MHub, aimed at providing people with a simple and seamless property-buying process.
“Property transactions usually take between six and nine months. It’s a waste of time and opportunity for those involved,” said Quek.
“I’ve been trying to look for a better alternative, such as a tech solution, but to no avail. Since other industries have adopted technology, why not real estate?” he asked rhetorically.
So in 2015, Quek, together with Jason Ding, co-founded MHub. Ding is currently chief marketing officer. Others in the team are chief security officer Joshua Ong and chief technology officer Jon Saw.
According to Ding, MHub is a property platform that focuses on tech solutions “to speed up, simplify and save costs in a property transaction”.
MHub is not comprised of just one app but a whole suite of them. These apps unite developers, banks, lawyers, real estate agents and buyers.
The platform is available nationwide with the exception of Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu.
“We realised that while real estate is the world’s largest asset class, it’s also one of the slowest in adopting technology.
“This is due to different parties taking part in a highly multi-regulated industry. But we’ve decided that the goal is worth pursuing,” said Ding.
He added: “From the developer to the end buyers, everyone has different roles in transacting a property. The entire estate sale process takes a long time to finalise as there are so many aspects to it — loan eligibility, lawyers, documents, etc.
“With multiple parties involved, we’ve decided to close the gaps with apps.”
Quek Wee Siong (left) and Jason Ding.
HOW IT WORKS
With MHub’s suite of 10 apps, the whole process of buying properties is addressed, quickened and simplified.
Throughout it all, the buyer is linked to developers, real estate agents, bankers, lawyers and more.
“For instance, customers may want to view a property but because of Covid-19, they can’t. With MHub, tools are available for developers to show their properties virtually to prospective customers,” said Ding
“Customers can also check their creditworthiness as well as the loan they can get from banks. The tools ease the transaction journey,” he added.
For instance, one of the apps, Mortgage Bankers, contains information on booking forms as well as loan applications.
Meanwhile, the MHub Lawyer app lets customers retrieve purchaser information and schedule appointments with developers or agents.
Not knowing much about property technology was one of the biggest challenges for the MHub founders.
“There was no precedent to what we were doing. There was also the need to secure funding to pursue our dream. The team also faced multiple rejections initially.
“It took some time before we gained the trust of several property developers. We attribute this to grit and a healthy approach to problem-solving,” said Ding.
Current market conditions have accelerated digital adoption, he added.
“Covid-19 has made it necessary for end-to-end transactions to be done via social distancing.
“During the first Movement Control Order (MCO) in March last year, we launched the ‘MCO — MHub Can Online’ digital campaign and successfully transacted 222 bookings in the first two weeks. This was significant as the rest of the market was almost at a standstill.
“Though it was challenging, it was a breakthrough for us. More developers have now placed their trust in MHub to navigate the pandemic economy seamlessly,” said Quek.
The MHub team.
IN GOOGLE’S SHORTLIST
From its humble beginnings, MHub is now recognised as a market leader and the platform of choice for 10 out of the 15 top Malaysian developers.
MHub’s effort has also been recognised regionally. In August last year, it was selected as one of 14 tech start-ups from Southeast Asia to join the Google for Startup SEA Accelerator Programme.
The programme is dedicated to growth phase start-ups, with experts providing leadership training suited for their business.
“We are the only Malaysian company to join this programme. The three-month online programme entails founders to outline the technical challenges of their start-ups. They will then be paired with Google experts and those from the industry to solve the challenges and expand their business,” Ding said.
“We’ve learnt how to navigate the pandemic. Experts shared the best-practices and frameworks for us to implement and all these have shown results.
“We aim to make MHub the go-to prop-tech company used by everyone. Our goal is to be the standard for all property sales transactions in Southeast Asia. In two years' time, we hope to expand to five countries in this region,” said Ding.