Headquartered in Singapore, Straits Home provides realtors with quick and affordable media solutions such as video production, photography, and 3D virtual tours.
KrASIA had a chat with Scofield Li, executive director and founder of Straits Home, to find out how the firm leverages technology in real estate marketing.
KrASIA (Kr): Tell us about how you came up with the idea of starting Straits Home.
Scofield Li (SL): The idea of Straits Home came to me when the pandemic hit, and physical property viewings became challenging. I saw a gap in the market for a one-stop media content services for properties and decided to fill it. As a serial entrepreneur with years of expertise in digital twin and 3D Virtual Tour technology, I felt confident in my ability to launch a successful business.
What we do is create a digital twin copy of each property online, which allows potential buyers to preview and screen properties before scheduling an in-person viewing. Our services also include professional photography and a home tour video showcasing the property’s unique selling points.
Kr: Share with us how Straits Home differentiates itself from competitors in the market.
SL: AI decluttering is a revolutionary product that we are launching soon, and we are proud to be the first movers in this space. Our AI algorithm enhances the photos of properties, virtually decluttering them to showcase their potential. This is far more productive than manually using photoshop to edit the photos. Agents can now use more impressive and realistic photos to attract the attention of viewers, and buyers and tenants can visualize how the property will look after handover, even if it is currently occupied or cluttered.
Our one-stop property content solution for real estate agents includes affordable production and advertising options that are tailored to meet their specific needs. We also have an extensive customer pool and targeted marketing services to ensure maximum visibility for our clients’ properties. Our team has also created short video content to be marketed on emerging platforms, such as TikTok.
Kr: Can you share with us the technologies that your startup is leveraging?
SL: AI-powered decluttering is a technology that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to ‘clean up’ and declutter photos of properties. The technology works by analyzing the image, and identifying and removing unnecessary or distracting elements, leaving behind only the most important and relevant information.
This helps showcase the true potential of the property and helps real estate agents effectively market their properties to potential buyers and tenants.
We also leverage digital twin technology to create a virtual tour of a property. The virtual tour is a digital representation of the property that provides a 360-degree view of the interior and exterior, as well as other important information about the property. This information can be used by potential buyers or tenants to make informed decisions about a property before scheduling an in-person viewing.
Kr: Tell us about your funding rounds.
SL: Currently, we have not raised any funding for Straits Home. Despite that, we are in a financially healthy position and have been able to sustain our growth through our business operations.
However, we are now exploring early-stage funding opportunities to accelerate our growth and bring our innovative technology and services to more clients.
Kr: What do you think are some major challenges in the real estate industry?
SL: The real estate industry is currently facing several challenges in the market, including digitalization and changes in consumer behavior.
Firstly, as more consumers are turning to digital channels to search for properties, there is a growing demand for high-quality digital content such as virtual tours, professional photography, and home tour videos. Agents are also adapting to these changes, with an increased focus on providing comprehensive marketing services that leverage digital technology. This trend has resulted in a higher adoption rate of 3D virtual tours and other digital content, which are becoming increasingly important for attracting and retaining clients.
Another challenge facing the real estate industry is the current market environment, with high interest rates and property cooling measures that are affecting transaction volumes and the cost and effort required from agents in property marketing.
However, at Straits Home, we are well-positioned to address these challenges through our focus on digitalization and innovation in the property marketing space.
Kr: What are your plans for expansion?
SL: Our current focus is on establishing a strong foundation in Singapore as a testbed for our solutions. Through this process, we aim to gather valuable insights and learnings that will allow us to refine and optimize our products and services. Once we have honed our offerings in Singapore, our plan is to expand to other high-growth regions, starting with other countries in Southeast Asia as well as in the West like the US.
Besides expanding our team, we are also looking to build strong partnerships with other companies in the region. This will help us to increase our reach and bring new solutions to market faster.
Finally, our agenda also includes sorting out a process to secure funding, which will be used to support our growth and expansion plans. This will give us the resources we need to take our company to the next level and achieve our long-term goals.