This article was originally published in Propertyfinder Trends 2017, Vol 3.
In September, Propertyfinder Group announced it bought 16.7 per cent of Zingat, the fastest growing property and information marketing platform in Turkey.
Zingat was established at the end of 2015 by co-founders Ahmet Kayhan (CEO) and Mehmet Erkek (CTO) with the participation of Doğuş Group, one of the largest conglomerates in Turkey. The portal is on a mission to become the leading property portal in Turkey.
Although it will not affect the day to day operations at Propertyfinder Group’s Dubai headquarters, as Zingat will continue to operate separately, it is an exciting collaboration in a strategic area. The transaction puts Propertyfinder Group in partnership with the strongest Turkish conglomerate, and in a new market of 80 million people.
Here, Ahmet Kayhan, CEO and co-founder, shares some of Zingat’s journey to date.
The name “Zingat” is derived from different words: “Z” taken from the word ‘zillion’ to portray the extent of information Zingat would like to provide the users with;”Ingat” means property in Hungarian, knowledge in Indonesian and trust in Philipino. Hence, Zingat’s slogan: “Property. Information. Trust.”.
Zingat faced fierce competition from established classified horizontals and property verticals in Turkey. To become the top property portal in the country and differentiate itself from others, Zingat has been innovating and providing users and property professionals with new products.
LifeScore (“yaşamSkor” in Turkish) a product we launched in Istanbul, the largest and most populous city in Turkey. Users can indicate three places they spend most of their time, namely, their home, workplace and where they socialise. The algorithm calculates a score over 100 by analysing more than 80 criteria including availability of public transportation, time spent between these three points, number of trees and parks, and other data points supplied by REIDIN, which was my first startup, a property data company I founded in Dubai and Turkey. Zingat then rearranges property listings in the order of properties delivering the largest lifeScore. This product is the first of its kind in the world.
Zingat provides users with statistics so that they would make informed decisions about buying or renting properties. These statistics, called region Reports, include property sales and rental price history, prices for per-square-metre for major cities and districts, as well as demographics like age distribution, marital status distribution, socioeconomic status, and education statistics in a given area.
These reports are also available for brokers and agents to understand region-specific price trends and direct their clients properly and accurately.
Zingat invested in research and development early on, and became the first accredited and state- subsidised R&D centre in the property market at the end of June 2017.
Zingat grew fast by utilising its innovative DNA and support of Doğuş Group’s endorsement to become the second largest property portal in the market. Since January 2016, our number of listings doubled, and the number of brokers increased nine-fold.
Zingat currently lists 250,000 ads, and works with some 6,000 brokers, and 20,000 agents. Monthly sessions reached 6,000,000 this year, and Zingat delivers 215,000 leads to agents every month.
While the information given in our Region Reports provides transparency about a property’s transaction history, the company has put rules in place to protect users’ privacy, such as requiring ads to be taken offline when sold or rented, so that users will not be advertised with outdated listings.
Since January 2016, our number of listings doubled, and the number of brokers increased nine-fold.
Zingat has two applications targeting end-users and property professionals seperately. The B2C app makes browsing listings and information much easier for users who are on the move. Since 70 per cent of web sessions already originate from mobile devices, we also rolled-out a Whatsapp message option (on our mobile site and B2C app) for users to contact agents, which was a hit both for the users and the agents.
Our B2B app is named ZingatPRO. Using ZingatPRO, agents are able to rapidly deploy their new inventory on zingat.com on their smart phones without the need for an office. Almost 40 per cent of our agents are using the app already.
Zingat not only focuses on second-hand properties, but also new developments. We released a subscription-based marketing product called ZPP, Zingat Performance Platform, for developers. By signing up, ZPP developers get a specific number of leads based on their preferred user segment every month.
All of these products and initiatives contribute to our goal of getting consumers together with the right property professionals using the power of data and information.
Michael Lahyani and his team at Propertyfinder, with the help of an impressive list of shareholders, built Propertyfinder Group to be the biggest and strongest real estate portal network in the MENA region.
Now, proudly, Zingat has become a key part of that network.
EDUCATION Management Engineering, Istanbul Technical University
HIS WORDS At Zingat.com, we are disrupting an established, competitive market using the power of a great team, data science, strong execution, and the right partners in Turkey. Hence we want to tell our story so we can reach out to entrepreneurs and business partners who think alike to extend our reach and impact.
KEY INSIGHT “In God we trust, all the rest should bring data.”