Applications are now open for the eighth cohort of Brigade REAP, the first PropTech focused accelerator in Asia
Across the world and especially in India, the real estate sector hadn’t taken up to embracing technology, at least not as rapidly as sectors like retail, healthcare or finance. Over the past couple of years, that situation changed steadily. Early adopters and proptech proponents continued to work relentlessly towards increased awareness and adoption and their work had begun to catalyse change. Today, the sector has opened up to Blockchain integrations, Virtual Reality, Big Data, Computer Vision, IoT, Nanotechnology and the like. This adoption of technology has been a major driver towards addressing traditional inefficiencies in the system. And, now the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in a sense of immediacy and wide appeal to proptech.
“Brigade REAP has been getting a lot of reach-ins from the real estate developer community across the country through the ongoing crisis. They are coming to us clearly articulating their challenges, some of which need urgent attention. For instance, how to push sales when people are reluctant to visit sites, or what automation processes are possible to reduce human dependency” says Nirupa Shankar, the Executive Director, of Brigade Group and also the Director at Brigade Real Estate Accelerator Program (REAP), pointing out to the fast-changing scene in the real estate sector.
The first proptech focused accelerator in Asia, Brigade REAP, has been a major catalyst of change in real estate technology adoption for over three years now and has been instrumental in supporting the growth of proptech canvas in India.
Resonating with startups and real estate businesses
Since its inception in 2016, Brigade REAP has been at the forefront of articulating the industry’s pressing problems and bridging the solutions gap by connecting with startups addressing those issues. “That has ensured resonance between startups and their customers. One of our core activities is to help startups arrive at pricing and business models that remove the friction from adoption and uncover a path to growth,” shares Nirupa.
The accelerator has so far mentored 30 startups, of which 12 have received external funding. This includes startups like QwikSpec, Snaptrude, WEGoT, AKP, PParke, Renewate, Clairco, CREMatrix, PropsAMC, Exprs, Nanorama and PropVR. The startups have won the confidence of top investors such as Accel Partners, HDFC Capital, GoFrugal, Pidilite, Better Capital, Angel List, Brigade Enterprises, besides Architects, Developers and Angel Investors such as Mohandas Pai.
A hands-on support for startups to create scale and sustainable businesses
The four-month-long accelerator programme is well-structured to cover all aspects that help in creating scalable and sustainable businesses. It focuses on areas like product management, technology, strategy, marketing, HR, PoC, Finance, Legal, IP, traction and marketing. The structured programme is led by a handpicked panel of mentors who bring in their expertise across the various disciplines. A key highlight, which all the startups who have been part of the programme, vouch for is the accelerator’s ability to provide access to customers. In fact, all the startups have received business from the real estate ecosystem and on average have grown by 135 percent.
Sharing how Brigade REAP makes this challenging feat possible for its startups, Nirupa, shares, “Each startup’s acceleration journey begins with validation by the Brigade team. The evaluations are based on domain and possible outcomes from the interventions. Post the validation exercise, the accelerator helps startups re-evaluate their pricing and business models and then takes them out to various CREDAI chapters and other associations.” She adds, “Developers who have benefited from using the services of startups in prior cohorts continue to stay connected with Brigade REAP and are many times early adopters of solutions of startups who graduate through the programme.”
In addition to the strength of the startup’s solution, and the other learnings help in the holistic development of the startup, one of the key factors that has aided Brigade REAP’s startups win investor confidence can be traced back to the accelerator’s investment mentors. These mentors share insights on an on-going basis that helps the startups face investors and the financial challenges that come along the way. The accelerator also introduces investors to its cohorts, helps the teams develop an in-depth investor pitch, business plan and the opportunity to present it to investors.
“The accelerator is certainly growing as an impact player for the ecosystem and we are undertaking some exciting new initiatives this year to take this wider and deeper,” says Nirupa.
Applications open for Brigade REAP’s eight cohort
The accelerator is accepting applications from startups for its eighth cohort. The accelerator is looking out for startups working in the areas of nanotechnology, cleantech, visual computing, logistics and supply chain, with a strong focus on solving challenges in real estate, hospitality and retail. Key criteria for applying for the programme are that the startups must have an established POC and must be able to demonstrate traction.
“The mentioned technologies are guidelines and the list is not limited to it. That said, the most important aspect is the relevance of the problem that each startup is addressing. It has to be a real problem for the industry at large,” explains Nirupa.
In the last three years, the accelerator has received applications from 1600+ startups. Given that only 25 startups have made it to the programme speaks volumes for the rigorous selection process. The accelerator programme has two separate juries to help with the shortlisting. While the first jury consists of the Brigade Leaderships and industry partners, the second jury consists of some of the top investors in India. Brigade REAP has had consistent participation from the likes of Inventus, Kalaari, HDFC Capital and CBRE.
Having played the role of a change agent in the real estate industry with its razor-sharp focus on propetch and its adoption and having created a compelling platform for PropTech startups to scale and sustain their business, Brigade REAP will continue this journey with its eight cohort.