ASX listing to evolve Openn Negotiation offering
ASX listing to evolve Openn Negotiation offering
Proptech firm Openn Negotiation is gearing up to add to its suite of online property sales platforms, with an upcoming stock market listing to providing investors the opportunity to participate in the company's accelerating growth.
Openn Negotiation announced earlier this month that it was taking its proprietary software platform, which was developed to bring the transparency of auctions to private treaty sales, to the ASX, through a $9 million Initial Public Offering.
Shares are priced at 20 cents, with a minimum application size of 10,000 shares, or $2,000.
The listing is being lead managed by Perth-based financial services firm Euroz Hartleys, while the offer closes on May 24.
Managing director Peter Gibbons told Australian Property Investor Magazine that demand for the Openn Negotiation system had been steadily rising since the company listed its first property on the platform around four years ago.
Openn Negotiation's software allows buyers to participate in a real-time, online bidding process designed to ensure individuals pay an accurate market value for a property.
“Around 12 to 18 months ago, our user base was 90 per cent WA and 10 per cent the rest, it’s now about 30 per cent WA and the balance is the rest,” Mr Gibbons said.
“Regional areas have absolutely taken off, everywhere from Geelong to Bunbury and Broome, and even the Northern Territory is going exceptionally well, it’s becoming a major force.
“In Victoria we thought we’d get some resistance from auctioneers, until they understood that they are also central to the process, so the numbers in Victoria and New South Wales are growing very strongly.
“COVID has probably been helpful as well, we’ve got NSW and Victorian buyers buying property up on the Gold Coast, we’ve got people who couldn’t attend regional auctions who all of a sudden have this platform and they can participate in it.
“It’s quite exciting to see that traction happening fairly quickly.”
Mr Gibbons, whose background is in property development, investment banking and technology development, said he and his co-founders had identified transparency in the private treaty sales process as one of the biggest problems in real estate, and set out to solve it.
“What we looked to do is really come up with a new form of sales method and we used technology to do that,” he said.
“We took the transparency of auctions and married it with the flexibility of private treaty sales.
“We uploaded our first property onto the platform four years ago and we’ve been growing since then.
“We’re now throughout all of Australia and into New Zealand, and we’re running a pilot program in the US.”
Openn Negotiation has monetised the process by charging a $500 fee to list and sell properties on its platform, giving agents an additional tool to get the best price for their vendors.
“What we’ve found is that by using this process and by using this platform they are getting excellent pricing for their properties,” Mr Gibbons said.
“Agents are selling properties in a shorter period of time at really good prices, and that’s their best sell to the sellers.
“Under private treaty it is great that people with flexible terms can participate, subject to finance and whatnot, but they don’t have the transparency around pricing.
“And under auction, it is great for transparency but you don’t have the flexibility around the contract.
“I’d love to say that there is a particular property it works for because it would help with marketing, but the reality is we’ve sold properties for $50,000 and we’ve sold them for $3 million or $4 million so it pretty much works across the gambit of the market.”
Mr Gibbons said Openn Negotiation was currently developing a traditional private treaty platform to add to its offering, while also looking to consolidate the growth of its hybrid model.
In addition to new products, he said the funds raised through the IPO would also enhance Openn Negotiation’s data analytics capabilities.
“We never sought to create an online auction platform at all, it was really transparency in private treaty that was the problem we were trying to solve so we didn’t go after the auction market at all,” he said.
“What we’re finding now is people see this hybrid model as a great opportunity to get that transparency.
“I don’t think we’re going to impact the auction market, there are people that love auctions and love doing it that way and we love auctions for transparency.
“We want to be that one-stop-shop for all real estate transactions. We’ve started with Open Negotiation and now we’re running through all the different methods of sale, so no matter which way the agent wants to sell the property, can still do it through the open platform.”
For prospective investors, Mr Gibbons said he hoped Openn Negotiation’s growth potential would be compelling enough to lure them away from other stocks, property syndicates or bricks and mortar investments.
“Most people, when you explain the problem we’ve solved, which is bringing transparency to real estate, they all get it really quickly - the investors and the mums and dads can see that we’ve solved a problem.
“I think our potential to grow is very strong compared to traditional bricks and mortar because we’ve created something new that’s captured the imagination of real estate agents and the wider market.
“An investment early is the ability to participate in that growth in scale, which creates new opportunities of monetising the data that comes out of it and partnerships with other groups.
“If you think about a real estate transaction it is almost an industry within an industry, once you have secured the property you need finance, insurance, a settlement agent, removalists, all of those groups are interested in dealing with us because we are a transactional platform, we’ve got people who need all of those services at that time.
“So we’ve got the ability to grow our revenue model quite substantially, and as well as growing in Australia we are already in New Zealand and we are looking to other international markets as well.”