The inspiration for a new business often comes from looking at an old business in a new light.
“The three of us had been in the real estate industry for seven to ten years when we realized we could use technology to provide property agents and consumers with a better visual experience in terms of viewing property,” said Dave Teo, head of operations for V360 Property.com.
In 2014, Teo joined forces with Winson Chan and Richard Yuen to bring virtual walkthrough technology to Singapore’s property markets.
“We saw a gap in the market,” said Richard Yuen, who is responsible for V360 software and hardware technology. “A home or office is a three-dimensional space. Typical photographs can’t do justice – and I say that as a huge photography enthusiast. Wouldn’t it be better if people could view a virtual tour of a home from their computer or smart phone?”
V360 videos are not home-made movies slapped up on YouTube.
“Quality is our watchword,” said Winson Chan, who wears two hats as head of web development and finance. “Our videos simulate a person walking through a home or through an office.”
In order to achieve this reality experience for end users, the V360 team shoots the space in one seamless movement.
Then, they process the video and overlay it with navigational tools that allow the viewer to cursor from one room to the other, as if they were actually physically walking through each room.
“Unlike traditional video that you must rewind to go back to a particular room,” said Yuen, “V360 gives you a unique user experience as you can use the cursor or navigation tools to move effortlessly from the living room to the kitchen back to the living room and up and down the staircase. It’s like an interactive video game.”
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, the trio could not quit their day jobs in the beginning and had to start V360 out of their homes.
The three entrepreneurs started applying virtual tours to their property listings and, then, expanded the technology to their colleagues. Next, they branched out to interior designers and other commercial enterprises that would benefit from video documentation.
“As practitioners in the real estate industry, we understand the business of marketing property. Today, if an agent wants a listing to stand out, it is essential that he or she uses every medium of marketing, including virtual walkthrough technology,” said Teo, “Otherwise the home will be lost in the noise.”
By the beginning this year, they had worked out how they could deliver the technology at a very affordable cost. This allowed their business to take off. In April, they made it official by incorporating the company and moving out of their homes into an office space.
“For the cost of an affordable classified ad,” said Teo, “An agent can receive a permanent, quality video that they can distribute on the property portals and all social networking channels.”
“Many of our clients use our virtual tours as calling cards,” added Winston. “The videos are permanent so agents can use them to show prospective sellers how they will market their homes.”
What’s next for the trio?
“This month, we teamed up with SRX.com.sg and its sister property portal, STProperty.sg, to distribute our videos and make them a permanent part of the fabric of Singapore’s property markets,” said Yuen.
Also, the three entrepreneurs have quit their day jobs to go full time at V360 with the goal of making their videos the new market standard.