Software supplier Reapit is to launch a new platform-as-a-service which will work like Apple’s App Store.
A new partnership programme, Reapit says this is a game changer for the industry.
Anyone, including external developers, will be able to develop their own apps and, once vetted and approved, put them on the Reapit platform.
Reapit customers will then be able to pick and choose third party solutions that have already been tried and tested, and have been integrated into the cloud-based platform.
In addition, estate and letting agents will be able to put their own apps on the platform, developed and available just for their own staff’s use.
Such apps could, for example, include repairs reporting, inventory, electronic signature and viewings services.
Reapit’s core customer relationship management and property management software will not be changing.
However its new platform-as-a-service, called Foundations, is intended to push the boundaries.
Reapit chief executive Gary Barker said: “We are the first to be doing this and the potential is massive. We have been working on it for 12 to 15 months, and plan to go live with it before the end of the year.
“By opening up our platform as a service and making it easy to develop new tools, we can significantly speed up global innovation in the property software market, and give our customers an unlimited choice of tools for their business growth.
“In October we’ll be launching it in a roadshow with some of our partners – proptech firms and also some of our larger customers, including Savills, Countrywide and LSL, who are keen to integrate their own apps, created for their own staff.
“CRM systems are usually closed shops, but this is going to be very different.
“Third party providers of AML, floorplans, tenancy referencing etc, could all find a place on our platform, with a ready-made audience of 40,000 users.”
Barker said that the exercise started with the feeling that the bigger proptech companies should be helping the smaller players, and make integration easier.
It is an approach that could be fraught with danger – hence the vetting process: “We need to make sure that the suppliers are verifiable and trustworthy,” said Barker.
He said: “We believe there is a big opportunity to drive an entire ecosystem of innovation and to standardise customer data, giving customers more choice and simplified IT management.
“The vision therefore was the development of a platform that would allow Reapit and our partners to work together earlier, from the point of feature development, to accelerate the innovation of solutions that will enhance the entire customer journey.
“The really exciting part is how it not only helps proptech companies come together and innovate, but how it empowers our customers to also develop on the platform, creating unique apps and workflow solutions that give their businesses the competitive edge they are looking for software to deliver.
“We see this as a game changer for the industry and ultimately will replace any need for property agencies to develop their own CRM system or software.”
It has been a momentous couple of years for Reapit, where there was a management shake-up last year in which long-standing ‘face’ of the company Simon Whale left. Two years ago, Barker and Whale helped lead a £50m management buy-out, backed by US equity firm Accel-KKR.
Since that deal, Barker says Reapit has grown both by size and revenue, taking on 57 people in its offices in the UK and Australia, and growing revenue by 67% in the last year.
The firm now employs 247 staff in the UK offices, in London, Solihull, Milton Keynes and Leeds.
In the past year, says Barker, Reapit signed up more estate agency customers than ever before, and now provides the software behind 30% of all transactions in the UK.
Anyone interested in the October launch event can sign up at: www.reapit.com/paaslaunch