Property tech start-up that offers agents ‘digital assistant’ gets Google backing in a first

A property management firm, AskPorter, has received backing from Google.

The London-based proptech start-up has been chosen as Google’s first international investment as part of its Assistant Investments Program.

AskPorter utilises machine learning and artificial intelligence.

It offers agents and landlords a digital artificial assistant, Porter, which allows them to automate their workflows.

Over time AskPorter learns, adapts and automates how agents work in a customisable way.

Tenants can also use the service, which provides a 24/7 concierge accessible by voice and text.

As part of the investment, AskPorter will have access to support and resources from Google’s technical, product, and business development teams.

Tom Shrive, founder and CEO of AskPorter, said: “We will be using the funds to attract more world-class talent into our team and build our product in preparation for our Series A early next year, for which we are seeing strong interest from investors.”

AskPorter also announces the launch of ‘Porter Pioneers’ for its first users – 15 property agencies and institutional landlords.

Lasting for six months beginning in January, the AskPorter team will work closely with these users in automating their unique workflows.

Curran McKay, CCO at AskPorter, said: “We have had unprecedented demand, with over 130 real estate companies from across the world wanting to use our platform.

“By staging our onboarding, Porter Pioneers will provide these 15 clients with an unparalleled opportunity to transform their business in a low-cost, low-risk way.

“We will combine pioneering natural language processing and machine learning technology alongside a consultative approach, and working closely over six months we will provide these companies with a state of the art AI property management platform.”

AskPorter was founded in 2016 by Tom Shrive and Samuel Tassell. It is a portfolio company of proptech incubator Pi Labs, and backers include former LSL director David Newnes, plus ex-Dragon James Caan.

At the start of this year, it announced raising over £500,000 from investors. It has not disclosed the value of the Google backing.

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13 Comments

  1. smile please

    I can only guess this is a press release from the company?

    I have read the story twice now and still no clearer what it does or the benefits. All I know for sure is it is called ‘AskPorter’ as it is mentioned about 20 times!

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    1. DarrelKwong43

      Agreed, makes little sense to me

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      1. CurranMcKay

        Hi both,
         
        Apologies for the lack of clarity-we’ll be working with Google to automate all parts of the lettings process for an agent-so arranging viewings to requesting references, dealing with broken boilers etc.
         
        Our Pioneers programme lasts for six months and will see us partner with fifteen residential, commercial & specialist real estate companies. We’ll then understand how their business works and help to automate it.
         
        [Sentence removed as it breached posting rules]

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        1. smile please

          I would spend a chunk of that funding on a copywriter / marketing manager

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  2. ArthurHouse02

    “Porter, make me a cup of coffee, please”

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    1. seenitall

      Tenant:   my heating is not working and a fence has blown over in the very high wind.

       

      ask Porter:  is this right?  You are not keeping on working and the French own the wizards wand?

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      1. CurranMcKay

        Seen it all? 😉

         

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5VN56jQMWM

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        1. smile please

          I hate that i lways come across dumping on the dreams of every ‘Prop Tech’ company but it just will not work like that video.
           
          I get automated calls for PPI, Car crashes all the time, you can tell they are automated. I also want to have a conversation with a person and interact. This does not allow it.
           
          Factor in the the timewasters, buyers, sellers, tenants, tradespeople …… The industry is littered with them. We need to properly screen them before making a booking.
           
          Best of luck, you will need it. But as Johnnie posted in another story this morning, we have a knack of spotting the services / providers that will not amount to much.
           
          You are making the same mistake as hundres if not thousands before you. Property is a relationship based business. 

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          1. Property Pundit

            PIE becomes ‘Dragon’s Den’!

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  3. GeorgeHammond78

    Alexa, turn Ask Porter off and see if Ask Jeeves is still alive…..

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    1. dwell

      And the award for the most EA comment goes to….

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  4. AgencyInsider

    My usual question when faced with bo**ock-speak.

    Is this a game-changer or a disruptor? It’s very important that we know.

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  5. PepeM

    Another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist !

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