Russian real estate developer Samolet Group has launched a digital platform that enables customers to handle all their property-related needs in one place, as companies across industries develop their online ecosystems.
The new platform saves customers time by integrating options to perform various functions related to real estate – from finding, renting or buying an apartment to purchasing furniture, scheduling repairs and setting up property insurance.
Samolet developed the service to assist customers during what is often a stressful and time-consuming period, said managing director Dmitry Volkov at the company’s investor presentation. According to Volkov, this new ‘timeback’ approach brings a new level of service to the industry that harnesses advanced technology to put the customer first.
The platform features its own registration centre and uses predictive sales analytics that enable customers to secure mortgage approval and make real estate transactions fully online. One in four Samolet customers currently close a transaction without visiting a company office, Volkov said.
To offer a furnishing and repair service, Samolet purchased the startup Rerooms earlier this year and integrated it into the platform. The platform offers a total of more than 50 services that include utility and elevator maintenance, moving assistance, and even the option to find a dog walker. The services are available to any platform user, regardless of whether they made a transaction with Samolet.
Samolet specialises in large-scale, full-cycle development projects with a focus on advanced social infrastructure. The company is Russia’s largest developer by size of the land bank and is among the leaders in the country’s real-estate market, where rising middle-class demand for housing, particularly in the capital Moscow, has spurred growth.
The Moscow-listed company is targeting a secondary public offering in New York in 2023 and hopes to use its technology credentials to attract investor attention, according to Samolet CEO Anton Elistratov.
Samolet held an IPO in 2020 that became the first public offering in the Russian real estate industry in nearly a decade. The company additionally plans to spin off its digital platform within three to five years.
The ecosystem race
Digital ecosystems are on the rise as companies expand their services to meet the needs of a customer base that is rapidly moving online. In Russia, the competition is particularly fierce in the tech industry.
NASDAQ-listed tech giant Yandex began as a search engine and has since developed a vast network of online services spanning media streaming, ride-hailing, food delivery and more. The company has recently launched its ultrafast grocery delivery service in London as it expands operations abroad.
E-commerce leader Ozon – Russia’s answer to Amazon that held a wildly successful public offering last year – additionally operates a travel search engine and has launched financial services for buyers and sellers, boosted by a recent bank acquisition.
Elsewhere, the branchless online bank Tinkoff has built a fintech ecosystem that offers a broad range of shopping, entertainment and lifestyle services through Russia’s first ‘superapp’. Tinkoff has emerged as a prominent contender to state-owned Sberbank, the country’s largest lender, which has invested more than $2bn into expanding its own non-banking services.
Building communities online
Community creation has become another area of focus as companies compete for greater customer engagement. Tinkoff created the digital publication Tinkoff Journal, featuring financial and lifestyle articles by experts and regular contributors, as well as the Pulse social network for investors.
In a similar vein, Samolet launched the social network Vmeste.ru that is integrated into its new platform. The network uses geolocation to bring together residents, local business owners and company service providers to solve daily needs.
Samolet ultimately aims to create a broad real estate ecosystem that encompasses offers on the secondary housing market, as well as primary housing options from other developers. The company sees its direct platform audience increasing from the 150,000 residents it currently has under management to 12mn by 2026.
Companies continue to develop new solutions to the digital shift as the global ecosystem race heats up. With Samolet in the game, the Russian real estate industry has become another exciting sector to watch.
This article first appeared in New Economy Observer (NEO), a digital publication covering the intersection between finance and social responsibility, with a special focus on emerging markets. It offers news and analysis on major issues shaping the new global economy, including climate change and renewable energy, sustainable development, e-commerce and tech innovation, and the future of work.