Ray White, Australia’s largest real estate group, has invested in Canberra start-up real estate portal Zango.
It’s a significant indication of the impact Zango has had on the Canberra market after facing down major resistance from the previously dominant Allhomes portal.
Allhomes, also originally a Canberra start-up before its sale to Domain, is now owned by Channel 9, while Zango is owned and operated by local agents and investors.
Ray White remains a family-owned and controlled group and sells one in every nine homes on the Australian market. Manager director Dan White is the fourth generation of the family to head the group, which was founded in rural Queensland in 1902.
He says that Zango’s local values and focus on price have been a good fit for the company.
“Across our network, there has been a strong desire to evolve the relationships that agencies have with the major property portals and to retain more of the value created by moving house in the pockets of consumers and their local communities.”
Zango CEO Darryn McRae said the new property portal has brought much-needed competition to the industry.
“Zango has been widely embraced by the local Canberra and Queanbeyan agent communities, allowing us to save property owners in excess of $2.4 million in marketing fees,” Mr McRae said.
“Zango also sponsors a number of community groups and has raised in excess of $70,000 for Hands Across Canberra in just 12 short months.
“It’s a tremendous acknowledgment of our circular business ambitions, and combined local impact, to have attracted the national attention of Australia’s largest real estate group so quickly.”
The Zango portal was developed collaboratively by a group of local agents with buy-in from local operators to create a wholly local platform for the sector.
Zango directors are Canberrans, and all the participants are local businesses who say they’ve been driven by the desire to create a better and more affordable real estate experience. Marketing in the sector as a whole has been heavily driven in recent years by externally owned portals.
Since its launch in February 2020, Zango has gone head to head with major media players in real estate, promising lower costs and the desire to provide a cleaner and more intuitive property search experience for consumers.
“Zango was built to provide a transparent platform for the real estate industry to come together and collaborate for the benefit of the consumer and their local communities,” Zango director Ben Faulks said.
“The White family has taken a generational view on the real estate industry and see the potential in what we’ve built to date.
“Getting a majority of local agencies to support a start-up that’s going head-to-head with the media giants of our time has created a unique footing for us to drive meaningful change.”
Mr Faulks said the family’s investment wouldn’t affect the operations or direction of the company as they hadn’t requested a board seat.
“What’s great about the White family’s investment is that they’re happy to take a small stake in the company but make a large contribution,” he said.
Real estate tech entrepreneurs Peter and Andrea Blackshaw, more than 80 local real estate agencies and Region Media directors Tim White (the former Allhomes chief executive) and Michael McGoogan are also shareholders in the venture.