Proptech & Property News: Coadjute and Credas tie-up, Purplebricks share price woes

Andrew Stanton’s daily Property News Briefing in association with Estate Agent Networking.

Coadjute powers forward with strategic Credas tie-up

As I have reported many times, there is an ever-quickening realignment of the major architecture pieces that will run the future of real estate. Software and new technologies are not just automating processes, they are ensuring a much higher grade of service twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Moving through 2022, we are going to see some huge partnership announcements, and the pace of investment in proptech and fintech solutions in the UK property vertical will go through the roof. 

So it comes as no surprise that Coadjute, headed up by Dan Salmons, with the brilliance of John Reynolds as COO, has partnered up with Credas. 

Credas, helmed by CEO Timothy Barnett who is flanked by CTO Kevin Smith, has a very well-regarded organisation that, amongst other things, digitally streamlines the verification of a person’s identity to a very high level.  

As Credas states: “In an increasingly digital world, we often take trust for granted, relying on a person’s honesty. Identity theft is a major issue. Criminals and professional fraudsters are using the internet and inventive ways to assume another person’s identity and commit financial crime. When you’re about to take on a new customer or appoint a new employee, you want to be sure the person is who they say they are.

“With Credas ID checks, the verification process just got a lot simpler. Our ID checking service verifies the person against an identity document, and our technology confirms the identity document is genuine. Results are in real-time, and data stored securely in the cloud, available to you when and where you need it.”

Dan Salmons, CEO of Coadjute

Dan Salmons said that the Coadjute and Credas strategic partnership will “significantly expand the market for digital identification, as for the first time, identity information can not only be collected digitally, but can also be verified and shared between users of participating software platforms.”

The importance of this statement needs to be fully understood, as Coadjute’s prime aim is to be the useful and fast operating system of the whole property ecosystem that quietly sits under all property stakeholders’ operating systems, seamlessly giving clarity to everything.

So with the technology stack of Credas now in the mix, Coadjute’s digital river of information, the ability for users to access key documentation and keep oversight, the problems around AML, ID and KYC will be alleviated, speeding transaction times, enabling agents to do transactional work rather than paperwork, and give lenders and solicitors verified data they can trust at speed.

It has to be pointed out that at this moment in time, with regard to the accreditation/certification process, only UKAS can accredit certification organisations; and then certification organisations will be able to certify identity service providers (IDSPs). But this process has not commenced yet.

So any organisation, unfortunately, cannot claim this at this stage. The only communications that DCMS have issued relating to this subject so far surrounds the alpha self-assessment feedback, but this is not a formal certification against the trust framework.

Hopefully, we will soon be out of the foothills and see mature accredited identity service providers.  

And at this stage, the analogue world of real estate in the UK is dragging itself forward with possibilities of a digitally transformed way of truly being a people business, where software and coding allow for property transactions to flow rather than be a 28-week ordeal that stresses every stakeholder in the process.

In my opinion, in a time of focus on mental well-being, the quicker adoption of sound solutions is going to be key. If vendors and buyers can improve their user journey through the adoption of a tech-enabled approach, it will be a win for all involved.


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Purplebricks share price hits a new low. How long can it hold on? 

Yesterday, Purplebrick’s share price hit 20p. What does this mean? Well, when it was first listed on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) it did so at around 95p a share in 2015. At its height in 2017, the share price was 498p.

That 20p could be the final curtain.

On the face of it, Purplebricks still has plenty of cash in the bank, probably around £50 million, and it does not have the overheads of any physical offices though it does now have PAYE employees. But it is the onrushing financial headwinds that are causing trust in the model to shift, and hence the share price dipping…again.

There is a possible class-action lawsuit on the horizon, regarding whether LPEs were in fact PAYE employees. Purplebrick’s says it will strongly defend its position, though this will be costly and protracted and of course, bring adverse publicity. It could very well be a multi-million-pound drain on their war chest.

Similarly, there is also the possibility they have a lettings liability of anywhere from three to nine million, as it is alleged that they failed to follow the correct procedure when informing tenants of their deposit arrangements. This also brings into view the competency of those in the C-suite. 

Purplebricks share price
Purplebricks share price over the last year. Source: LSE.co.uk

Prior to the demise of Countrywide PLC (not to be confused with Countrywide II, the properly functioning arm of the Connells/Skipton group) who also tripped over on compliance issues on lettings, they got away with a slap on the wrist and a fine in excess of £120,00. But the damage of credibility was impossible to come back from.

Now I seem to always be giving Vic Darvey, or whoever is the CEO at the time, a really bad time. Though it may appear from my coverage that I detest online agents, I do not. I just don’t like online agents when they have very little tech. You know who I mean, the ones whose model is the analogue agency model from the year 2000, with a few digital bells and whistles that mean very little.

If the innovator Henry J. Ford, who started his company in 1903, was around in 2022, he would have invented Tesla cars. In the same way, if he opened a Purplebricks, he would not base it on what had come before but look to do something innovative.

The leap from four-legged travel to four wheels was revolutionary. Yet, Purplebricks has added nothing new to the long process of buying and selling a property. It is both light in tech and light in people, the worst of both worlds, and it is based on that analogue agency model I’m not so fond of. 

What the world is waiting for is the Henry J. Ford online solution, which is the one that will really motor at scale and span the world.

In the meantime, Axel Springer may be forced to do something spectacular to try to save all the multi-millions they invested when the share price was around 120p, not too many moons ago. Maybe there will be a change of guard in the C-suite, but until they sort their technology it will just be a rearranging of the deckchairs on a sinking ship…as the band plays on.




Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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Harry Hill
Harry Hill
8 months ago

Andrew,
It is truly bizarre that almost 15 years since I stepped down from my CEO role at Countrywide, during which time the tech world has transformed many aspects of commerce, and life in general, that the residential sale process has actually become significantly slower and seemingly less efficient.
Whether the merger to which you refer, which I understand, at least in part, attempts to bring blockchain (whatever the hell that is) into play, makes things different remains to be seen. Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath!
As for Purplebricks. Years ago I told my friends the Bruce brothers that for PB to succeed (and with their at the time enormous financial fire power, they had a very sporting chance!) they needed to charge a sensible fee as, in my experience, charging pocket change to provide a quality agency service and create a meaningful return is (in my experience) impossible.
Frankly, they initially did much better than I thought but a combination of unwise International expansion and the recruitment and retention of too many desperately poor senior managers killed the business, which is in my opinion now off to the knackers yard.

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