GBuilder solves home design headaches, says proptech pioneer

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Karl Tomusk

Mark Witherspoon, one of the early proponents of home tech in the 2000s, praised Finnish startup GBuilder for “solving the complexity” of winning over customers by delivering exactly what they want in their homes.

Witherspoon, who joined GBuilder as an advisor this month, said PlaceTech that while providing customers with choice often leads to more complexity — and, therefore, additional time and cost — the startup caught their attention by simplifying the customer journey.

GBuilder digitizes properties with 3D and VR visualizations, providing a platform where developers can talk to clients and guide them through design choices or preferences.

Traditionally, offering choice in interior design would have been a manual, paper-based, error-prone process, Witherspoon said. Home builders may want to offer more choices, but that comes with complications. He said, “I think [GBuilder] addresses the complexity that the developer and contractor would face if they had to meet customer needs. »

Home Data Innovator

Witherspoon was one of the pioneers of the UK’s automated valuation model market in the early 2000s, introducing data services that calculated house values ​​using computer modelling.

After launching UKValuation, he served as CEO of competitor Hometrack. Witherspoon then spent more than nine years at Zoopla, where he served as director of data services until 2018.

In recent years, he has become a prolific advisor and non-executive director of proptech, holding positions at companies including TwentyCi, SmartViewing, Flexify and Yourkeys.

Witherspoon said he saw “great potential” in GBuilder in the UK market. After facilitating the construction of 40,000 housing units – mainly in Scandinavia and Central Europe – GBuilder raised €2 million in early 2021 to accelerate its growth in several European markets.

Giving Home Builders a Competitive Edge

GBuilder’s BIM-enabled product allows users to configure their space in virtual reality, make material choices, modify requests or requirements, and communicate with other parties involved in building or selling the home.

By allowing more choice, GBuilder provides a competitive advantage to its users, Witherspoon said. “[Developers] could continue to build 20 identical properties and hope to find 20 buyers who are quite happy to move in.

“But then you have to question the sustainability of that model, because at some point customers have choices – and they will start exercising those choices. It will be these developers who will search, why is my business failing? »

The pressure for homes to meet individual needs, particularly if people continue to work from home, is growing, Witherspoon said, and that will require a personal touch.

“Being able to introduce that notion of choice and do something more personal, more bespoke, as you build a home – not just a place to live – becomes more and more important,” he said.

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