Mark Nosworthy, CEO, Bproperty

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You have had a noteworthy career in the online business platforms that include eCommerce, AdTech, and FinTech. Could you detail your career? What dynamics do you plan to implement in Bproperty?
I have a finance background, having studied to be a Chartered Accountant and worked in the UK after university for 7 years before relocating to the Middle East in 2010 where I began working with online and fast growth businesses. In 2010 I joined Clicksco, which at the time was a small company though we had a great team and we saw a lot of opportunities online that we aggressively went after. We learned a lot through trial and error, had a lot of fun, and importantly enjoyed some very significant successes that led to that business becoming a leading online company. I moved away from Clicksco in 2017 believing that I needed to set some other personal goals for myself to achieve and joined EMPG (Emerging Markets Property Group) that owns Bproperty.com here in Bangladesh, and have enjoyed the ride for the past 12.

For me, working with online businesses, or any business for that matter, there has to be three things: vision, a passion for what you are trying to do and a great group of people that you get along with. The Internet never stops and therefore the business never stops. Vision helps maintain the end goal that you are striving to achieve given there are always a lot of opportunities that can present themselves as distractions. You are always effectively working and striving to achieve new things and therefore you need to have a passion for what you do as well as a great team around you that you enjoy working with else you will lack motivation at the times when you need it the most – the times when you are tired and when things are not working well. It is this passion and the group of people you have that help you through it.

With a degree from reputable universities, what are the takeaways that you have learned during your academic life? How does that knowledge apply to your career life?
I graduated from Wollongong University and attended some courses at Harvard Business School. Academic life gives you the knowledge base that allows you to understand the real world. Working in the real world and gaining experiences is different to what you study as you are now dealing with real people, their motivations, their personal objectives and emotions and nothing can teach you that at the university. University gives you the core understanding on a subject matter, gives you an expectation on what to look for in certain situations and you then build personal experiences upon this to give you a well-rounded view of the world.

I would not change my many years of studying though I have also learned that nothing can replace real-life experience and the ability to work through problems and situations yourself. Nothing teaches you about perseverance, failure, dealing with other people appropriately in order to achieve what you want or the feeling of success like real life does. It is in those moments where you learn most about yourself, other people and how to operate in certain situations.

The real estate market has seen exponential growth and value in the recent years which has led to the saturation of real estate companies. What makes Bproperty a standout company amongst its competition?
Bproperty is very different from the other real estate companies in Bangladesh. The other companies are mainly developers or involved in the construction of new buildings. Bproperty is independent of all of this, working with the individual seller and the developer or property owner to help assist in real estate transactions. We provide services to both buyers and sellers, tenants and landlords allowing transactions to be done efficiently as well as securely, by offering all parties access to independent advice on properties, legal issues and routes to financing your home. We know that Bangladesh currently does not have access to the advice or information that they require in order to engage in real estate with full confidence; our job is to make the process of buying or selling a home, or renting a home to be efficient and done with ease, allowing all parties to trust each other. Therefore Bproperty is a business partner of the other real estate companies in Bangladesh, working with them to sell their properties in a quick and more efficient manner.

We see a lot of demand in Bangladesh for property every day – the saturation of developers I believe is largely due to a lack of differentiation in the product range that is available to consumers. A lot of products are very similar and therefore looking to attract the same customer. There is a lot of demand in Bangladesh however it is in different areas with different product requirements – yes, consumers need to be educated about the implications for more affordable products and the geographical areas in Bangladesh that are suitable for this, however, working together with both consumers and developers, we can open up a lot of opportunities for Bangladesh real estate companies.

“Bproperty is very different to the other real estate companies in Bangladesh. The other companies are mainly developers or involved in the construction of new buildings. Bproperty is independent of all of this, working with the individual seller and the developer or property owner to help assist in real estate transactions.”

Bproperty allows users to filter searches according to price range, location, and size across Bangladesh. How do you maintain success and quality with such a large and eclectic portfolio?
Technology. It literally is the only way. We have experience in operating other portals in other countries and we know that the only way to manage this business is through technology and having a strong focus on technology and data in the business. It is this data that we base all of our decisions on, and therefore we spend a lot of time ensuring that it is accurate and up to date which benefits the company as well as the consumer who accesses this information every day.  Furthermore, we don’t rely on third-party data for our site – all data, images, and content has been personally verified, for EVERY property on the website, so we know we have confidence in this data. It is this that sets us apart from other portals in the market who rely on third-party data, without verification, which can be misleading to consumers.

We believe it is part of our role in Bangladesh, as the expert in real estate, to provide this information to consumers in Bangladesh.  As I said previously, this country is lacking the information that allows them to interact with this industry with confidence, and we, therefore, take a lot of pride in ensuring that this data is accurate, up to date, for everyone to access.

What are the challenges in marketing properties online in a country where the practice is not common? How do you believe that this process can be promoted?
Internet penetration rates in this country are, whilst growing, still low and therefore education is required in order to have the market access this content regularly online. At the moment, many assume the Internet is Facebook which is definitely not the case. Therefore, marketing becomes both an online and offline challenge that must be solved in order to provide this market education.

Your online blog (Bhome) generates content related to housing challenges and advice for residence. Could you detail the market penetration of this blog? How do you believe it will create a broader market?
We started this blog fairly recently as we recognize that buying or renting a property in Bangladesh is more than just buying or renting – this is the start of someone building a home for their families, providing security and somewhere they can enjoy into the future. This blog is helping to promote messages around helping Bangladeshi’s ensure that this financial transaction becomes the home that they dream it will be – ensuring that they look for the possible problems when buying or renting; choosing the right area for them as well as even ideas to make their home more “homely”.  We are the experts in real estate in Bangladesh; it is our job to be that expert and help people understand as much as possible ahead of making their real estate decisions.

I do believe that the real estate industry lacks confidence – lacks confidence in developers to finish the product on time and to the specification agreed; confidence in consumers to fulfill payment obligations when necessary. By understanding and discussing these challenges openly, providing solutions for these and then working with all parties to find the right home for them, I believe that the market will grow significantly in the coming years. Confidence allows people to be more assured when making a real estate decision, and it is through this that we will all benefit from a larger real estate market.

Bangladesh has a growing number of social media users. How do you plan to use your Facebook and Instagram page to increase the marketing of your company?
We will use this for the promotion of properties in different ways and also those key messages that we believe Bangladeshi’s need to read. This information will also appear on our blog and always available on our website, however, it helps to reaffirm the messages to the Bangladesh community.

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