PHOTO: Relab

An easy interface for property searchers such as real estate agents, created by Auckland property data company Relab, has captured a quarter of New Zealand’s real estate agent market.

Last year, real estate agents accessing the centrally accessible property data through Relab’s platform, the first of its kind in New Zealand, increased sales by 30 percent.

CEO Knight Hou (pictured), who starting working on Relab with co-founder and CFO Leon Hong in 2016, created the platform from scratch to “enable, empower and inspire” real estate agents as they analyse and assess the potential of any property opportunity quickly.

“There was no holistic way of capturing all that information into one place,” Hou said. “There was no unique way to identify every property. Now there is.

“We do the hard job of getting all the data together – it is public data visualised in a very neat way. We go wide and go deep and provide real estate agents the bulk of their information in a very easy-to-consume way,” Hou said. “That’s our point of difference.”

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So far 25 percent of the country’s real estate agree. Previously, collating the data themselves was a mundane time-consuming job. Despite primarily servicing the market in just Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown, Relab has increased its nationwide market share by 250 percent in 12 months. The company secured $1M investment from investors including Icehouse Ventures in 2021, and is eyeing global expansion with sights set on Australia as the next port of call.

But Relab did not happen without long hours and hard work. Hong and Hou spent three years creating their startup, working weekends and evenings to build up their technical capability.


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After migrating to New Zealand from China, Hou spent 15 years working for some of New Zealand’s largest corporates such as Air New Zealand, but wished he’d started Relab (the first two letters of the startup name signify “real estate”) well before 2016.

“My biggest regret is that I didn’t leave the corporate world sooner,” says Hou.

Relab also managed to increase its customer base on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, but were Hou to start Relab now, he’d make a few changes, in a startup he calls his ‘passion’.

“Sometimes you must keep going without seeing fruition – the passion and purpose is what drives you.

“My advice to myself six years ago would be before I even coded the first line of code I’d be talking to people first, as you never know who your end customer might be.”