If anyone knows about PropTech, it’s Canadian real estate tech leader Tim Ng.
The Toronto native grew up in a North York condominium and now creates game-changing real estate solutions to seamlessly simplify the buying and selling of condo developments throughout North America.
“There are countless headlines that have questioned how kids can grow up in condos without a backyard; raising a family in a condo was only made a viable option for long-term over the past 5-6 years,” says Ng. “Because I grew up in condos, I know how well-designed buildings should function and what amenities residents may enjoy. That’s helped give me a solid background.”
Ng cites countless perks to growing up as a condo kid, from learning how to swim early due to an indoor swimming pool, to access to massive shared green space to enjoy with a built-in network of friends who lived in nearby units. In addition to living in a condo, Ng’s childhood was filled with condo-related dinner table conversation, thanks to his realtor and developer parents. As a result, Ng’s passion for real estate came naturally (literally).
Ng fused his love of technology and real estate with the creation of digital real estate agency ADHOC STUDIO nearly 13 years ago. In the early days, much of its business involved creating and building out interactive sales centre touchscreen applications. Pioneers in the industry, ADHOC standardized the screens as innovative mainstay features in sales centres.
Long before COVID-19 switched up “business as usual” on the real estate front, ADHOC had already created its multifaceted digital sales centre. Its industry-disrupting product BLACKLINE launched in 2019, and allows for the sale of real estate anywhere, any time. Since the onset of the pandemic, business has shot through the proverbial roof of the virtual app-based sales management software.
Serving as an end-to-end sales platform, the app consolidates all the essentials – floorplans, view photography, and neighbourhood info – in one location. Features include sales presentations, inventory management, real-time updates, analytics, floor plan comparison, suite reservations, and more.
With business still booming (and showing no signs of slowing), Blackline now facilitates about 70% of new Greater Toronto Area (GTA) condo launches, according to Ng.
Long before it became a reality, Ng recognized the need for such a disruptive technology thanks to his personal experience in the real estate industry – an industry that’s clearly been a huge part of his life since childhood.
“My dad is what I would call a 'platinum broker,' before they had platinum brokers,” says Ng. “Before it was even a thing, my dad was working with some of the top condo developers to get specific bulk inventory to sell projects. He would set up road shows and travel overseas to Hong Kong and other parts of Asia to market a project and attract buyers, and was very successful at that.”
Tim Ng (centre), with his parents
Over the years, Ng recognized inefficiencies in the industry from hearing his parents discuss them. “I was also really into tech and thought that this could be leveraged to create better and more forward-thinking real estate transactions by making inefficiencies completely digital,” he says.
Growing up, Ng drew inspiration from some of the big names in tech that came before him.
“This is kind of cliché, but I always appreciated and [was] influenced by Steve Jobs. When he launched a new product, it was always designed better -- and the user experience was always better -- than any competition,” says Ng. “I think a lot of it came down to the little details that he focused on and his overall strive for perfection.”
Upon graduating from Ryerson University, he sought out to do just that himself.
“My father would be selling many new developments, so as a kid, I spent a lot of time at condo sales offices and saw the tools required in selling a condo. There, I found a lot of inefficiencies and things I could capitalize on straight out of university and [I found] that there wasn’t a lot of competition around either,” says Ng.
“With the competition out there, I knew I could do it better. At the time, when I started ADHOC STUDIO, we built applications that were a lot more fluid, smooth, and snappy, which was one of the major reasons we rapidly captured market share in Toronto 13 years ago,” he adds.
On the product launch front, Ng has stuck to three main principles since ADHOC’s inception: The functional software solves a problem, it must be reliable, and it creates a memorable user experience. Blackline is a perfect example of all three.
“We’ve taken an industry that literally hasn’t changed since I was a kid, watching my dad sell real estate,” says Ng.
“What we’ve done with Blackline is transform how the projects are launched and how the information is released. We provide transparency in terms of pricing and unit availability. We’ve literally been able to flip the industry on its head and transform what hasn’t changed for over 30 years.”
This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.