As we prepare to emerge from Lockdown 2, here’s what’s been happening in the PropTech space during November:
Round Hill Ventures launches €200m fund for start-ups
Round Hill Ventures (RHV), which is well on the way to a target of €200m, will start a new fund to invest in European proptech start-ups. The company will invest in any business from late seed to Series B.
Backed by Round Hill Capital (RHC) and based in London, the firm has invested in the European proptech ecosystem since 2016, supporting firms such as Spacemaker AI and Plentific (which has just announced an acquisition) and aims for a portfolio size of approximately 45 investments.
The new fund, led by Arnie Sriskandarajah along with RHC CEO Michael Bickford, will appeal to large institutional capital investors and sovereign wealth and pension funds.
Round Hill Capital, founded almost 20 years ago, is a global real estate private equity firm that has created more than $10bn of investment in Europe and the USA. Accordingly, the firm’s expertise in the management of investments, development, assets and property enables them to introduce RHV’s portfolio companies to new markets.
Plentific snaps up X Tag to strengthen tech compliance
Plentific, platform provider of European property management technology, has bought X Tag, the housing compliance technology company, the terms of which were not disclosed.
X Tag provides tech solutions enabling housing providers to move from reactive compliance processes in gas and electrical safety to proactive, data-driven methods. The company, founded in Liverpool in 2014, currently engages with over 50 social housing providers.
Following the purchase, Plentific is confident it will offer the only end-to-end SaaS-enabled marketplace solution providing integrated repairs, maintenance and compliance services in the UK and Germany.
Cem Savas, CEO and co-founder of the firm, said that an uncoordinated approach to reporting on compliance and a lack of data integration had placed a great burden on housing providers, but that X Tag has been instrumental in digitising the entire process to improve outcomes for all.
This acquisition, he said, will offer clients the most comprehensive suite of management and maintenance services on the market.
PropTech drives success for rising lettings platform
Deloitte has named lettings technology company Goodlord, which works with over 2,000 letting agents, as one of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the UK.
The Deloitte ranking, based on growth over the last four years and due to be released shortly, places Goodlord in ninth position this year.
The company has implemented a wealth of new services in recent years, including open banking, facial recognition technology, new tenant referencing products, rental protection insurance, utility and switching services, as well as an integration with Reapit. And in July, they purchased Vouch Online, a technology business focused on lettings.
Goodlord’s William Reeve is gratified to be included in the index, which he attributes to the hard work and creativity of his dedicated team. He is also proud to play a part in spearheading the development of the property sector as it evolves.
Launch of new CRM three years in the making
Street, a new customer relationship management (CRM) program, launched following a high-profile publicity campaign, brands itself a ‘transformative technology’ which ‘empowers estate agents, creates efficiencies, cuts costs and helps to increase margins’.
The company was founded by sister and brother entrepreneurs Heather and Thomson Staff, who claim its pricing is ‘transparent’ at £6 per property per month, with a minimum of 100 properties. While agents will be charged for properties For Sale, Sold Subject to Contract, To Let or Let Agreed, the couple say they have a waiting list of agents up to next spring.
Thomson Staff describes the program as ‘the first truly modern estate agency platform in the UK’, saying he and his sister have redesigned estate agency software ‘from the ground up’.
Also supported by an app, the product claims to end the need for progress calls between agent and client, with real-time updates available instantly, and make redundant answering client update calls, chasing conveyancers and identifying bottlenecks.
PropTech mania as investors pile in!
A PropTech platform specialising in short and medium-lets, with a considerable presence in the UK, has raised £1.34m in just 24 hours on crowdfunding site Seedrs. More than 300 investors weighed in to back GuestReady, whose key markets include London although based in Switzerland.
Managing properties and booking/tenancies remotely via the platform, the company acts as a go-between for property owners and short and medium-term tenants, and is listed on Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as Airbnb and Booking.com.
The campaign was boosted by a £900,000 investment from a VC fund and £380,000 from Swiss investor Senn & Co which had already invested £2.5m in GuestReady.
While investor enthusiasm for proptech firms has eased over the past year, it is a different matter for those providing short-let corporate and holiday accommodation via online platforms. Instead, investors believe companies like GuestReady can either model themselves on Airbnb or take advantage of the rise in staycations, medium-term letting and the fear of using hotels.
CEO and co-founder Alexander Limpert counts himself fortunate to have seen increased demand from domestic travellers and for longer stays which has helped to compensate for many of the cancelled bookings from international travellers.