By Graham Lanktree | Fri 5 October 2018
At the end of August, online estate agent Yopa landed £20m from investors to fuel improvements to its online platform and continuing growth in the UK. In total, investors have poured £75m into the platform through several rounds of funding since the rm launched in January 2016.
The most recent investment in Yopa was led by dmg ventures, the venture capital arm of Daily Mail & General Trust, which is one of a growing numbers of investors. They are among the few large, early investors in proptech start-ups like Yopa. But while proptech is still in its infancy, it is growing – and so too is interest from investors.
So what are these investors looking for and how much money are they putting into the sector?
Home ground: online estate agent Yopa received £20m from investors in August and has TV ads featuring Mo Farah.
Large cheques are expected to be written in the coming months for start-ups that investors bet will be the next big thing.
The property industry has yet to see the level of innovation or disruption that companies such as Uber or Apple have brought to taxis or the music industry, but some believe it might within the next 5 years. As one investor puts it, proptech has a “huge number of applications that haven’t been touched one bit”.
A number of investors are now focused solely on proptech. Goldacre, formerly Goldacre Ventures, is one such company. It still holds historic family investments that David Bloom, partner at Goldacre, says “go as far back as 34 years”, but was relaunched early this year with a view to capitalising on the opportunities offered by proptech.
Although Bloom would not say exactly how much money Goldacre has to play with, he tells people to “look at our track record” and the tens of millions of pounds the firm has invested, and confirms that the fund will take the same approach it has taken to property investment and apply it to proptech over “the next three to five years”.
“It’s about maturing the product into what the sector needs. Investment is not enough” David Bloom, Goldacre
A batch of other investors have also emerged this year and revealed plans to invest tens of millions of pounds into new proptech ventures. In May, a new €50m (£44m) fund called PropTech Capital, led by French investment guru Christophe Reech, was established to focus on early-stage proptech companies.
Then in June, JLL Spark announced a $100m (£76m) global venture fund to ramp up the number of proptech start-ups it invests in worldwide.