Tuesday, March 10, 2015
COUNTRYWIDE PLC JOINS CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD IN BACKING INNOVATION IN THE PROPERTY SPACE
Property Innovation Labs (Pi Labs), Europe's first property innovation focused fund, has agreed to a significant investment from Countrywide plc, the UK’s largest integrated property services group, bringing the total investment of the fund to more than £320,000.
Pi Labs was created in October 2014 through a strategic partnership between global real estate adviser Cushman & Wakefield and venture capitalists Spire Ventures.
Countrywide plc has stated their intention to back innovation in the property sector and agreed to invest a significant amount in the Pi Labs fund, which raised 50% of funding in just one week. The fund is hosted on Seedrs, which is an innovative equity crowdfunding platform that allows members of the public to invest alongside institutional investors and corporate entities, such as Spire Ventures and Cushman & Wakefield, in a ready-made portfolio of companies.
Five start-ups, which were selected from over 200 business plans received, have joined the fund's first accelerator programme of 2015, with another cycle scheduled for later this year. Each intake will initially comprise five companies and culminate with a ‘Demo Day’ where each start-up will present to a group of London’s top investors.
Entrepreneur Faisal Butt, founder and CEO of Pi Labs, created the three-month bi-annual programme which will provide funding, mentors and office space for the most exciting new wave of ‘proptech’ start-ups at the iconic Second Home, situated in the heart of east London’s ‘Tech City’.
Graham Bell, Finance Director of Countrywide plc, said: “Countrywide is excited and proud to support the UK’s first property technology accelerator. We are passionate about supporting innovation in our sector and were one of the early investors in both Rightmove and Zoopla, amongst others. We hope companies who join PiLabs will benefit from the expertise that our nationwide business has to offer, and we look forward to working with the teams to help them grow their businesses further.”
Faisal Butt, founder and CEO of Pi Labs, said: “We are delighted to have an industry leader such as Countrywide involved in the Pi Labs fund. It is amazing that the property community is coming together to back innovation and help the industry progress and adapt to the digital age. We received over 200 business plans from talented management teams from across the globe, and we believe we have selected the best 5, which in our view, are well positioned to innovate within the property industry. We firmly believe we will find the next Airbnb from the Pi Labs platform.”
Cushman & Wakefield partner Juliette Morgan, also a Pi Labs strategic partner, said: “We're thrilled that Countrywide has joined in the PiLabs fund. It’s healthy for the companies to have access to the insight of a residential-focused partner, and a great illustration that leaders in the industry are investing in the future of proptech. We look forward to working closely with Countrywide and growing great investments with them.”
Pi Labs fund’s debut investments are:
Officernd: An office space prototyping, planning and management platform that lets you organise your office rooms and desks. It is a simple and easy-to-use, cloud-based software that allows you to create office space plans without being a designer or architect. For more information, visit: officernd.com.
AirSorted: An Airbnb management company that makes using Airbnb ‘hassle-free’. Whether that relates to cleanings, key exchanges, laundry, guest bookings, complaints, reviews and even pricing, Airsorted makes sure you earn the most you possibly can from your property. For more information, visit: airsorted.uk.
Rialto: An online platform that connects professional brokers and landlords in commercial real estate to collaborate in real-time. The company provides landlords with portfolio insights and hands-on collaboration with brokers. It also provides brokers the leads and information they need to operate their commercial business. For more information, visit: rial.to.
Wilde Rooms: Offers an evolutionary bespoke service between the online retailer and discerning consumers. Wilde Rooms provides an oasis of calm amidst the bustle of London, comprising luxury changing facilities, stylists, tailors whilst offering refreshments and style inspiration. Members are able to browse online retail stores, add items to baskets and get them delivered to one fitting room to try before you buy. For more information, visit: wilderooms.com.
Land Technologies: Super-fast, simple to use technology to better recognise off-market development opportunities. It lets you quickly evaluate leads and spot new potential sites, assess risks, visualise planning and connect to landowners. For more information, visit: landinsight.io.
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