Property Flash


Commercial real estate (CRE) focused PropTech group, Gmaven, is teaming up with UK-based capital partners, simple.Capital() to raise $500K in a pre-Series A round. The goal of the round is to give CRE insiders, employed in CRE businesses, direct access to this tech investment opportunity.

PropTech in Africa is on the move. Global tech accelerators like MetaProp, TechStars Toronto and Aldar have signed up businesses in Nigeria. Dedicated PropTech venture capital funds like REdimension Capital in Africa, and Watheeq in the Middle East have also sprung up. PropTech as a difference maker is now being discussed in property business boardrooms.

In parallel, commercial real estate experts, both at an institutional and retail level, are searching for alternative, higher-yielding investments in the asset class they know well. Further, relative to overseas ratios, industry analysts calculate that bottled up venture capital, calculated at between $0.3bn and $1.9bn, is due for release into the sector. This bodes well for the small pool of established African PropTech groups, and for the industry in general.

“Commercial real estate in Africa is a huge market, worth $600bn. Despite this, the industry is riddled with inefficiency and pain. Finally, CRE is missing authentic tech innovation, with major businesses running processes on Excel. These three factors create the “perfect storm” for high-growth technology solutions,” says Will Harris, Gmaven CEO.

In response, local established PropTech groups are taking advantage of this funding window to raise capital for expansion. Up until this point, growth capital for local PropTech companies has been supplied by very savvy investors, attracted by the super-charged returns of tech. For example, Gmaven’s current investor pool boasts industry expert angel and high-net-worth-individual investors, ranging from the ex-Chair of JLL Africa, Mark Bradford, to Phil Barttram, ex-Executive Director of MSCI Real Estate, to Ronald Philip, Strategy lead for Africa’s largest logistics business, Agility, to Jason Petsch – founder of the UK’s largest outdoor property services company, OUTCO, and Ed Colle CEO of Belgotex SA, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest provider of CRE flooring.

Harris says that the next funding round, Series A, targeting upwards of $5M, will only be open to institutional investors – with simple.Capital() redeploying the playbook that has seen success for big-SA-name tech companies such as SweepSouth and FlexClub.

Gmaven, with ambitions for expansion into Africa and Western Europe, is supplier and manager of the comprehensive CRE data in Africa, servicing global commercial real estate brands such as Cushman Wakefield Broll, JLL and CBRE Excellerate – and many of South Africa’s local CRE property funds and advisories.

Harris says he believes that if Gmaven can entice investors, other prop tech companies will be successful too, and the sector will grow in importance across Africa.

Property Flash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *