Property Flash


December 13 2023

In a bold move to pivot from real estate investment into technology, Inospace, under the leadership of CEO and founder Rael Levitt, is charting a new course by transitioning from traditional real estate investment to offering a combination of property investment, services and proptech solutions.

The shift has been well-planned and managed, achieving stellar growth in a relatively short period along the way.

Meeting Room

Inospace, now South Africa’s leading owner and operator of last-mile logistics parks, became one of the country’s fastest-growing private commercial property companies. The group captured much of the multi-let industrial property market by buying older industrial buildings and converting them into innovative parks with a range of value-adding products and services aimed at smaller business entities.

Its success is remarkable given the plethora of challenges which the South African commercial property market has faced in recent years including low economic growth and rising unemployment, the pandemic and a rising cost of money. Nevertheless, Inospace has embarked on a transformative journey, pivoting from traditional real estate investment to a fusion of space and technology solutions. This strategic shift positions the company as a comprehensive logistics and leasing systems provider which creates innovative solutions for a new generation of entrepreneurs.

“Our approach has evolved beyond the conventional real estate framework. We’ve always aimed to offer more than just space to entrepreneurs. Our current focus is on fostering technological innovation in our operations and client offering,” says Levitt.

Jodi Sher, Rael Levitt, Bruce Collins (Fortress), David Bernstein

The Evolution from Industrial Real Estate to Proptech

The growth achieved by Inospace is fascinating given that the company started as an industrial landlord which wanted to improve the service that small and medium sized business tenants typically receive at mid-sized logistic parks. 

Inospace’s story began in Epping, Cape Town, with one building, and it has since expanded to own and manage a portfolio of 52 properties, covering half a million square metres and serving more than 1,800 tenants. The company’s growth trajectory from an initial R30m industrial park acquisition to a R3bn non-listed portfolio underscores its rapid expansion and evolving business model.

Maintaing such growth while property groups especially listed funds battle to raise cash is commendable.

Beginning his career in the real estate auction business over thirty years ago, Rael Levitt founded Inospace in 2017, five years after the controversial closure of Auction Alliance, once the biggest auction house in the country.

Known as the father of auctions, today, most of South Africa’s real estate auctioneers were founded and managed by people who worked under Levitt.

Inospace’s growth has been buoyed by substantial investment from notable figures such as mogul Jonathan Beare as well as Fortress Real Estate Investments, a listed company which completed an R1.25bn transaction with Inospace in 2022.

Silo Exchange

According to Levitt’s award-winning book “It Takes a Tsunami”, which was released in December 2022, the concept of Inospace came to Levitt while he was doing an MBA at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my career after the dramatic closure of Auction Alliance, but I wanted to remain in the property sector in SA”.

Levitt explains in his book that since technology was disrupting real estate, he decided to create a business that would offer more than space, and which could be aided by tech.

“I wanted to create a commercial property company that would focus on creating solutions for smaller and medium-sized businesses. The company’s brand name, an amalgamation of innovation and space, reflects our purpose,” he says.

Inospace’s business model was based on the view that traditional landlordism has been disrupted tremendously and now real estate requires customer-centric solutions and value-adding services. 

Management Team

Leaping forward with Proptech

2023 has been a critical year for Inospace after it launched two new offerings to meet the diverse needs of tenants and other customers.

The launch of outsourced warehousing and an e-commerce fulfilment solution came first, and in October this year, the launch of Lisa, a lease and transaction technology, marked a significant milestone for Inospace.

Levitt sees a bright future for proptech in SA, driven by market interest and the need for property owners to enhance their platforms. “Proptech is becoming a crucial part of the industry,” he says. “Adapting to this change is essential for staying relevant in the evolving real estate landscape.”

Responding to Global Challenges with Digital Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated Inospace’s shift towards digital solutions, particularly in managing properties and leases. Levitt credits this technological pivot for the company doubling its asset base within a year, transitioning from traditional methods to an automated lead-to-lease process.

The introduction of its leasing platform, Lisa, after a successful internal deployment and an R50m investment, has not only transformed Inospace’s operations but also attracted interest from other property companies. Lisa’s reach will be extended to property funds which manage multi-let portfolios.

E-commerce and Logistics: A New Frontier

Inospace ventured into e-commerce logistics, launching a warehousing and fulfilment solution targeting e-tailers. It utilises Inospace’s cloud-based infrastructure to manage warehousing and parcel delivery, offering an integrated service to existing tenants and new clients. The service now supports more than 30 businesses.

The company’s digital platform allows seamless integration into existing e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, making it easier for users to schedule deliveries and to ship products directly to their customers, whether they are other businesses or end-user consumers.

An integrated fulfilment facility provides e-commerce businesses with a “seamless logistics ecosystem,” explains the company’s logistics head, Dean Venske.

Given the pace of growth for Inospace and the complexity of its tech infrastructure, the company strengthened its operations team.    

Venske, a Master’s degree graduate in specialised logistics, was appointed to head up the group’s logistics offering.


He explains that the automated fulfilment process starts right after users have placed an order on Inospace’s platform. The company provides storage for the user’s stock until an order is placed. Inospace then processes the order, packs it, and dispatches it to the end-user on behalf of the customer for a fee.

The platform automatically selects the lowest pre-negotiated courier prices and the most favourable terms based on customers’ requirements.

“Early in the year, a team of Inospace executives visited various businesses in the USA, who offer a mix of warehousing and outsourced warehousing,” explains Levitt.

“We realised that within our large logistics parks, there would be e-commerce businesses that would want a combination of insourced and outsourced logistic services,” says Jacques Weber, the company’s chief operating officer (COO).

Game-Changing Proptech: The Rise of Lisa

In another significant move, the leasing platform that ran Inospace’s back end was spun out into a separate company based in the Netherlands.

Named Lisa, it offers technology leasing and transaction systems to other property companies. The smart leasing platform, valued at around $20m, secured more than $2m in funding and hired leading technology entrepreneur Andrew Davies as the company’s COO.

Work pods and pause areas

“Lisa centralises and automates the deal management process, providing a single source of truth for leasing portfolios. This means that property owners, managers, and brokers can access and manage all leasing data in one place,” says Inospace’s marketing and product head, Jodi Sher, a co-founder of the new business offering. 

According to Sher, the leading platform eliminates the need for disparate systems and spreadsheets, streamlining processes and reducing the risk of errors. The benefits are evident for the various companies who are already using the disruptive technology. According to Sher, the company already has eight property groups using its technology services and aims to triple its client base in 2024.

One of Lisa’s most significant advantages is its ability to foster better relationships with tenants. In the world of commercial real estate, tenant satisfaction and engagement are paramount. Lisa offers tools and features designed to enhance these relationships. From streamlined communication channels to community-building resources, Lisa ensures that tenants feel valued, which ultimately leads to higher tenant retention rates.

Lisa offers more than deal and tenant management; it provides a treasure trove of deep data insights, acting as your go-to source for informed action. This resource empowers asset managers, leasing teams, property managers, and brokers with the needed information to expedite deal closures.

Centralised control, streamlined workflows, and end-to-end deal management simplify the journey from lead to lease. The seamless collaboration and integration with a client’s financial asset management system ensure quick access to the latest data for leasing decisions.

Lisa’s deep data insights elevate your real estate operations, enabling you to identify opportunities and optimise return on investment (ROI).

Island Works Logistics Hub

In fact, the platform offers a comprehensive suite of services, including Lease, which automates lead-to-lease processes, and Engage which is a tenant experience solution. Inospace’s decision to offer its technology to other companies reflects the growing demand for efficient, technology-driven solutions in the South African market.

Lisa’s platform provides real-time demand data, enabling property professionals to make informed decisions.

Sher expresses confidence in Lisa’s rapid adoption in SA and key European markets.

Inospace’s Continued Investment in Physical Assets

While embracing technology, Inospace continues to invest in fixed assets. The recent acquisition of an A-grade industrial facility in Paarden Eiland, in the Western Cape, for R75m from the liquidators of Nautic Africa, is testament to this balanced approach. Built in 2016 and located across the road from one of Inospace’s properties, it is one of the tallest buildings in the industrial node with five storeys of office space. The property, with a GLA of 8,400m2, will be integrated into Inospace’s network of properties.

The property has already been leased to a prominent logistics company at a rental of R100 a square metre.

“The acquisition is in line with Inospace’s strategy to increase portfolio exposure to high-quality industrial real estate with a focus on last-mile logistics, urban logistics and warehousing within the Cape Town metropole,” says Weber.

Weber is driven to grow the company’s branch network.

“We have been cautious about acquiring new properties in SA’s constrained economic environment,” he says. “We decided to focus on Cape Town for any new investments.”

Island Works Logistics Hub

This year, Inospace acquired six new sites, of which five were in the Western Cape, which the Cape-based company feels will show capital growth.

With this acquisition, Inospace now owns five sites in the area, cementing its position in the region. In November 2022, Inospace sold The Island Urban Logistics Park to JSE-listed Spear Reit for R185m, reflecting the demand for high quality industrial space in Cape Town.

The Johannesburg portfolio has not lagged the booming Western Cape either. Earlier this year, the company acquired a 15,000-square-metre industrial warehouse from Accelerate Property Fund. The site, located in Edenvale, east of Johannesburg, was acquired for R30m. Located in Edenvale, this worked out to be a R2,000 per square metre deal and the first year yield was over 14%.

“We have now fully let the entire property and converted it into our multi-let logistics park model. This site has attracted many tenants and shows that the country’s economic powerhouse is far from dead,” Weber says.

“We have been surprised at the robustness of our parks in Johannesburg despite all the negativity and failing municipal infrastructure,” he says.

Pioneering the Future of Real Estate and Technology

Inospace’s journey from a traditional real estate business to a leader in proptech reflects its adaptability and commitment to innovation. With its dynamic team, innovative approach, and strategic investments, Inospace is not just keeping pace with the evolving real estate landscape, it is shaping it.

“Inospace is relentlessly focused on pioneering the intersection of real estate and technology. Our aim is not just to keep pace with market demands but to anticipate and shape them.

“We’re building cutting-edge solutions that redefine how entrepreneurs interact with physical and digital spaces. This fusion of innovation and practicality is at the heart of everything we do, ensuring that our tenants and clients have access to the most advanced yet user-friendly offerings in the market,” says Levitt.

This is a paid for editorial for Inospace.

One Response

Leave a Reply

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