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Sunday PropTech Review; 16th July 2017

POSTED BY   james
August 9, 2017

Mal McCallion here, 17-year veteran of various PropTech businesses and all-round growth-obsessive. James has been kind enough to let me loose on this week’s Sunday PropTech Review and I’ve chosen stories for you based on what they tell us about GROWTH in our sector right now.

To get things rolling, though, let’s take a quick look back. The 16th of July has thrown up some fascinating growth stories through the ages. For example, on this day in …

1661: The first banknotes are issued in Europe by the Bank of Stockholm. There are now 19.4Bn banknotes across the Eurozone, worth nearly one trillion pounds, some of which are sitting in your drawer at home.

1935: In Oklahoma City, the first automatic parking meter was installed. There are now an estimated 5m parking meters in the US alone, each one providing 53 minutes of exquisitely-distilled “meeting-overrun-rage” from business people per day. 16th July has always been good for growth. Let’s see what might be still making a noise in your Sunday PropTech Review on this day in 2117 …

1. Growth: Stratospheric – Purplebricks We’re kicking off this week with what is, frankly, a stunning growth story – the never-knowingly understated Purplebricks. Michael Bruce and his regal-huedband of brother are back in the headlines with a focus on growing their Local Property Expert network in the UK by “hundreds”, on top of the 500 or so out there currently. Will they achieve their ambition to be the largest agent in the UK? Or …


 2. Growth: Scaleup – OneDome.

… will traditional agents fight back? This week saw £3m invested in OneDome’s Series A funding round. [Disclosure: as an advisor to OneDome, I was going to deliberately leave this out of the Review but I hope you’ll agree that it’s too large an investment – and too current a PropTech story – to be ignored]. Smart investors backing a tech provider that’s a collaborator rather than a disruptor? That’s actually quite radical.






3. Growth: Startup – Urban Collective, Doorsteps. A couple of newbies on planet PropTech this week. Urban Collective, led by ex-Foxtons’ agent Octavian Pop, are going to charge £600 to find you that perfect rental pad in London. And Doorsteps – the 41st largest estate agent in the UK, no less – smashed its £400k crowdfunding target with over two weeks still left to go.

4. Growth: Stalled – OnTheMarket.

In January 2017 a young property portal, a well-respected regional independent and an ambitious corporate agent walked into a court. Last week, walking out with £1.24m – and counting – came lawyers. OnTheMarket won the case and – observing that the 12 months spent on the case has diverted considerable resources away from its core activities – said it intends to immediately “ramp up [its] marketing activity“. It’s going to be some job to reclaim the momentum that has been lost over that year but they should at least have a substantial war-chest to call upon.

5. Growth: Vertical – WeWork.

Emphatically injecting the “hot” back into “desking”, WeWork added over $700m this week to the $300m it’s already raised this year, making it the fifth most-valuable start-up company in the world. With Blackstone’s acquisition of competitor, The Office Group, last month, the working space revolution continues apace. The death of single-company commercial office buildings? I’m not so sure…

6. Article of the week – Growth: Horizontal – Facebook, Amazon. Set your brows to “furrowed”, people; the big guns are a step closer to your PropTech lunch this weekend – and they’re hungry. On the same day that James highlighted Facebook’s house building ambitions (“TechProp” rather than “PropTech”??), Amazon – either by accident or design – sneak-peeked its ambitions to help consumers find realtors in the States. Zillow’s share price instantly tanked 4%.

7. Growth: Sector – PropTech.

If you needed any further evidence of just how important our space is becoming to the future of the built environment – and therefore the future of our home and work lives – it’s here. $1.9Bn was invested in US PropTech companies in 2015 and that grew by 36% in 2016 to $2.6Bn. Now JLL Spark has been launched, headed up by serious Silicon Valley types Mihir Shah and Yishai Lerner. Shah says “We’re looking at the entire commercial real estate ecosystem, the occupiers, investors and all the other parts of it and trying to understand where there’s the best opportunity for technology to make a difference.” This sector just keeps on growing.








Thanks again for your time and I hope that I’ve managed to keep the chair, occupied so effortlessly by Mr Dearsley each week, mildly warm for him.

Do feel free to get in touch ( with comments, theories, arguments and ‘Good Job’ GIFs. You can also, if you fancy, check out the work we’re doing to help businesses grow and succeed over at Growtion. Next Sunday you’ll get article-curation from exceptional lettings’ entrepreneurs Curran McKay and Jude Greer of Reposit. A cracking PropTech Review to look out for – until next time, have wonderful Sundays. Mal

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