A/O PropTech is a new European VC officially launching today, after raising €250 million of so-called “permanent capital” to invest in technology companies disrupting real estate.
It’s this “permanent” approach — seeing the firm structured more like a corporate with various shareholders, rather than a traditional venture capital fund that typically has a life cycle of 2-5 years — which allows A/O PropTech to be stage agnostic. This means the VC invests from Series A to later growth stages and claims to be more patient with regards to the timing of any exit.
Investments to date include Bricklane, Fornova, and most recently property management platform Plentific, where A/O PropTech led the startup’s $32m Series B round. In total, the VC has made 10 investments so far in Europe, U.S., and Israel.
“What we look for is business models that are scalable, asset light and are addressing pain points in the industry, sometimes underpinned by marketplace, sharing economy or AI dynamics that create strong market tailwinds,” A/O PropTech founder and CEO Gregory Dewerpe tells TechCrunch.
“We like B2B, B2BC and selectively B2C, although see this as much more difficult and expensive to crack. With regards to the geographies, we focus primarily on companies which are targeting markets where we can be impactful, so you will find that most of our investments are in Europe, but can extend to US or Israeli companies that are scaling in our core European markets”.
The firm also claims “multidisciplinary expertise,” spanning real estate and finance professionals, in addition to employing data scientists, mathematicians and engineers. However, perhaps most noteworthy is the relationship it has with its own investors.
These are described as some of the largest institutional real estate companies in Europe, who together hold a pool of residential, commercial and hospitality assets. Proptech companies that A/O PropTech back can potentially leverage these assets as a “ready-made” sandbox to test, pilot and “fast-track the commercial and operational scale” of their offerings.
I’m told this has already happened in a number of instances. For example, hotel data intelligence startup Fornova has been able to integrate 10,000 hotel bedrooms in less than a year, with a plan to
reach 50,000 over time.
Another example saw the integration of property investment platform Bricklane with the residential acquisition team of one of A/O PropTech’s backers. The plan is to deploy about $120 million into London property over the course of this year.