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Knight Frank joins the world’s largest proptech investment club

The upmarket estate agency has invested in Fifth Wall, which has launched its latest fund for UK and European start-ups.

Nigel Lewis

knight frank proptech

Knight Frank has made its most significant commitment so far to proptech with an investment in US tech fund Fifth Wall’s latest European venture.

Despite its traditional reputation, Knight Frank has been pumping significant sums into proptech in recent years including investment and partnerships with several residential platforms, including an artificial intelligence start-up that better predicts apartment development yields.

But Knight Frank’s investment in Fifth Wall, which is the largest venture capital firm in the world focussed on proptech, takes it to a new level.

Proptech start-ups

The money raised by Fifth Wall from Knight Frank and other firms will be used to invest in UK and European proptech start-ups in the property buying, selling, renting and building sectors, and the estate agency joins an illustrious club who have invested in the Californian company’s different funds.

These include British Land, BNP Parisbas and CBRE, all of which want to get a piece of the proptech action and be able to present themselves to residential and commercial clients as ‘plugged into’ the future of property.

Fifth Wall is most famous for its $100m investment in US iBuyer platform OpenDoor, a model which is gaining some ground in the UK with two recent launches including one by the Guild.

proptech alistair elliott kfAlistair Elliott, Group Chairman at Knight Frank (pictured) , says: “The key objective is to insure we have active involvement in the ever evolving proptech arena, whilst ensuring we are able to embrace initiatives to better improve our client service. This investment is particularly pertinent given our focus on shaping our firm’s future in its 125th year.”

Fifth Wall co-founder Brendan Wallace adds: “The collision taking place between tech and real estate is complicated and Fifth Wall was founded with the intention of helping firms like Knight Frank define and accelerate their tech adoption strategy.”

Read: Why proptech  has had its ‘lockdown moment’ during Covid.

March 23, 2021

One comment

  1. The whole real estate/proptech universe is still at an early stage, forward investment will de-risk some entities, but a wary eye needs to be kept on the capabilities of 5G and satellite technology which just might blind-side all stakeholders as new ecosystems evolve. Maturity of the proptech sector in the UK is another five to seven years way, and in reality the real big problems are just being grappled with. The only certainty in the world map of Proptech, with London only second to New York in the proliferation of Proptech start-ups is nothing is certain. At present around the world the real estate sector is pouring investment into: – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Internet of Things (IOT), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and the Shared economy. And then as a bit of a side bet, it is spreading the capital around on anything else that is scalable and might be the next big thing. What is certain is the unstoppable move from analogue to digital – everything else is just noise.

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