Global property industry figure Simon Baker says he is looking to invest significantly in the UK residential proptech sector.
Baker is well-known in the UK as founder of Oz property portal giant the REA Group, which together with Rupert Murdoch’s News International bought the UK’s first property portal PropertyFinder.com for £14.5 million in 2005, selling it in August 2009 to Zoopla after REA reversed its ambitious global expansion plans.
Baker is now chairman of Gold Coast based software firm The PropTech Group, which operates two of Australia’s key property software platforms, VaultRE and MyDesktop.
It has already entered the UK market with its UK version of VaultRE which, as we reported yesterday, is now being used in 100 estate agency branches, but is now looking to invest in existing UK proptech.
“We are primarily looking at the residential sector in the UK as we believe that there is significant opportunity to consolidate this segment,” he says. “Commercial [proptech] is also interesting but a lower priority of us.”
Baker and his The PropTech Group have relatively deep pockets. The firm was listed on the Australian stock market in November last year and has seen its share price increase from AUD 0.25 to AUD 0.74 giving it a market cap of approximately AUS$ 92 million.
“We have Australia’s top three franchise estate agency groups as customers – Ray White, Raine and Horne and Harcourts as well as approximately 50% of the New Zeland market,” he says.
Baker already has fingers in several other property pies including interest in Thai short-letting platform called Flexstay, property portals in Brazil and Burma and news website OnlineMarketPlaces.com.