Strength of UK property start-up market attracts foreign investment

Aug 3, 2016 · VC Arm of Canadian luxury real estate company to invest in UK-launched proptech companies through Pi Labs

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Property Innovation Labs (Pi Labs), Europe's first proptech-focused VC, has entered into a strategic funding partnership for its accelerator programme with Bosa Ventures, the investment arm of one of Canada’s most respected property firms, Bosa Properties, to further its reach globally and create many more opportunities for its cohorts in North America and beyond.

Pi Labs was launched in October 2014 and has since gone on to support 16 successful property technology start-ups, in areas from planning, to social housing and office management. The three-month bi-annual programme provides funding, mentoring and inspiring office space for the most exciting new wave of ‘proptech’ start-ups. In April, the Pi Labs Accelerator announced a new joint venture partnership with pioneering property start-up The Collective, where the latest accelerator programme is also housed at No 14, Bedford Square, London. Last week, five teams comprising the most recent cohort of Pi Labs presented to a room of over 150 investors, seeking seed investment from £500,000 to £1,000,000.

Bosa Properties is one of largest luxury real estate development companies in North America with a presence in both Canada and the US. Bosa owns, is actively developing, or has transacted in excess of $5B CDN of property assets. Pi Labs will have a strategic partnership with their VC arm, Bosa Ventures, which will provide additional funding via a SAFE or convertible note for Pi Labs companies to extend their runway or close out an existing funding round as they exit the programme. Perhaps more importantly, the cohorts will now have a gateway to North America to both test their products as well as have a partner for North American expansion.

This means cohort companies have access to £100,000 of funding through the accelerator programme before they potentially raise their seed round. All cohort companies will be eligible, though it will be at Pi Labs’ discretion and recommendation to determine which companies should receive the funds. Following on from success stories such as Switchee, Airsorted and Propoly in previous programmes, the teams in Programme 4, which starts this Winter, will be the first cohort to benefit from Bosa’s involvement.

Colin Bosa, Chairman of Bosa Properties commented on the new partnership that, "Our alignment with Pi Labs will allow us both to be on the forefront of new frontiers of proptech, while leveraging the multiple streams of innovation we already have underway in the field of property development and construction."

Dominic Wilson, Managing Partner of Pi Labs, said of this partnership that, "We are delighted to partner with Bosa Ventures; it’s an incredible opportunity for the start-ups financially and also in terms of global reach. We now also have a close link to North America and a partner to help our companies roll out into those markets. In financial terms, our programme is now one of most competitive in the world and we will continue to source the very best talent and companies from across the globe as a result. And crucially for Pi Labs, it’s also a ringing endorsement for the programme we have built here in London and quality of companies we have coming through. That said, we still believe we have areas to improve upon and we believe Bosa Ventures has a crucial role to play in that process."

Applications for Pi Labs' Cohort four are open. Apply now at pilabs.co.uk

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