The boom around the property industry in India has gotten more momentum this week after Propstack, a Mumbai-based company that manages a range of data around commercial real estate, closed a $3 million Series A.
The investment is led by DMGI, the investment group run by the Daily Mail, with participation from Real Capital Analytics, a DMGI portfolio company that works with Propstack.
To recap, the past year has seen the likes of Housing.com ($90 million led by SoftBank), Proptiger (News Corp $30 million) and CommonFloor (Google Capital) pull in money from investors and put the property tech scene on the map. Propstack isn’t a consumer-facing company like those others, but it gathers the all-important information and data that powers a range of commercial real estate verticals and businesses.
“We handle any and every piece of information related to the real estate industry, and make it transparent and interesting,” Propstack co-founder Raja Seetharaman said in an overview.
For example, the Propstack database can be used to search for real estate for new office moves or expansions, its history of transactions can be used to help make investment decisions. It also offers a qualitative-quantitative model for companies seeking new real estate. Propstack counts Blackstone, RBS and BNP Paribas among its client roster.
“There was turmoil in the Indian real estate market when [the founders] first came together to discuss new ideas and opportunities,” Seetharaman said of its founding in 2013. “So we tried to find opportunities and began talking about gaps in the business.”
The team settled on a data play to power commercial real estate in India in part, Seetharaman explained, because even the U.S. market had opportunities — let alone India, since no entrepreneurs had attacked the problem at the time.
Seetharaman said the new money will be used to increase Propstack’s coverage of India. Right now, the company has relationships with partners that give it access to real estate data from across the country, but the company will expand and establish local offices in an initial seven cities to collect even more data.
The head count, Seetharaman said, will expand from its current 18 to over 160 during the next 18 months. That will allow Propstack to create ‘micro-market’ teams that cover each part of India — the company is splitting the country into 65 patches — in addition to central tech, product and data teams.
Seetharaman added that the company is focused on India for now, but since its products are “global in nature” it could expand into Asian markets — such as Hong Kong or Singapore — or other parts of the world with the help of partners, in the future.
Daily Mail is best known for its (ahem) fairly trashy tabloid newspaper and news website, the latter of which has become hugely popular outside of its native UK. Yet its investment arm has focused its money in India on data-based startups and companies.
Its portfolio includes the aforementioned Real Capital Analytics, as well as weather focus company Skymet, online learning portal iProf, and agricultural risk management company ARC.
DMGI India country manager Tej Kapoor told TechCrunch that Propstack fits nicely into that focus, and the deal shows that the firm is prepared to invest in younger companies to avoid missing out as India’s startup valuations continue to bubble up.
“We normally don’t do Series A, but it’s a good idea if you want to get to the promising companies and assets early on… otherwise valuations can go nuts,” Kapoor said.
Note: The initial version of this story incorrectly stated that Propstack had raised $3.5 million.