In any conversation I have about London’s fintech space, property crowdfunding platform Property Partner is almost certain to come up. The startup which lets you invest from as little as £50 in residential property — or the so-called ‘buy to let’ market, as it’s called here in the U.K. — has, by all accounts, been growing at a clip.
Launched just over a year ago it claims more than 6,200 customers who have collectively invested more than £24 million across 166 properties. That’s pretty impressive by anybody’s measure.
To further scale up the platform, including increased marketing spend, new products, and growing the team, Property Partner has closed £15.9 million in Series B funding.
Leading the round is original backer Octopus Ventures, with participation from Index Ventures, who also previously invested in the London startup, and Dawn Capital. Of note, £3 million of the Series B comes in the form of a venture debt facility provided by Silicon Valley Bank.
Following a familiar fintech theme, Property Partner opens up an asset class previously out of reach for smaller investors. It currently lists properties in London, the South-East of England, and other parts of the U.K. for anybody to invest in. As well as a share of each month’s rent, there’s the potential upside when the property is sold.
And, similar to a stock exchange, Property Partner operates what is essentially a secondary market, letting you sell your shares in a property to another user of the site if you want to exit before a guaranteed sale in five years.
In fact, a property stock exchange is ultimately what the company is building, which is designed to bring greater liquidity to the residential property market as a whole — a market that Property Partner wants to own a significant slice of. To date, £4.7 million shares have already been traded through the platform.
In addition, Daniel Gandesha, founder and CEO of Property Partner, believes that the collective purchasing power crowdfunding affords will in turn help to increase the supply side of the property market i.e. enable developers to build more houses. That’s because, on behalf of its users, the startup is able to purchase multiple properties in one go, instantly freeing up money than can be ploughed into other new developments.
To that end, Gandesha says that a significant chunk of today’s funding will be used on advertising, including TV ads, which the company has already begun running, and other forms of marketing, which should bring more investors to the platform.
It also plans to scale up by launching new products and asset classes, including around shared ownership, and, most notably, opening up the platform to institutional investors.
The latter could increase Property Partner’s purchasing power, and therefore the discounts it’s able to secure, by orders of magnitude. However, it will need to be done in a way that also benefits retail investors and maintains a level playing field — something Gandesha says he is acutely aware of.
International expansion is also on the cards, not just in other parts of Europe but beyond. Gandesha isn’t saying where specifically, but gave Berlin as an example. What he is absolutely clear about, however, is that the U.K. is just the beginning. “We want to build a global property stock exchange,” he tells me.