Startups developing technology for the property sector could be about to get a boost as the first property-focused accelerator in Europe was announced this week.
Pi Labs, short for Property Innovation Labs, is being set up by estate agents Cushman & Wakefield and property focused venture capital group Spire Ventures.
Spire Ventures said the move to open an accelerator is a natural one following on the investments it has made in eMoov (the UK’s largest online estate agent) and more recently, Spacious. The latter investment is understood to be close to £1 million.
Pi Labs will be based in London’s Shoreditch district at a new 20,000 square foot co-working space, called Second Home, which has set up by Rohan Silva - a former tech advisor to prime minister David Cameron and chief architect of London’s Tech City initiative.
Startups can apply to be part of the accelerator this month and those that are admitted will receive the usual office space, funding and mentoring that most of today’s accelerators offer.
Pi Labs said it plans to invest in 30 plus start-ups over the next two years.
Cushman & Wakefield CEO Digby Flower said: “The convergence of property and technology will transform the way we and our clients operate in the future and the tech and creative industries driving this revolution can be found right on our doorstep in East London.
“As a leading property adviser to the tech and media sector in London and other global tech hubs, Cushman & Wakefield is committed to supporting and empowering the next generation of property and software businesses who will shape the future of our cities and buildings and the way we work, shop and live.
“Furthermore, our partnership with Pi Labs and being embedded at Second Home, puts us at the very core of London’s burgeoning tech sector and the collaboration and networking opportunities for us and our clients will be game-changing in our industry.”
The property accelerator will be headed up by Faisal Butt, CEO of Spire Ventures, and Umesh Kumar, a former associate at two of London’s most reputable accelerators, Techstars and Oxygen.
“Pi Labs’ vision is to drive the next generation of technological innovation in the property sector,” said Butt. “Through Pi Labs, we can empower prop-tech start-ups requiring space, access to capital and support and ultimately, help spawn the next wave of tech company success stories. We see Pi Labs as the platform that will create the next Zoopla, the next AirBnB and the next Nest.”