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JLL takes hunt for top proptech to EMEA

JLL is taking its hunt for the best real estate technology to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The global brokerage services firm announced this morning that JLL Spark, its proptech investment arm, is partnering with UK investment advisor, Concrete VC, to find the most relevant startups in which to invest.

The two firms most recently invested in Hubble, the online platform for flexible office space in London. As part of their new partnership, Concrete VC will continue to evaluate commercial real estate technology startups on JLL Spark’s behalf to determine which best fit the company’s business needs and could benefit from a cash infusion.

Mihir Shah

“We’re thrilled to partner with Concrete VC to uncover and invest in the best proptech startups in Europe,” said Mihir Shah, co-CEO of JLL Spark, noting that the Concrete VC team has already helped them identify promising new startups. “We’re looking forward to increasing our investment in Europe and connecting those startups with the customers and resources they need to grow and scale in commercial real estate.”

Taylor Wescoatt, founding partner of Concrete VC, commented: “We’re thrilled to partner with the biggest players in the commercial real estate industry to expand our influence in proptech. Joining forces with JLL Spark to lead operations in EMEA is a momentous occasion. By combining our networks and partners, we have access to the most promising startups out there.”

Concrete VC was founded in London in 2016 and acts as an investment partner to several large real estate players, including powerhouse Starwood Capital and London-based development giant U+I. Its full Corporate Advisory Group consists of nine global leaders in the real estate sector, including JLL, Seedcamp, flex workspace firm FORA,  Lockton Insurance Group, Clifford Chance and Nuveen.

It has positioned itself as tech solutions savant, working with its network of corporate partners to recognize and pinpoint promising solutions t real estate head-scratchers. In EMEA, JLL said Concrete VC will help “identify investment opportunities and deploy capital to companies that will positively impact their respective markets.”

A spokeswoman for JLL Spark said it has made about 10 investments since its launch in 2017, ranging from a few hundred thousand to several million dollars, in companies including Dealpath, Jones, Hubble, Skyline AI, Honest Buildings, HqO and Vergesense.

The JLL Spark announcement comes on the heels of a report that shows many real estate firms are becoming PropTech investors themselves. Software firm Altus Group Limited found that  53 percent of CRE firms are now directly investing in at least one type of PropTech firm.

Among the top choices of CRE investors are companies focusing on smart buildings systems, online lending marketplaces, and online investment marketplaces and crowdfunding.

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