London-based hedge fund Toscafund, which has a focus on fast-growth SMEs in sectors that are being disrupted by new challengers, led the investment to build on a portfolio that includes online car insurance firm Esure.
Marking easyProperty’s third round, Toscafund put forward 14m and has the opportunity to invest a further 9m in the future, while additional investors some old and some new contributed 2m.
This completed beat the 5m target easyProperty had in place, which takes the firm’s total investment to 39.25m and valuation to 100m. CEO Rob Ellice is determined to take on traditional high street estate agents with the company’s online approach.
This new, very substantial investment from Toscafund is a real opportunity to keep expanding both in the sales and lettings markets in the UK and in pan-European property services, and a sure indication of how we plan to take the market share from traditional high street agencies,” he said.
The appetite of such a large institutional investor, and with ongoing talks of investment opportunities internationally, is a significant step forward for easyProperty; which is the most widely recognised consumer brand in what is a very fragmented estate agency market.
Of course, Ellice was very vocal of his belief that the high street model is dead back in September, at which time easyProperty launched a PR stunt in the guise of a funeral for the traditional business sector.
Read more on the property market:
- The 10 most expensive shopping streets in the world
- Were not Airbnb: How one home rental business is differentiating in a crowded market
- Britain’s property market under construction with digital tours for hundreds of homes
easyProperty’s previous two rounds of funding were also oversubscribed it secured 4.5m in February 2014 and a further 9.75m in September, all of which was a combination of private finance, venture capital and crowdfunding.
Martin Hughes from Toscafund added: Being the first to discover Direct Line Insurance in the 1980s, a motor insurance company that used the telephone, a then disruptive approach, to grow to become the largest UK motor insurer, I have successfully continued the search for disruptive businesses in the 30 years since.
“easyProperty offers the brand, technology and management to enable a considerable saving to property transaction costs compared to the incumbents. The online process is an impressive disruptive approach to ease a much needed overcharged road block to the population mobility.
“We look forward, with confidence, to easyProperty leading the online development of property transactions and services in the UK and Europe.”