London PropTech startup, Hubble, has announced that it has raised £1.2m in a funding round to build the world’s first digital commercial property advisor.
The round was led by Firestartr with participation by leading investors in the real estate and technology sectors, including 500 Startups (Makerbot, Twilio), Maxfield Capital (eMoov, Patients Know Best) and Concrete, the PropTech fund backed by Seedcamp and Starwood Capital (where Hubble is its first technology investment) amongst others. This round follows a £500k seed round completed by Hubble at the end of 2014.
The funding will also enable Hubble to expand the current platform into cities across the UK and beyond. Hubble will also start building new, proprietary technology, in the form of a smart digital advisor, which replaces commercial property agents to deliver instant, intelligent solutions in office rental transactions for SMEs (companies up to 250 people).
Founded by Tushar Agarwal (CEO), Tom Watson (CTO) and Rohan Silva (Second Home, former advisor to David Cameron) in 2014, Hubble started out by helping small startups find spare office space. The platform now has more than 30,000 businesses signed up, with over 20,000 desks available to rent on a flexible basis across London. The company has helped brands such as Monzo, Ministry of Sound & Funding Circle but is also increasingly working with blue-chip corporate firms such as Jaguar Land Rover, Mouchel and Aldermore Bank.
Hubble’s CEO, Tushar Agarwal, said “Brexit has been a boon for us, as SMEs that would traditionally sign long-term office leases are now coming to Hubble to look for flexible terms as a hedge against the uncertain economic environment; office landlords are being forced to find innovative ways to generate income.
“Hubble is the driving force behind a trend that is seeing traditional commercial property agents quickly becoming obsolete. As technology has enabled the number of freelancers and SMEs in the world to grow at an unprecedented rate, they are rapidly displacing Fortune 500 companies from the physical real estate they traditionally occupy – the bread and butter of traditional agents. The economics of the labour intensive model of property agents just don’t stack up with the future of work.”
Hubble’s CTO, Tom Watson, said “We’re moving towards a world where technology is either enhancing or replacing the experience a customer has with a broker. We’ve seen this with Habito in the mortgage market and the Nutmeg robo-advisor in the investment market.
“This new funding allows us to build a platform that will be able to deliver an unlimited number of rental transactions at zero marginal cost and reduce average transaction time from 3 months to 3 weeks. The Hubble platform will never compromise on the quality of the match and the service. In fact, it’s the opposite of human property agents – machine learning will mean that the platform gets better the more people use it.
“Our vision is for Hubble to be the world’s first artificially intelligent commercial property company by 2020.”
Alexander Lazarev, Partner at Maxfield Capital said “As an early stage property tech investor we believe that the commercial property industry will follow the same digital transformation as residential. Hubble is the leading company in the space, giving customers a one-stop shop for flexible space, greater transparency and the ability to move with a few clicks. With 30% of the office sector estimated to be flexible by 2030 (from just 3% in 2010), this is a huge macroeconomic shift in how the world uses physical space.”