JLL Spark rolls out $100m global venture fund for proptech investments

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Global real estate investment management firm JLL’s recently established arm JLL Spark has set up a $100-million venture fund to invest in technology-focused companies in the realty space.

The vehicle, dubbed JLL Spark Global Venture Fund, is expecting to tap into significant opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.

San Francisco-based JLL Spark, established last year, is led by co-CEOs Mihir Shah and Yishai Lerner, both having founded, managed and invested in profitable technology businesses.

The new fund will focus on seed and Series A investments as well as select later-stage rounds. Its typical investment size would range from a few hundred thousand to several million dollars.

Exuding optimism about the prospects in the APAC region, Shah said, “Asia Pacific is home to the world’s leading smart cities, many of which are powered by tech-enabled real estate tools. JLL is committed to cultivating next-generation proptech start-ups and promoting Asia Pacific as a hub of technology innovation for real estate, and JLL Spark Global Venture Fund is an extension of that goal.”

Proptech start-ups in Asia Pacific are outpacing their counterparts in Europe and the US with 179 of them raising around $4.8 billion in funding between 2013 and mid-2017 – over 60 per cent of the global tally.

According to several forecasts, funding for proptech startups in the region will reach $4.5 billion a year by 2020.

The fund will help startups connect with JLL’s business lines and clients for feedback and product distribution. The fund is looking to invest in proptech companies that can improve real estate development, management, leasing and investing, JLL said in an announcement on Wednesday.

“JLL Spark will direct its efforts to technology startups with products that can help JLL investor and occupier clients, or that can be used by JLL businesses to better deliver their services,” the release noted.

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