Offr, a property tech startup co-founded by former Savills and Allsop / BidX1 auctioneer Robert Hoban, has raised €3m in funding from Barclays Bank and a group of angel investors and venture capital firms.
Offr is the first Irish company to receive a follow-on investment from Barclays through its London accelerator programme. The bank and Rob Pierre, co-founder of London-based digital marketing firm Jellyfish are the two largest investors in Offr’s seed round.
A number of British and Irish senior figures in finance, tech and property – as well as VC firms including Frontline Ventures and Enterprise Ireland, – are among the 30 backers of Offr, which also raised €1m last year.
Offr provides secure and transparent bidding and transaction technology for the property industry, with a button that estate agents and sellers can put on their property listings enabling a transaction to be completed digitally, and connecting estate agents to banks and solicitors using integrated messaging and services from DocuSign, Stripe, Onfido, WhatsApp Business, Twilio, Slack, Matterport, EyeSpy360, and Hubspot.
“Ireland sees €15bn of property sales a year, with 60,000 transactions and largely paper-based processes taking on average seven months from listing to completion. We can reduce that to three or four months,” Mr Hoban said.
“The business conducted the world’s first digital property transaction during the lockdown, via Sherry Fitzgerald, selling six apartments in an online auction as one lot.”
Mr Hoban founded the business in late 2018, along with Philip Farrell, a former auctioneer and CEO of the Real Estate Alliance, and Niall Dawson, Offr’s CTO, who honed his tech and software development skills at Worky, Ultimate Rugby and Xsellco.
“We’re inspired by [Irish customer-messaging unicorn] Intercom’s global success. We want to do for property what Amazon or Shopify have done for ecommerce,” said Mr Hoban. “Niall has brought a wealth of tech expertise to our team so we can achieve that. We’ll use the funding to expand the business and we’re talking to several of the largest property websites here and in Britain about integrating our technology.”
Jellyfish – which employs 1,100 people around the world, and merged with a French firm last November valuing the combined entity at €550m – will now boost Offr’s digital marketing as it seeks to expand in Australia and the UK, whose property markets are worth €170bn and €460bn respectively, Mr Hoban said.
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