GorillaSpace has raised seed investment led by Tokyo-listed real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate Company (MEC), according to an announcement by the Singapore-based start-up, which did not specify the amount of funding it would receive.
“GorillaSpace represents a fresh and exciting way to showcase office spaces and help businesses find workspaces more efficiently,” said Kyota Kobayashi, the general manager of Mitsubishi Estate Company’s business creation department.
The investment by the Japanese property giant, which operates a JPY 10 billion ($100 million) initiative to discover new business projects, is Mitsubishi Estate’s only foray into property technology outside of Japan, and its first ever seed-level investment.
Singapore’s First Online Marketplace for Workspace
Set up by entrepreneurs Ben and Ginny Eckblad in 2017 as Singapore’s first ever online marketplace for workspace, the company woos users with an offer of more efficient property searches covering a wider range of options. The funding for GorillaSpace comes after the startup was selected for JLL and Lendlease’s inaugural property technology accelerator programme organised in Singapore last year.
“The platform is the first property marketplace to offer both long-term office spaces and flexible workspace options, as well as a hybrid of the two categories, the so-called “Core and Flex” that is gaining increasing attention in corporate real estate circles,” said the company’s founders.
Powered by the trademarked GorillaMatch search engine, GorillaSpace claims to make it easier for businesses to find and lease offices, co-working space and serviced offices by personalising recommendations, and reducing businesses up to 75 hours of search time.
Silversea Media Group, a Singaporean 3D and VR technology provider, was also named among a consortium of investors that are betting on a bright future for the proptech start-up.
3D Imaging and Virtual Reality Tours
Users of the website can access 360 degree panoramas, videos, and virtual reality tours before making a physical visit, while listings on the platform are verified by a dedicated team to protect users from misinformation or fraudulent advertisers.
The proptech company will use the seed-level investment to accelerate its online reach, while also continuing to align its offer with the commercial property market’s shift from multi-year office leases to more flexible options, according to co-founder Ben Eckblad, a former director-level executive with JLL, Colliers and Regus.
“Businesses want less commitment upfront and GorillaSpace helps them see all available options,’ Eckblad said.
Counting on Tech to Score Users
The proptech start-up’s successful seed-round investment comes at a time when the Asia Pacific commercial market is looking to technology as a potential game-changer.
Propell Asia, the proptech accelerator programme launched last year by JLL and Lendlease, aimed to “uncover the next Asian proptech unicorn”.
GorillaSpace was among the five startups selected as having the potential, according to Lendlease’s chief executive officer for Asia Tony Lombardo, to transform the industry in the region.
Riding the Ke.com Wave
Momentum for proptech is strong in the wake of Chinese online property listing platform Beike Zhaofang securing $800 million in funding from investors led by internet giant Tencent just three months ago.
Beike, also known as Ke.com, runs an open listing platform that enables users to search and locate properties for sale or rent, as well as offering financial services to buyers and tenants in more than 500 cities across China.
Beike’s services, as with GorillaSpace, are enhanced by high-tech touches such as virtual reality site visits.
In the first four months of 2019, GorillaSpace helped over 1,000 businesses find solutions to their workspace needs, with a 21.5 percent month-on-month increase in traffic since 2018, as well as a growth of over 30 percent in listings.