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Institutions compete for first mover advantage in Asian proptech

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Karl Tomusk

Pension fund managers APG and Ivanhoé Cambridge have invested in Taronga Ventures’ real estate tech fund RealTech Ventures I (RTVI) as they seek to expand across Asia Pacific.

The partnership marks the first time APG, the largest pension provider in the Netherlands with more than €634bn in assets under management, has invested in proptech in the region.

For Quebec-based Ivanhoé Cambridge, the partnership reinforces its strategy and sustainability commitment as it diversifies its APAC portfolio, the company said.

The partnership also reinforces Ivanhoé Cambridge’s already close ties to the proptech sector, having previously agreed a strategic partnership with VC firm Fifth Wall.

Both funds pointed to the benefits of having a “first mover advantage” in property innovation through Taronga. Investors in other VC firm funds, such as Fifth Wall’s, have taken a similar view on partnerships.

RTVI invests in emerging companies that have a particular relevance to the region, and which have a “strong focus” on sustainability and clean tech.

Taronga’s recent investments include Hubble Singapore, a construction management platform, and retail software startup Kepler Analytics.

In addition to investing in the fund, APG and Ivanhoé Cambridge will become partners in Taronga’s ESG Impact innovation programme, supporting new sustainable technology innovations across Asia in 2022 and 2023.

Graeme Torre, managing director and head of real estate at APG Asest Management APAC, said: “The partnership will allow us to have direct access to some of the latest innovations in our industry, which will bring long-term benefits to our wider real estate portfolio.

“The fund’s strong focus on ESG-related tech also perfectly aligns with our vision to drive longer term sustainability within real estate.”

Sylvain Fortier, chief investment and innovation officer at Ivanhoé Cambridge, echoed Torre’s remarks, adding: “Our commitment to the fund will provide us a first-mover advantage in asset management and investment in Asia Pacific, helping us to identify emerging trends across the built environment and accelerating the adoption of technologies targeted at the decarbonisation of the real estate sector, while creating sustainable outcomes for the sector.”

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