GeoPhy map data

Online valuer GeoPhy raises $33m to aid global expansion 

The Dutch property valuation platform has closed a $33m investment round to accelerate its global expansion plans.

London and San Francisco-based venture capital firm Index Ventures led the Series B round, supported by existing investors Inkef Capital and Hearst Ventures.

Founded in 2014 by architects Teun van den Dries and Sander Mulders, the company is on a mission to improve transparency and accuracy in the $280tn global real-estate and property industry. GeoPhy has developed an artificial intelligence-driven software suite that harvests data from public and private sources, such as satellite images and sales data, and works out the relationship between asset values and features.

The platform considers areas such as location characteristics, demographics and economic data, as well as hyperlocal factors including transport, green space and crime rates. Its growing database consists of 150m property records.

Transforming property valuation

Looking to challenge existing asset valuation approaches, GeoPhy said its use of machine learning “sifts through the breadth of traditional and unconventional data available today to provide detailed, bias-free insight about the current value and potential appreciation of commercial real estate assets at scale for a fraction of the time and cost”.

Over the past few years, GeoPhy has signed major clients such as American mortgage provider Fannie Mae, British stock market data services firm FTSE Russell and US finance and lending group Walker & Dunlop. Other clients include UBS, AEW Europe, Bentall Kennedy, Nuveen, and Goldman Sachs.

Van den Dries, CEO of GeoPhy, said: “Real estate is foundational to all areas of economic activity — to everyday life, in fact — but much of it is based on inaccurate or biased data.

“Furthermore, there’s an information asymmetry that distorts the market and leads to volatility. By providing a quicker, more reliable and intelligent service, GeoPhy helps its customers make better decisions, and promotes a better functioning market.”

Ambitious scale-up campaign

With more money in the bank, GeoPhy plans to ramp up innovation with new predictive features and UI functionality. Headquartered in the Dutch city of Delft, the firm will also grow its team across the US and Europe.

Jan Hammer, general partner of Index Ventures, said: “GeoPhy is bringing much-needed innovation to the antiquated property sector. Much of the world’s wealth is in real estate, yet we understand very little about how to accurately value it, or about the forces that have an impact on it.

“This is a critical issue for everyone from portfolio managers to central bankers, and we believe GeoPhy’s technology has the potential to improve how the market operates.”

Proptech entrepreneur Vik Tara, managing director of software business Technology Blueprint, said it was great to see continuing support for the role of data analytics and AI in the valuations space. He told PlaceTech: “As a well-funded European startup, this Series B investment round gives GeoPhy just what they need to move forwards with their established commercial valuations proposition. We will be interested to see how they move into the residential space also. With a proven methodology showing how digital valuations can provide the market with a much-needed objectivity, if they spend the money well they will no doubt be a valued player in the digitisation of property worldwide.”

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