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PropTech1 makes UK debut with Desana fundraise

European VC firm Proptech1 Ventures has led the $4m seed funding round for UK-based flexible workspace platform Desana in what is its first investment in the country.

Desana – one of several coworking booking services that PlaceTech recently showcased – allows employees to book exactly the office space they need from a global network of co-working spaces or in their company’s own office space.

Offering bookings by the hour, Desana seeks to tap into and enable hybrid work by providing the software large enterprises need to manage their workforces’ flexible working decisions.

Users are given a bank of hours that staff can use to book workspace in coworking spaces, meeting rooms and private offices.

For PT1, this is the first investment the company has made in the UK, having hired former Round Hill Capital/Ventures investment associate Kingma Ma earlier this year to lead its London office.

Ma said the UK has “incredibly exciting opportunities” for startups in the industry tackling problems that the country faces, especially around carbon emissions and changing consumer habits.

He  said: “We are excited that with Desana we have found a solution in the UK that we believe will have a great impact in shaping the global future of work.

“But there are other interesting challenges that the UK market is faced with in particular, e.g. incoming green legislation affecting utilities and industry carbon emissions, as well as the rapid changes in consumer habits, especially post-Covid and their impact on retail spaces, transport and parking.

“These challenges give rise to incredibly exciting opportunities for proptech startups to present real working solutions to the UK real estate market.”

In total, PT1 has made investments in 10 portfolio companies since the start of 2018, focusing on digitalisation, modernisation and sustainability within the real estate industry.

These include Simplifa, a digital property manager for elevators, and digital real estate management platform Architrave.

The $4m investment in Desana also included capital from British Growth Fund, Techstart Ventures, Ground Break Ventures and Accel Ventures.

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