Pi Labs' Team
The European VC's latest fund has started to invest in later-stage startups in an effort to find proptech's next unicorn

‘Surge’ in institutional interest in proptech as Pi Labs raises $90m

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Karl Tomusk

Backed by a bevy of global institutions, including Dutch pension provider APG, Argent and Hong Kong-based Sino Group, Pi Labs has raised $90m in its latest fund.

Faisal Butt, the VC firm’s founder and CEO, said the fundraise reflects a “surge in institutional allocation towards proptech” amid a growing awareness of how startups are solving “critical, large-scale industry issues”.

Primarily targeting early stage startups, Pi Labs’ Fund III will invest in technologies that address:

  • Sustainability
  • Construction
  • Future of work and retail
  • Metaverse development
  • Adoption of robotics
  • Industrial tech
  • Development of smart cities

Other investors in the fund include Sellar – the developer of the Shard in London – Swire Properties, Canadian Hopewell Group and Germany’s Jaeger Gruppe.

James Sellar, CEO of Sellar, said the company’s investment reflects the importance it places on digital transformation in real estate.

He said: “The startups that Pi Labs invests in are ultimately the ones that will solve the industry pressure points and challenges, including achieving a cleaner and greener world, which is fundamental when Sellar undertakes development projects.”

Investors will have access to Pi Labs’ “ecosystem” of startups, research and new tech in its growth programme, allowing them to quickly trial and adopt new tech.

Hunting for unicorns

Fund III is Pi Labs’ largest to date, and although its focus remains on early stage startups – those ranging from pre-seed to series A stages of funding – the VC firm said it will also target later stage rounds with its $90m.

Pi Labs is looking to back the next proptech unicorn and  to “turbocharge the scale-up of the sector’s most promising companies” – something it can do more effectively with a larger pool of capital and by targeting later stage startups.

Butt said: “Raising close to $100m against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented for a fund that primarily targets early-stage proptech ventures.

“Our fund being 40% oversubscribed positions us to deploy significant quantities of capital, alongside blue-chip institutions, into global markets where proptech startups are reshaping real estate sub-sectors prime for disruption.

“Pi Labs’ track record and ability to scout, and back, the world’s most innovative proptech companies at the earliest stages makes us a partner of choice for institutions entering the proptech sector.

“Having been the first proptech VC to complete successful exits and deliver returns, we look forward to partnering with our LPs to invest in new technologies that will revolutionise the built environment.”

Pi Labs has a portfolio of 60 startups across 15 countries, with a target of 100 by 2025.

Fund III has so far completed 21 investments, including in warehouse management platform Fulfilld, augmented reality startup Dent Reality and sustainability startup GreenPass.

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