Mitsubishi Estate makes first proptech investment outside Japan
GorillaSpace, an online market for offices based in Singapore, has completed an undisclosed seed round led by Japanese real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate Co from its dedicated $100m innovation pot.
The round was supported by an investor consortium that included Silversea Media Group, a 3D and virtual reality producer.
According to MEC, this investment was part of an initiative “to discover new business projects and to develop synergy with businesses that are driving tech innovation in the property sector”.
GorillaSpace was established last year by husband and wife, Ben and Ginny Eckblad. Ben worked at JLL and Colliers previously. Ginny spent 12 years at Murex, a tech supplier to the investment management market. The pair graduated from Propell Asia, an accelerator programme supported by JLL and Lendlease among others. The company already claims WeWork, Regus, Mapletree and LHN Group among its partners.
Kyota Kobayashi, general manager of MEC’s business creation department, said: “We believe in the founders who have deep commercial real estate experience and technical capabilities.
“GorillaSpace represents a fresh and exciting way to showcase office spaces and help businesses find workspaces more efficiently.”
The listing site claims to be the first property marketplace to provide long-term office spaces and flexible workspace options, as well as a hybrid of these categories called “Core and Flex”.
Highlight features include listing verification by a dedicated team, virtual 360-degree viewings of all listings and a built-in smart recommendation engine.
Ben Eckblad, founder and CEO of GorillaSpace, said the funds will be used to accelerate the reach and scope of the online marketplace. He said: “The commercial property market is experiencing a shift from multi-year office space leases to more flexible options. Businesses want less commitment upfront and GorillaSpace helps them see all available options.
“Businesses now have the choice of combining a long-term lease together with flexible space to house specialised teams or temporary additional headcount.”
The investment comes as GorillaSpace has experienced significant growth over the past few months. So far this year, it’s helped 1,000 businesses find workspaces as well as experiencing a 21.5% month-on-month growth in traffic to the website and 30% rise in listings on the platform.
Chang HuanJian, who found a workspace through GorillaSpace, commented: “The space we found was just like the photos and 360° panoramas shown online.
“I was able to communicate the shortlisted options with our co-founders. This service really saved us a lot of time and helped decision-making.”