Carsales co-founder drives future of proptech off-the-plan

Carsales co-founder drives future of proptech off-the-plan

Carsales.com.au co-founder Steve Kloss has made a $1 million investment in off-the-plan property marketplace urban.com.au and proptech agency Social Garden, valuing the businesses at $40 million.

Steve will also join the board of directors as part of the share sale with the deal representing “a remarkable milestone” for the Urban and Social Garden team – Mike Bird and George Glover.

“We’ve known Steve for a long time and he’s informally coached us through some pretty key strategic decisions over the years,” Mike said. “So we’re stoked that he’s backing us to deliver on the next phase of our strategy given his experience with high-growth marketplace businesses.

“One of the things that holds buyers back from purchasing off-the-plan is the lack of transparency some developers provide. 

“We’ve built a free project-tracking tool that enables anyone to track a property development from council application, all the way through construction and any changes to the all important move-in date.” 

The Urban website and mobile apps enable consumers to see the entire residential off-the-plan property market and track development progress updates across 20,000-plus projects. 

The platform attracts hundreds of thousands of off-the-plan property buyers each month and now has the largest audience in the emerging “pure play” off-the-plan property portal space. 

Mike said Urban’s roadmap was similar to the carsales.com.au business model, particularly the early-stage transition from an advertising subscription model into a transactional marketplace.

“We have taken a keen interest in how Carsales Select is transforming the purchasing process by taking transactions online,” he said.

“We want to do something similar and partner with the best agents and agencies in the market to deliver property developers a fixed price per sale which helps them manage cost and reduce risk.” 

Steve said he could see how Urban and Social Garden were shaping the future of proptech in Australia. 

“I invest in great people, tech that is well implemented and a large addressable disruption opportunity,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working with the team as we aggressively scale.”