European VC A/O PropTech has announced a €250 million fund to invest permanent capital in proptech startups transforming the real estate market. The firm wants to aid not only the digital transformation of the industry but also the much-needed and highly trendy shift toward sustainability.
“Real estate is the biggest cause of climate change,” said founder Greogry Dewerpe, citing that the industry consumes 40 percent of the world’s energy and raw materials, while emitting 30 percent of its carbon. “An integral part of our strategy is to invest in emerging technology companies targeting sustainability in real estate and fast track them into our platform ecosystem.”
A cursory look through existing portfolio companies, such as Plentific, Fornova, Bricklane and Residently, revealed no claims of sustainability or concerns about the climate. Yet the firm promises to announce investments in this space, the intersection of proptech and climate tech, within the next few weeks.
Another particularity is that A/O PropTech only invests permanent capital. Permanent capital investments are for an indefinite period of time, which allows A/O to be a patient, stage-agnostic investor without arbitrary harvests.
“Investing with permanent capital allows A/O PropTech to stay agile and flexible, whilst removing the structural timing constraints found in traditional fund structures,” Dewerpe explained.
The team, which consists of data scientists, mathematicians and engineers in addition to the expected real estate and finance professionals, works from offices in London and Switzerland. A new office in Berlin will open this year.