Chicago-based CA Ventures has hired Carlo Matta to lead its planned entry into the European student housing markets.

The company, which is established in the US student housing market, announced earlier this year that it wanted to invest $500m (€431m) in Europe in the next five years.

Matta, who was most recently a managing director at Optimum Asset Management, will head the new London-based European division.

Olaf Henschen has also been appointed managing director for developments in the Netherlands.

Henschen was previously managing director of residential and student housing developments in the Netherlands for Belgium’s Life Group.

Tom Scott, CEO of CA Ventures, said: “These strategic hires, both of whom were hand-picked given their extensive experience on the international stage, will accelerate the growth of our European division as we continue to identify development opportunities in vastly underserved markets.

“With dozens of years of experience between them, Carlo and Olaf can provide us with the hyperlocal insights and relationships needed to build upon CA’s existing $4.5bn student housing and multifamily residential portfolios across the US, Canada, Latin America and Europe.”

CA is seeking to acquire both consented and unconsented schemes for development in addition to stalled for-sale schemes considering conversion to rental.

The firm is seeking joint venture partners and offering broker incentives to source new investment opportunities.

Target student accommodation markets will have a minimum enrollment of 15,000, while private-rented sector markets will boast a population of 200,000 or greater.

CA is currently developing two student housing communities in the UK, two in Poland, and is in active negotiations to acquire properties and development sites throughout both countries, as well as Ireland, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.