Europe’s proptech-focused venture capital firm Pi Labs has expanded internationally through the creation of a new Hong Kong outpost.
Founded in London in 2015 by Faisal Butt, Pi Labs focuses on early-stage investments in technology start-ups that help digitise and decarbonise the built environment.
The company has invested in more than 80 start-ups since inception, with a total gross value of £8.8bn based on recent company valuations.
The firm said its new presence in Asia had been driven by its increasingly global investor network and their growing requirements for specialist proptech investment expertise in the region.
Coverage of the Asian markets from Hong Kong also brings significant strategic opportunity for portfolio companies to expand into the region, capitalising on the local demand for market-shaping proptech innovation, Pi Labs said.
It added that it will look to grow its existing ecosystem of founders and investors, bringing a highly collaborative approach to the Asia proptech scene.
To spearhead Pi Labs’ expansion into Asia, the firm has hired technology and real estate professional Akina Ho.
She has more than 20 years of experience in real estate, investment, finance, change management, digital transformation, and corporate and marketing strategy from Silicon Valley to numerous global markets.
Faisal Butt, managing partner at Pi Labs, said: “Built-world technology has a critical role to play in the evolution of cities. Proptech is now recognised as a global category that is positively transforming the future of our built world, and is leading the charge on the fight against climate change.
“We’re really proud of the progress we’ve made since we launched in London in 2015 – and this step to scale our own business across key global markets is a pivotal, and exciting, moment in the evolution of our growth.”
Butt added that Pi Labs’ focus remained on investing in European start-ups with global ambitions “to expand into a number of international markets where we can see there is opportunity for our portfolio companies to scale”.
Butt said: “Hong Kong is a key gateway to Asia and benefits from progressive real estate developers already taking bold steps to deploy the latest technology into the built world. We already have partners in Hong Kong including household names – such as Swire Properties – and continue to have meaningful discussions with world-class capital partners who are searching for the connectivity, deep industry knowledge, and investment expertise we have in built-environment technology – knowledge that has been acquired over nearly a decade of learnings in Europe.”
Ho, head of Asia at Pi Labs, said: “Pi Labs was the first ever VC to target early-stage strategic investments in the built environment in Europe – and this clarity of vision from the outset has enabled the business to have had a transformational impact on the proptech market globally.
“Pi Labs’ expansion into Asia will allow investors to have access to deep tech startups that help to digitalise and decarbonise the built world. As proptech in Asia is moving seriously towards a more ESG-focused strategic direction, it is perfect timing for Pi Labs to enter Asia.”
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