VCs back property website seeking media partnerships

Property website extate.co.uk has secured seed funding from The Accelerator Group, Arts Alliance and Samos Investments, as it begins to seek strategic partnerships.

Venture firms The Accelerator Group, Arts Alliance and Samos Investments have taken a “significant minority stake” in website extate.co.uk, as part of a seed funding round. Terms were not disclosed. 

Extate.co.uk’s co-founders Artemi Krymski and Douglas de Jager will be joined by Robin Klein, chairman of TAG, and Adam Valkin, a partner at Arts Alliance and a former director of propertyfinder, on the board of the company.

Extate.com employs a similar approach to search engine Google, using online ‘robots’ to search for estate agency listings. It then sorts the information and produces summaries that link to the website concerned. 

The website indexes 418,000 UK real estate listings from 5000 agents’ offices, and has the second largest UK coverage behind Rightmove – a similar website part-owned by European buyout firm BC Partners.

De Jager said: “We have a few things in the pipeline to monetise the company.” At the moment the company receives the majority of its income from advertising, but it is considering a subscription fee, he said. He declined to reveal the company’s turnover.

“In the past big newspaper groups made money by real estate listings and job listings,” he added. However, the growth of the internet has affected traditional advertising revenues, forcing media companies to seek strategic online partnerships. For example, Rupert Murdoch’s company News International bought propertyfinder for £14.3 million in 2005. 

“Big media with an advertising business model may be interested in a partnership as a joint venture or in seeking an exclusive license for our technology,” de Jager said. Valkin worked seven years at propertyfinder, where he helped set up arrangements with large internet companies such as Microsoft and AOL, so he will be expected to help establish such connections.

The Accelerator Group and Arts Alliance previously backed successful start-ups lastminute.com and online DVD rental company LOVEFiLM. Samos was an investor in the online betting exchange Betfair.