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Significant funding secured by SA prop-tech venture builder Castle One

Castle One, a South African prop-tech venture building organisation, has received a “substantial investment” from HL Hall and Sons Holdings, which the company claims would unleash new, synergistic value for the real estate sector both locally and globally.

Castle One has been involved in the emerging prop-tech field since 2018, having been founded by IT entrepreneurs Jonothan Rawson and Mark Forrester.

The venture capital firm is currently invested in three local real estate technology companies: Prop Data, a digital marketing and business platform for real estate, reOS, rental payments, and portfolio automation platform, and Ekaya, which provides prospective tenants with a single profile to assist landlords and property managers.

Halls is a 130-year-old family-owned company with local and worldwide interests in a variety of industries, including data and analytics, real estate investing, and medicines. Halls’ investment in Castle One, according to Rawson, will allow the company to accelerate its innovation journey while also expanding its footprint in international markets.

Despite the fact that the prop-tech area in South Africa has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, Rawson says that entrepreneurs have had a hard time succeeding — even when they have something unique to offer.

“This is largely due to the size of the formal South African property market when compared to markets like the US, but also the multi-faceted nuances of the real estate business itself, which newcomers to the industry tend to underestimate,” he said.

The industry’s unique characteristics, according to Rawson, offer several “subtle obstacles to innovation.” Castle One’s venture-building strategy, which entails investing in and constructing new goods and ventures while generating synergies and network effects, appears to be a solution to this problem. In recent years, the distinctiveness of its concept has drawn investment from a variety of stakeholders, culminating in the current deal with Halls.

“Our investment into Castle One is tremendously exciting as our companies have strong shared values and a common vision for how technology can benefit the real estate sector,” said Halls chief executive officer (CEO) Pete Backwell.

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