Spark invests in Homes.co.nz real estate web site

Spark, through Spark Ventures, has bought an unspecified minority stake in PropertyNZ, the company behind the Homes.co.nz real estate web site.

PropertyNZ said the investment would support its ambitious growth plans to further disrupt the property portal market in New Zealand. CEO and co-founder, John Holt, said the investment would fund the 18 month old business through to a break even position and provide significant capacity for accelerating growth.

Spark Ventures CEO, Ed Hyde, said the company had made the investment for several reasons. “They are well placed to make an even bigger mark in the rapidly growing area of digital services for the home. They have a great team of seasoned New Zealand entrepreneurs and relevant international experience, and we see a lot of potential cross-benefits with some of our other services and customers.”

PropertyNZ was founded in 2013 and launched its web site in late 2015 after securing investment from online trading company Trade.me, which took a 13 percent stake for an unspecified amount.

Jamie Kruger, PropertyNZ chairman and co-founder, said the company was eager to help homeowners with decisions beyond the buying and selling of property. “Spark is a great fit as they understand the opportunities associated with successfully engaging with homeowners,” he said

PropertyNZ claims that Homes.co.nz “caught the attention of Spark by freeing up property data like sales histories and estimated values on a map interface and quickly growing to 300,000 monthly users in 12 months.”

It says much of this data was not freely available prior to the nationwide launch of Homes.co.nz in 2016. It says the company is in a healthy state having surpassed $1m in annualised revenue in its first year of operation.

Kruger said: “We’ve been blown away by the interest Kiwis have in the property data we’ve freed up. Property records for 1.7 million homes are now viewed 1.6 million times a month.”

Holt added: “Our focus on homeowners who are not buying or selling will increase as we add a wide range of calculators and tools to help manage your home and enhance its value.

“Helping Kiwi’s plan for their longer term property aspirations and significant projects on their current home is all part of our vision of being much more than just a property listings portal. … We’re connecting with homeowners to support their entire property journey, whether they are just getting started, have plans for a new kitchen, warmer home, or finding that perfect home by the beach to retire.”

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