Change Ventures leads £1m seed round for PropTech startup Giraffe360
When I met Mikus Opelts in 2014, he had spent four years trying to convince hotels, real estate companies and other potential clients that they need his virtual tours of properties in order to get customers. While Mikus understood that the future of property presentation would change, he was frustrated that not enough customers were adopting what he saw as the logical next step in content to market their properties. Surely consumers in the future would want to cruise through a high-quality 3D rendering of a building or space to get a feel for it?
Instead of letting his disappointment turn to disillusionment, Mikus reacted in a way that showed ‘grit’ — passion and perseverance. He could see the future of better property capture and presentation technology and was determined to find a way to deliver a ground-breaking experience. In particular, he was convinced that a professional services business model would not scale to be the massive global business that he aspired to build. He had convinced his brother Madars to join him and together they figured out a revolutionary approach to real estate photography. Their challenge was to find a way to simplify, speed up and lower the cost of producing high-quality content for the real estate industry.
Fast forward to 2018 and they had invented, designed, tested and perfected the first robotic camera for property content capture. Leveraging the superb mechanical and electrical engineering talent in Latvia, and led by their CTO Einars Deksnis, they figured out how to build a camera that did not require a professional photographer to operate it. This involved several years of testing to discover all the nuances and details of the process, to hone the user experience and implement field testing feedback in a hardware product. During this time they doggedly stuck to their vision and found ways to motivate their team.
When Mikus approached Change Ventures about an investment, we did not have to think too long. As entrepreneurs, Mikus and Madars have exactly the grit we look for. The market opportunity is in the billions, covering all the brokers and agents worldwide that currently buy photography services to market their properties. The final test of whether the product was ready was simple: I asked them to bring a camera to my house, to give me 2 minutes worth of training.I then proceeded to use the camera on my own to put together a photo tour of my house. The result of this trial convinced us that the solution (camera and post-processing) was ready for prime-time use by ordinary non-techical users.
Today we are excited to announce that Change Ventures led the £1m seed round investment in Giraffe360, supported by a group of new angel investors and the prior round investors Koha Capital, who have supported the company through its product-market fit discovery stage. This round will fund the ramp-up of new camera production to deliver the service to many more brokers and real estate agents. They also plan to hire more sales and customer success staff to ensure the business grows rapidly. With customers like Re/Max, John Taylor and Hunters already on board today, Giraffe360 is poised for rapid expansion in the European market.
This is Change Ventures second investment in a Baltic hardware startup — already last year we backed Sprayprinter, the robotic printing company that has recently been making waves in Hollywood with building-size prints of Nissan advertising. We will continue to look for more amazing teams leveraging the unique engineering talent in the Baltic States.
#PropTech #Giraffe360 #Robotics #StartinLV #StartinLatvia #RealEstateTech #RealEstate
About Change Ventures:
Change Ventures is the first pre-seed/seed venture capital fund with boots on the ground in all three Baltic states. We back ambitious founders based in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania as well as Baltic diaspora entrepreneurs building their businesses elsewhere in the world. Our initial investments range from €100k to €750k, with follow-on capital available for later rounds. Our founder-friendly no-nonsense investment process is designed to help founders with big, bold ambitions get fast investment decisions. Once we are on board, we help with getting to product-market fit, raising additional funds and growing the business, leveraging an unparalleled network of follow-on investors and partners.
Find us at www.changeventures.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.