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1 Of Europe’s Savviest Retail Investors Is Upping Its Bet On PropTech

Revolt's Ted Orf

Private equity fund manager Meyer Bergman has been one of the most astute investors in UK and European retail real estate over the past decade. Last year it made a segway into last-mile logistics assets. Now it is increasing its investment in the PropTech sector.

Meyer Bergman has formally announced its backing of Revolt Ventures, a venture capital firm specialising in PropTech. It is not quite right to say this is a new business: Revolt has been operational since 2012 and made seven investments, according to Crunchbase. These include an early investment in pop-up retail platform Appear Here in 2013 and an investment in coworking firm Huckletree in 2014.

Until now these investments, all backed by Meyer Bergman, have been somewhat ad hoc. Now there will be a subsector of Meyer Bergman’s investment committee and a dedicated pool of capital earmarked for real estate technology investments.

Revolt will invest in Series A and Series B funding rounds — funding rounds where companies have a product or service that is up and running, and are taking on outside investment for the first time — and make investments of between €2M and €10M.

It will be run by Ted Orf, whose background combines PropTech, including a spell working with a PropTech incubator in Berlin; and real estate, including stints at Value Retail and Hudson Advisors, the asset management firm owned by Lone Star. And his property pedigree is not too shabby; he is the son of Apollo Global Management head of European real estate Roger Orf.

“We started to formalise the entity last year, to institutionalise both the approach to new investments and the management of the existing portfolio of investments,” Orf told Bisnow. “We have a mandate to invest in those areas that Meyer Bergman sees as growing within real estate, and also where it sees tangible benefits from incorporating technology into its workflow, at a business or an asset level.”

Examples of the first kind of investment would include investment in “real estate-as-a-service” companies like Huckletree or Appear Here or U.S. coworking company NeueHouse, in which it invested in December.

Examples of investments into companies which help Meyer Bergman improve its business include an investment into an as-yet-unnamed construction technology company that will help it undertake developments and redevelopments faster and cheaper. These technologies could be used by Meyer Bergman or the portfolio and platform companies it backs, Orf said.