Property Place

Seedcorn Fund Case Study

Left to right: Digital Director Alex Craven, Chairman Dean Fielding, Investor Director Michael Holmes, CEO Sohail Rashid, Investment Manager Graham Davies and Chief Operating Officer Yuseph Hedar.

The Company

Young Leeds entrepreneur Sohail Rashid launched the first property search application on Facebook in the UK in January this year and it is now the largest property network on the social network. The 27-year-old can also lay claim to the fastest growing property website of 2012.

Property Place integrates the property search experience with social media, allowing listings to be matched to Facebook's existing membership. The Search and Match tool allows users to connect with property listings that match their lifestyle and interests.

The Challenge

Building on strong foundations, the company felt it was time to go to the ‘next level’.

Sohail said: “The team at Finance Yorkshire took the time to ask questions about the business and talked me through the finance, decision-making and due diligence processes, as well as what they felt was needed to take Property Place to the next level.

“They also challenged us on aspects of the business, which allowed me to go away and re-think and refine and I am very grateful for all the strategic support we received.”

The Solution

Alongside a Seedcorn Fund investment from Finance Yorkshire, Property Place also received a cash injection from private investor and former Group Finance Director for LSL Properties Ltd, Dean Fielding.

In addition to the financial investment, Property Place has received key business mentoring assistance from Finance Yorkshire.

Sohail said: 'Our lawyers 3volution recommended Finance Yorkshire as they thought a Seedcorn investment would be a good financial route for us to go down.

“We used the Seedcorn investment from Finance Yorkshire to build up our structure, get our internal processes in order, develop and test our initial approach and scale up our business revenue models.”

The Investment Rationale

Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager Graham Davies said: “The Seedcorn Fund aims to back innovative companies that have the potential to become ‘beacon companies’ for the region – and Property Place is a perfect example of that.

“Property Place is a new and innovative company that has proved to be capable of rapid growth and we’re very pleased the funding and hands-on support has been of benefit.”

Future Expectations

“Property Place aims to improve how the property sector is marketed,” said Sohail, “adding some much needed change and innovation to what can be a traditionally quite stagnant and rigid structure.

“Finance Yorkshire saw the opportunity for international expansion and we hope to quite quickly move into Europe and beyond and become a global industry leader.”

Note: this case study is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire

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