Online property business going places after investment

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.

A young entrepreneur from Leeds who launched the first property search application on Facebook in the UK is building on strong foundations for his business thanks to a Finance Yorkshire Seedcorn Fund investment.

Sohail Rashid launched Property Place in January this year and it is now the largest property network on Facebook. 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, helping them find a home close to friends, family, work, local schools, universities and favourite social hangouts.

Sohail set up the company in April last year and, alongside the loan from Finance Yorkshire, 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.

“The team at Finance Yorkshire saw the potential of the concept and were very helpful and supportive. They 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.

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

“Property Place aims to improve how the property sector is marketed, 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.”

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.”

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit or ring 0845 649 0000.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire