Yesterday the UK’s Coadjute, an enterprise blockchain platform for UK real estate, said it raised a £6 million ($8m) pre-Series A round of funding led by Praetura Ventures. Other backers include U.S. based Collab+Currency, the LegalTech Fund and Rocket One Capital.
It follows a £3 million seed round last year and brings total funds raised to £10 million.
Coadjute uses blockchain to link the CRM systems involved in the house buying process, and so far, has signed up software platforms that support 70% of the UK’s estate agents. The company executed its first transaction in July, which was completed in nine weeks, compared to a current average of five months.
Around 30% of agreed real estate transactions fall through in the UK. Hence, all parties are keen to keep tabs on the deal’s progress, including the buyer, seller, estate agents, lawyers, mortgage brokers and lenders. Using blockchain to share the progress of the transaction reduces stress, administration costs, and the time to completion. Without this sort of system, the process involves emailing documents and many phone calls to confirm the status.
“The UK property market has been overdue an innovation like Coadjute for many years,” said Colin Greene of Praetura Ventures, who joins the board. “The founders have developed something that will completely revolutionise how we buy houses in the UK and beyond.”
Coadjute is based on R3’s Corda enterprise blockchain. Unlike many enterprise blockchain projects, it’s a SaaS platform rather than a consortium and hence isn’t subject to the delays typical of many such initiatves. And by integrating with existing software providers, it has a relatively fast route to market. It plans to use the funds raised to roll out across the UK over the next two years.
The startup has carved out a strong niche for itself. While it’s far from the first company to use blockchain in real estate, most other companies are focused on the mortgage process and securitization, tokenizing real estate or land registry applications. In Japan, bitFlyer Blockchain is collaborating with Sumitomo and other major companies to simplify the apartment rental and moving process, including rental guarantees and changing names on bills.