Hubble: Make room for the start-ups

Hubble: Make room for the start-ups

PropTech start-up Hubble has raised £1.2m as it looks to build the world’s first digital commercial property advisor.

London PropTech start-up Hubble has announced that it has raised £1.2m in funding as it looks to build the world’s first digital commercial property advisor.

Hubble was launched by Tushar Agarwal (CEO), Tom Watson (CTO) and Rohan Silva (a former advisor to David Cameron) back in 2014.

The company is helping solve the shortage and sometimes spiralling cost of office space for young companies in London through its online platform, Hubble HQ.

Hubble HQ connects start-ups with those who have space to rent out, such as professional landlords offering co-working spaces and serviced offices and corporates with unused space.

The platform now has more than 30,000 businesses signed up, with over 20,000 desks available to rent on a flexible basis across London.

Agarwal told BQ: “I came up with the idea whilst working in banking having seen how much excess space companies had on their books that was going to waste. Equally, I saw how much small businesses were struggling to find affordable and flexible office space.

“This, coupled with the recent boom in start-ups in London, led to the idea that technology could solve this major pain point by connecting those with spare space with those that need it. I thought this could also transfer to helping larger SMEs and traditional businesses too.”

Since launching, Hubble has helped brands such as Monzo, Ministry of Sound and Funding Circle find space but is also increasingly working with blue-chip corporates such as Jaguar Land Rover, Mouchel and Aldermore Bank.

And it doesn’t stop there. Having announced last week that it has raised £1.2m from its latest funding round, Hubble is now set to start building new, proprietary technology, in the form of a smart digital advisor, which replaces commercial property agents to deliver instant, intelligent solutions in office rental transactions for SMEs (companies up to 250 people).

Agarwal said: “Brexit has been a boon for us, as SMEs that would traditionally sign long-term office leases are now coming to Hubble to look for flexible terms as a hedge against the uncertain economic environment; office landlords are being forced to find innovative ways to generate income.

“Hubble is the driving force behind a trend that is seeing traditional commercial property agents quickly becoming obsolete.

“As technology has enabled the number of freelancers and SMEs in the world to grow at an unprecedented rate, they are rapidly displacing Fortune 500 companies from the physical real estate they traditionally occupy - the bread and butter of traditional agents.

“The economics of the labour-intensive model of property agents just don’t stack up with the future of work.”

Watson added: “We’re moving towards a world where technology is either enhancing or replacing the experience a customer has with a broker. We’ve seen this with Habito in the mortgage market and the Nutmeg robo-advisor in the investment market.

“This new funding allows us to build a platform that will be able to deliver an unlimited number of rental transactions at zero marginal cost and reduce average transaction time from three months to three weeks.

“The Hubble platform will never compromise on the quality of the match and the service. In fact, it’s the opposite of human property agents - machine learning will mean that the platform gets better the more people use it.

“Our vision is for Hubble to be the world’s first artificially intelligent commercial property company by 2020.”

The funding round was led by Firestartr (Transferwise, Second Home, Peak, Urban Massage) with participation by leading investors in the real estate and technology sectors, including 500 Startups (Makerbot, Twilio), Maxfield Capital (eMoov, Patients Know Best) and Concrete, the PropTech fund backed by Seedcamp and Starwood Capital (where Hubble is its first technology investment) amongst others.

This follows a £500,000 seed round completed by Hubble at the end of 2014.

Alexander Lazarev, a partner at Maxfield Capital, said: “As an early stage property tech investor we believe that the commercial property industry will follow the same digital transformation as residential.

“Hubble is the leading company in the space, giving customers a one-stop shop for flexible space, greater transparency and the ability to move with a few clicks.

“With 30% of the office sector estimated to be flexible by 2030 (from just 3% in 2010), this is a huge macroeconomic shift in how the world uses physical space.”