Union Investment acquires strategic investment in PropTech firm Architrave
- 13% investment made by Union Asset Management Holding AG
- Strategic partnership to develop industry-wide real estate data platform
Union Investment is the new co-owner of the Berlin-based PropTech firm Architrave. As part of a strategic partnership, Union Asset Management Holding AG, Frankfurt, Germany, has acquired a 13% minority stake in the company. Architrave is the market leader in intelligent real estate data management solutions. Union Investment Real Estate GmbH has been a business partner of Architrave since September and has populated the Architrave platform with data from more than 400 properties it owns around the world.
The minority investment is linked to a research agreement concerning the joint development of one of Architrave’s cornerstone product components, Artificial Intelligence (AI). Both partners agree that the long-term objective is to establish an industry standard for gathering real estate data in an open, digital platform. This will benefit property owners, asset managers, property managers and facility managers in equal measure, as they will gain access to a systematic and standardised database for each of their properties without any issues with interfaces or problems with information. Real estate data remains available even if ownership of the property changes hands, removing the need for any time-consuming property and tenant data implementation processes following the sale of the property. With all the relevant data already available in a virtual data room, the transaction can be accelerated.
“The investment in Architrave is our first advance into the PropTech sector,” said Jens Wilhelm, Managing Director in charge of real estate, portfolio management and IT infrastructure at Union Investment. “The strategic partnership is a core element of our strategy of driving forward the process of digitisation in the real estate industry. With its established customer base and continuous expansion, Architrave is an ideal partner to realise our common vision of an industry-wide asset management data platform.” In May 2017, Architrave took second place at the inaugural international PropTech Innovation Award involving 200 firms.
“Partnerships with established players in the real estate industry form the foundation of our development as a company,” said Maurice Grassau, CEO and founder of Architrave. “With Union Investment on board, we want to kick on with our growth strategy and create genuine added value for the entire industry by joining forces on this development.” Architrave has generated triple-digit revenue growth for the past five years in succession. In 2017, its 32 employees will generate revenue of €2 million – figures that are set to double in 2018.
The minority stake does not grant Union Investment access to asset management data, which remains under the sole stewardship of Architrave. “Data integrity remains a cornerstone of our business model and therefore has top priority,” added Grassau. “Our data platform is, of course, hosted in highly secure German computer centres with maximum safeguards against unauthorised access and misuse. When a property changes hand, our experts transfer the real estate data to the new owner within the platform environment. This marks a milestone in process efficiency for integrating acquired properties into investors’ portfolios.”