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KPMG’s High Growth Ventures group partners with Taronga Ventures to develop real estate startups

KPMG Australia’s new High Growth Ventures practice has announced a strategic alliance with Taronga Ventures, focused on developing opportunities for Taronga’s RealTech Venture Fund.

With Savills in 2016 estimating the combined value of the global real estate sector to be US$217 trillion, Taronga Ventures was founded last year by Jonathan Hannam, formerly head of capital at developer Mirvac, and Avi Naidu, founder of Aura Funds Management, to focus on tech developments in the sector.

The $50 million RealTech Venture Fund will be the first in Australia to centre on startups in the real estate and built environment sectors, looking at the different stages of the real estate ‘life cycle’, from planning and financing to design and construction, sale and development, leasing and management, and sustainability.

Under the partnership, KPMG’s High Growth Ventures practice will work with Taronga Ventures to develop and run programs including an accelerator for early stage startups in the space, as well as events connecting startups to industry and investors.

Amanda Price, head of High Growth Ventures, said real estate is “at the cusp of a tech-driven revolution” and Australian startups can help lead the charge across the Asia-Pacific region.

“We have founders who understand the space, we have innovative technologies, and we have an extremely sophisticated built environment sector due to the institutional nature of our [Real Estate Investment Trust] market,” she said.

“Much in the way that Australian emerged as a regional fintech leader thanks to building a community; this alliance is the first step in building a globally relevant Australian realtech sector.”

Naidu said Taronga Ventures expects to see huge model shifts in commercial, retail, and accommodation as digital technologies change the way people live.

“While investment into innovation in the real estate sector has been slow compared to sectors like financial services, this is quickly changing. Many of the largest owners of real estate have realised that in order to ensure long term returns for their portfolios they need to act now to ensure these assets remain relevant to changing consumer demand,” he said.

As part of the partnership, Price will also join the Advisory Council for the RealTech Venture Fund, joining others including Kerry Chikarovsky, former leader of the NSW Liberal Party, and Melanie Wills, former Chief Investment Officer at the NRMA.

The partnership comes just a few months after KPMG Australia announced the launch of the High Growth Ventures practice, which Price told Startup Daily at the time had been established to address the core needs of startups gearing up for growth, and “bring the rigour, expertise, and connections” of a global professional services firm to help them with acceleration.

With KPMG’s internal structure set up to work with bigger companies, Price said that while staff were keen to work with startups, they didn’t quite know how to best do so.

Price’s solution was a new division within KPMG that will work to sell what she calls “business design” to startups; that is, helping startups design their businesses from the beginning to give them the core foundations for fast growth, looking at the likes of business structure, IP, financial literacy, patents, and so on, with these priced according to the startup’s size.

“They’re all those things that we in here do normally, but we’ve productised that and priced accordingly for these entrepreneurs,” she said.

Image: Amanda Price. Source: Supplied.