REA Group bets big on proptech, spending $13.3 million on real estate BNPL CampaignAgent

- February 5, 2021 2 MIN READ
CampaignAgent co-founders Shaun Moriarty and Seth Watts
ASX-listed real estate company REA Group – best known for realestate.com.au – is spending $13.3 million on a 27% stake in Campaign Agent, a buy now pay later solution for vendor-paid advertising.

The strategic stake in the Melbourne-based fintech was announced during REA Group’s (ASX: REA) half-yearly results today.

CampaignAgent offers a BNPL solution to the cost of marketing property sales thought its product VPAPay.

Founded by Shaun Moriarty and Seth Watts in 2017, CampaignAgent has now raised more than $30 million and closed out 2020 by securing an $80 million warehouse funding facility. In just two years, the business has had more than 85,000 property vendors through the 7000-plus agents on its the fintech platform, with one in five properties listed in the Australian market using CampaignAgent.

REA Group CFO, Janelle Hopkins, will join the CampaignAgent board, joining recently appointed chairman David Hackett, the former MLC Life boss

Moriarty and Watts, who have backgrounds in property and finance, met while studying for MBAs and came up with the idea for CampaignAgent in a ski lift while holidaying together six years ago. They remain CampaignAgent’s largest shareholders.

Moriarty, the CEO, said the REA Group investment will support their immediate growth plans and product roadmap.

“As the first company providing this service in Australia, it’s encouraging to see the sector growing,” he said.

“We recognise the massive potential of partnering with such a respected industry leader like REA to augment the company’s service offering. For us it’s just the start of our next phase of growth.”

REA Group CEO, Owen Wilson said they been following the company’s progress for some time.

“We were impressed by their deep technology integration across the real estate ecosystem and the leading position that they have built in the market,” he said.

It’s been a busy few months for REA Group when it comes to investing in startups. Last December it took a 17.9% stake in Realtair, a proptech platform that allows agents to pitch, sign, automate and streamline the steps from property appraisal to settlement through mobile, easy-to-use technology. They increased that holding to 19.9% last Wednesday for an aggregate investment of $7.3m.

In its statement to the ASX today, REA Group said the combination of Realtair and CampaignAgent with existing agent promotion products, allows them to create a market-leading offering to help customers win their next listing.

REA Group is one of the top 5 tech stocks on the ASX. Its results for the half-year to December 31, 2020., the company’s revenue was down 2% to $430.4 million, but operating expenses fell 13% to $145.8m for an EBITDA of $290.2m, up 9%. Net Profit was up 13% to $172.1m, with the company declaring an interim dividend of 59 cents per share, up 7%.

In morning trade today, REA Group’s share price is up more than 3% to $159.50.