Dubai PropTech Keyper raises $6.5m in seed round to fund global expansion

Start-up will set up in Saudi Arabia next year and look at London, Istanbul and New York thereafter

Omar Abu Innab, co-founder and chief executive of Keyper, and Walid Shihabi, co-founder and chief strategy officer of the start-up. Photo: Keyper
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Keyper, a Dubai-based property technology start-up, has raised $6.5 million in a seed funding round that it will use to expand its operations and geographical footprint, with a focus on overseas markets, from next year.

The investment round was led by UAE-based early stage venture fund Access Bridge and single family office Vivium Holdings, with Dubai's Middle East Venture Partners and Jabbar Internet Group, key players in the real estate ecosystem and a group of angel investors, also participating, the company said on Tuesday.

Keyper will be expanding into Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's biggest economy, in 2024, co-founder and chief strategy officer Walid Shihabi told The National.

Based on the portfolios of its existing customer base, it will look into other global real estate investment centres, including London, Istanbul and New York.

“Our mission is to develop technology to bring real estate in the region to the same level of digitisation as other global hubs like London or New York, starting with removing checks by digitising the rental payment life cycle in the UAE and investment reporting through our investor app,” he said.

Keyper will also cater to the expanding digitisation in the property investment and management space, with trends in the sector and user adaptation expected to continuously, Mr Shihabi said.

“Payment of rent will transition towards easier and more manageable digital payment methods, with optionality of embedded payments. In terms of property investment trends, we believe that access to live transaction data will enable much more effective tools to assist decision-making by private investors,” he said.

“Digitisation of payments will enable innovative financial solutions in order to manage and optimise landlords' return on investment and cash flows, as well as making renting for tenants a smooth and more affordable experience.”

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PropTech is the application of technology into the real estate industry, creating an ecosystem that encompasses anything from property management and bookings to construction and analytics, largely accessible through a mobile app.

The global PropTech market is projected to surpass $133 billion in 2032, from an estimated $35 billion in 2023, growing at a compound annual rate of 16 per cent, the latest data from Precedence Research shows.

The latest funding “significantly accelerates our growth trajectory, empowering us to deliver a seamless, transparent and data-driven real estate experience for all stakeholders”, said Omar Abu Innab, co-founder and chief executive of Keyper.

Keyper, which has added more than 2,100 freehold residential units in Dubai valued at about Dh4.5 billion ($1.23 billion) to its platform, as well as more 800 landlords, is also tapping into the potential of artificial intelligence to improve its operations, Mr Shihabi said.

“Given that efficiency is a key target for our property management team, we leverage different forms of AI to enhance their productivity,” he said.

“We also leverage AI in our tenant-vetting software, which powers both our property management operations, as well as the eligibility for our rent facilitation products, rent now [and] pay later and upfront rent.”

AI has already been used in businesses but has significantly accelerated with the emergence of generative AI, a highly-conversational iteration of the technology that has been tipped to be a game-changer in industries.

“Integrating digital technology into the real estate sector resonates with our belief in the transformative power of technology,” said Issa Aghabi, managing partner at Access Bridge Ventures.

Updated: October 24, 2023, 7:00 AM