Dublin’s Offr raises €3m to bring property sales online

20 Aug 2020

From left: Niall Dawson, Robert Hoban and Philip Farrell. Image: Offr

With this funding, Offr is preparing to launch in the UK and Australia to meet the growing demand for online property sales that has been fuelled by Covid-19.

On Thursday (20 August), Dublin-based proptech start-up Offr announced that is has secured a €3m funding round led by Barclays. The funding comes nine months after the start-up’s launch and brings the total raised by the company to €4m.

Offr’s initial funding target in February was €1m. At closing, 30 investors in Ireland and overseas had transferred €3m to back the start-up’s next phase of development.

Besides Barclays, other investors in the round include Delta Partners for Bank of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Frontline Ventures and more than 20 private investors from the property, technology and banking sectors.

Offr now plans to grow its Irish team and expand internationally, launching in the UK and Australia 12 months earlier than planned.

Digitising the property industry

Previously featured in Siliconrepublic.com’s Start-up of the Week series, Offr has built a platform that digitises the buying, selling and leasing process for real estate agents and buyers. It provides secure and transparent bidding and transaction technology for the property industry, allowing property transactions to be completed by smartphone.

The company was set up by CEO Robert Hoban, chief commercial officer Philip Farrell and chief technology officer Niall Dawson.

Earlier this year, the team participated in the Barclays London Accelerator, which is supported by Techstars. Offr was selected as one of the few candidates for follow-on investment from this year’s cohort. This marks Barclays’ first follow-on investment in an Irish-founded company that has gone through the competitive international programme.

“We are so grateful to our new investors,” Hoban said. “Our target was to raise another million, so to treble it in the times we’re in is extraordinary … [Barclays’] investment is another vote of confidence in our proposition and what we hope to achieve with our technology.”

Offr’s response to the pandemic

Martin Cass, private bank director at Barclays Bank Ireland, added: “Ireland has in recent years become somewhat of a hotbed for tech innovation and start-ups and Offr is another exciting example of that.

“Having come through our accelerator programme, we are delighted they have become the first Irish company to receive a follow-on investment from Barclays, which is an example of what’s achievable for all the other exciting Irish technology start-ups out there.”

During Covid-19 restrictions, Offr launched a new feature combining 3D virtual tours with YouTube video playback and livestream ability, allowing estate agents to do property walk-throughs in real-time using their smartphones.

The company also conducted a digital-only property transaction during the pandemic through estate agent Sherry FitzGerald, selling six apartments in an online auction as a lot. Offr said that the property attracted 29 bids and sold to the highest bidder at 61pc over the reserve price, without a single agent, bidder, buyer, seller or solicitor needing to leave their homes.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic