Brand Capital backs Indian arm of Sotheby’s International Realty
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Luxury real estate advisory services provider RealPro Realty Solutions Pvt. Ltd has raised $7 million (around Rs 42.5 crore) from Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of media house Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd, and a group of high net-worth individuals (HNIs).

RealPro Realty, which is part of global real estate brand Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC (SIR), will use the funds to open more offices and expand its team size, Ashwin Chadha, president, India Sotheby’ International Realty, said in a statement.

The company, which was founded by Chadha, Amit Goyal, and Ankit Tyagi, provides marketing and other transaction advisory services to clients intending to buy or sell luxury real estate properties globally.

"The partnership with Brand Capital will enable us to market luxury properties to the global Indian community, leveraging our network in more than 70 countries," said Goyal, who is CEO of India SIR.

The statement did not specify the nature of investment made by Brand Capital apart from saying that the commitment is in the form of ad for equity. Brand Capital also sometimes pumps in capital in portfolio firms.

RealPro Realty also has India desks in London, Dubai and Seattle to help resident Indians buying overseas and NRIs investing back in India. The company aims to open more India desks in the US, Singapore and Canada with the help of the funds raised, Chadha said.

Consulting firm PwC acted as the financial advisor to RealPro Realty on the deal.

India’s real estate sector has long been known as an opaque market but recent policy changes, including Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 and the demonetisation drive launched by the government in November last year are expected to eliminate corruption and bring transparency.

According to property consultant Knight Frank India, Mumbai stood 24th among 41 cities internationally with a 1.1% price increase of luxury homes for the year ended 31 March 2017. Delhi and Bengaluru also figured in the list but both cities recorded negative price growth.

The luxury housing segment was probably still recovering from the effects of demonetisation, noted Samantak Das, chief economist and national director, Knight Frank India.

Brand Capital’s investments

The investment platform has backed over 850 brands over the past decade, and the value of its investments stands at $2.5 billion, according to its website.

It has made 12 bets this year, according to VCCEdge, the data and research platform of News Corp VCCircle. The company made 28 investments in 2016 compared with 47 in 2015, its website shows.

Although the firm follows a sector-agnostic approach, it mainly targets companies with consumer products or services that depend on advertising.

Its real estate bets include Assetz Group, Arkade Group and Arihant Superstructures.

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