PropTech: innovation in property finance

Held on Tuesday, April 26, 2016


  • Emma Huepfl (co-founder and head of capital management, Laxfield Capital)

  • John Goodall (CEO, Landbay)

  • Rod Lockhart (senior director in the capital advisory team, LendInvest)

  • Brian Bartaby (CEO, Proplend)


Jane Fuller, co-director of the CSFI, talks to Brian Bartaby (CEO of Proplend) following the Centre's April 26 round-table on innovations in property finance.




‘PropTech' is a broad church. Zoopla, the online property portal, for example, last month announced partnerships with four tech ventures seeking to shake up the UK property market - including a ‘mortgage matchmaker’ (Trussle), a ‘tenant repair reporting’ platform (FixFlo), and a neighbourhood research tool (Property Detective).

The fourth partnership was with Landbay, which provides “secured peer-to-peer lending on UK buy-to-let mortgages”. The deal, according to Zoopla, is part of a vision to “bring residential property investing to the masses”. It is not the only one trumpeting that line. Lendinvest, the online marketplace lending platform, believes “everyone should have the opportunity to invest in property” - a sentiment that George Osborne may not share.

Other platforms also promise to open up property investment and borrowing. The House Crowd claimed to be the first such venture (way back in 2011). CrowdProperty aims to “facilitate loans between private individuals and professional property businesses”. Proplend claims to be the first to offer "private individuals and institutions… direct access to commercial real estate lending opportunities”. Relendex covers both commercial and residential income-producing properties. 

That’s the hype. How does this new asset class stand up to scrutiny? Are we really about to see a mass-market alternative for those with little or no footing in the property market? How worried should the banks be? And how resilient are the new online platforms, which have yet to experience a downturn in the property market?

We don’t have a position on whether or not this is a Good Thing. What we do want to do, however, is give these new platforms a chance to explain their business models. We are, therefore, delighted that representatives from Landbay, LendInvest and Proplend have agreed to join us for a round-table discussion:

  • John Goodall is the co-founder and CEO of Landbay, which he launched with property finance expert Gray Stern in 2014. John previously built up an executive search company, before selling his stake in 2007 when he began teaching economics. John then completed an MBA (Distinction) at Imperial and worked for equity brokerage Redburn in the City.

  • Rod Lockhart joined LendInvest in 2015 after 12 years at CBRE, where he was a senior director in the capital advisory team. He oversees LendInvest Capital, which manages over £150m of institutional money across two funds and a number of committed bank funding lines.

  • Brian Bartaby is the founder and CEO of Proplend. Prior to launching Proplend in 2014, he spent twelve years developing Longcross Capital, a real estate finance company. Before that, he managed FX and Options trading desks in London, New York and Hong Kong. 

We are equally delighted that Emma Huepfl has agreed to outline the overall state of play in the property finance market. Emma is the co-founder and head of capital management at Laxfield Capital, an investment management company specialising in UK real estate lending. She started her career at GE Capital, before co-founding Halkyn Capital in 1997 (which represented Württemberger Hypo for 12 years).