Company News

Kogan leads funding round for Landchecker

Australian retail entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan has led a $3.5 million funding round for online property platform Landchecker.

The founder is joined in the series A funding round by motoring organisation RACV, which led a seed funding round in the company last year, as Landchecker expands its national footprint from its Victorian roots into NSW.

Unlike most property listing sites, Landchecker collates a wealth of information about properties, which can be searched via an online map. This includes having features including high-resolution aerial imagery, detailed property reports, listings and sales histories, planning permits and zones in one listing.

Co-founder and CEO Will Leaf said Landchecker’s expansion into NSW from May this year had gone well and the site was now displaying more than 8 million properties. Rather than competing directly against the likes of Domain, he said he viewed his platform as complementary.
“The business model centres around five distinct pillars which include products that are sold to consumers, conveyancers, agents, professionals and developers. We don’t seek to usurp REA and Domain,” he said.

“Our audience profile centres around the property-savvy consumer looking for a deeper understanding of their asset through to professionals including agents and developers. Consumers who are new to property will always be drawn to the more simplistic interface of the traditional portals and we are fine with the synergy we have established with those alternate offerings.”
Landchecker was founded in 2016 by Mr Leaf and Toby Ewert, who were both architects and property developer Ed Farquharson.

Mr Leaf said the latest funding round would be used to fuel further national expansion, product research and development and the establishment of a more sophisticated sales and marketing infrastructure.
He said Landchecker was aiming to launch in Queensland in spring and planned to have a nationwide product by mid-2020.

Mr Kogan is not a regular backer of local start-ups, and Mr Leaf said he was excited by the energy the Rich Lister would bring to the company, particularly in terms of his sales and marketing expertise.

“Strangely enough Ruslan sent me a text and asked to catch up. I initially thought it was a joke but sure enough, it was him,” Mr Leaf said.

“He mentioned that he very rarely seeks out these type of opportunities, so from our perspective, it was a great endorsement for the business and the path that we are forging.

Mr Kogan was unavailable to talk about his investment in Landchecker, but in a statement said he believed Landchecker was at the forefront of empowering people to make better-informed decisions in the complex environment of the local property market, by using data and technology.
Mr Leaf described the process of raising capital for his start-up as being an “exhilarating ride,” that had been draining and rewarding at the same time.

Whereas many venture capital funds espouse the virtues of a start-up looking to be a global business straight out of the traps, Mr Leaf said Landchecker was deliberately starting locally and making sure it has its product property built, before looking further afield.

We have deliberately looked to replicate the McDonalds strategy of getting the Big Mac recipe right from day one and then proliferating from a defendable position,” he said.

“There is an enormous amount of back-end technology that has been optimised to enable the future rollout nationally. Once we have achieved this goal we will realign our strategy to potentially include international expansion.”

Mr Leaf said he was delighted that RACV had decided to invest again, and said the organisation had already helped Landchecker’s growth by getting its product in front of its members.

This article was written by Paul Smith and was originally published in the Australian Financial Review.