Property due dilligence platform Orbital Witness secures £7.5 million
Orbital Witness, the technology platform revolutionising the UK’s £4bn property due diligence market, has raised a £7.5m in a Series A round led by proptech investor Parker89 and joined by LocalGlobe, Outward VC, Seedcamp, Portfolio Ventures, and Realty Corporation.
Orbital Witness transforms the legal processes in property transactions – much of which hasn’t changed for over 150 years – through machine learning and AI. They help lawyers and property professionals grapple with the increasingly complex, labour-intensive, and heavily regulated ‘diligence’ process that traces its roots back to the Victorian era and brings the process of property due diligence into the 21st century.
Already making waves in the world of commercial property – where the average transaction involves the page count equivalent of “War and Peace” (1,200 pages of paperwork) – this round will enable the team to roll out their first product aimed at the residential property market.
Currently, real estate lawyers have to send off for legal documents, maps and records, before manually trawling through them one-by-one to identify issues their client needs to know about. The Orbital Witness platform transforms this by automatically identifying data and documents from public sources including the Land Registry and Local Authorities.
The company then uses the latest generative AI and natural language processing techniques to analyse key documents such as leases and deeds – which can run to hundreds of pages – in seconds, providing users with an instant overview of issues, risks or quirks that might affect a property transaction.
Commercial property experts have been quick to embrace the technology. It is already used by over 2,000 property lawyers and real estate professionals, including all of the UK’s ‘magic circle’ law firms, as well as by in-house teams across major property developers and insurers, such as the Dominvs Group and Zurich, and infrastructure teams at Tesla.
In the future, the team hopes that their technology can make this level of insight available to home buyers from day one by embedding key information into property portals or estate agent websites, helping make the home-buying process far more transparent.
Will Pearce, who co-founded the business with Ed Boulle in 2018 after seeing first-hand how much paperwork lawyers are required to handle during a property transaction, comments: “A lot of the legal due diligence involved in buying property hasn’t materially changed for 150 years.
“These processes are weighing down legal experts and burying them in a mountain of paperwork. This is also slowing down the process for buyers and making it more complicated than needed. We transform how property transactions are handled by providing an instant picture of key risks a lawyer needs to know about a property, so they can advise their client quickly and with maximum clarity.
“We’ve made great progress building our platform amongst commercial real estate specialists and we couldn’t be more excited to now bring our technology to the residential market. Residential conveyancers will soon be able to give their clients everything they need to know about the home they’re hoping to buy, in seconds. This will demystify the property purchasing process and ensure everyone can understand it.
“We’re grateful to our investors for making this next phase of our product development possible and we’re looking forward to working with them closely as we continue to grow.”
This raise, which brings Orbital Witness’ total funding to £11.5m to date and comes off the back of a year in which the company’s revenues doubled, will be used to expand their 40-strong team and build key partnerships across the property market.
Paul Hurst, Managing Director at Parker89, comments: “At Parker89, we find and invest in the teams and technologies that will usher in the future business models and working practices of a real estate transaction.
“Orbital Witness’ vision of automated diligence – combining risk-spotting AI with insurance to enhance efficiency in real estate transactions – fits perfectly into our investment strategy and aligns with the expertise and assets we can offer. We are excited to partner with Will, Ed, and the Orbital Witness team.”