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Kiwi company looks to reinvent commercial real estate investment

By Shannon Williams, Thu 6 Jun 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A New Zealand entrepreneur is setting his sights on the global commercial real estate investment environment, with the launch of a new venture call Jasper. 

Mark Hurley, who recently sold his previous business to global media giant Dentsu Aegis, says he is looking to commercial property "because it’s a highly desirable asset class with a notoriously difficult entry barrier. Plus, the sector has had little in the way of innovation through technology."

Hurley, who has previosuly been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, says he co-founded Jasper to enhance investment potential in this sector.

“Commercial real estate is an extremely desirable asset for wealth generation and preservation, yet most investors lack efficient access to this asset class,” he explains.

“Through a tech-enabled marketplace we’re going to give more people the opportunity to invest in these assets while offering lower minimums, lower fees, greater transparency and increased liquidity compared to analogue incumbents. It’s a new and better way to invest in commercial property," says Hurley.

“With Jasper, investors will be able to buy fractional portions of commercial properties online, receive regular dividends from the property’s rental income deposited directly into their bank account, and then sell their shares through Jasper’s online secondary market as they desire.”

Jasper is set to launch in New Zealand and Australia later this year, followed by Asia-Pacific and then Europe.

The company has raised NZD$1.025m of capital to date, and will be invested in developing the technology, sourcing a pipeline of investment opportunities, hiring key team members and securing regulatory licensing here and in Australia.

Craig Donaldson, Global CEO of Kea, Jasper shareholder and director, says Jasper will change the way people invest. 

"While commercial property is a huge opportunity, it’s potentially just a jumping off point into something much bigger," he says. “We see a future where everyone can invest in high-quality alternative assets from across the globe using simply their smartphone or similar device.”

In addition to Craig Donaldson and Mark Hurley, other shareholders include Icehouse Ventures, Blair James (managing director, James Group), Nick Beale (managing director, RCP), Mark Campbell (investment manager, M7 Real Estate Ltd) and Whisky Ventures.

According to Hurley, Jasper didn’t specifically need external investors. He says the group could have funded Jasper internally, but the decision to seek funding was strategic.

 “It was important for us to bring on strategically aligned investors who can help us execute on this concept," he says. "Icehouse, Craig, Blair and Nick are certainly that. They act as a sounding board and rolodex while also helping us drive commercial success. We are so grateful to have them involved.”

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