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Opportunity for young start-ups

Rasul launches £25,000 ‘PropTech’ challenge

Shaf Rasul
Shaf Rasul: huge opportunity

Scots businessman Shaf Rasul is inviting budding entrepreneurs to take up the ‘PropTech Innovation Challenge’ in partnership with the University of Strathclyde – and stake a claim to £25,000 in start-up funding.

Mr Rasul – named the university’s Resident Entrepreneur in February – is sponsoring the property technology competition that is being delivered by the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network (SEN), with five winners receiving prizes of up to £5,000 for the best business pitches.

Together, they are laying down the gauntlet to budding innovators who are looking to see their fresh technological ideas take off and provide breakthrough property market solutions across the likes of software, hardware, and manufacturing.

It is hoped that university students, staff and alumni will take up the challenge and enter their submissions before the deadline of 17 May, before a shortlist is drawn up and final panel takes place on 14 June. 

Mr Rasul, who is a Strathclyde graduate himself, will be leveraging his experience as a former member of the BBC’s online Dragons’ Den to lead the university panel and put the competitors through their paces during their five minute pitches.

The panel of judges and enablers will include Glen Gilson and Matthew Gray – respectively managing partner and managing director of property services at law firm Gilson Gray – Les McAndrew, managing partner of chartered surveyors Graham+Sibbald, and Alex Watts, director of Kingsford Estates.

Also joining the panel will be David Alexander, managing director of letting and estate agents DJ Alexander, and Allan MacKenzie, head of regions for Lloyds Bank’s commercial real estate unit.

Mr Rasul, founder of commercial property specialists SRA Ventures, has a significant investment portfolio across a range of sectors – including tech and commercial property – and is aiming to inspire and nurture the university’s ambitious PropTech entrepreneurs with the new competition.

He has already worked closely with Edinburgh-based Property Technology Ltd, providing mentoring support and early stage fundraising advice. The start-up has since been handed £150,000 by the Scottish EDGE fund and IBM after noting the high-growth potential of its Apply.Property software.

He said: “The PropTech Innovation Challenge is a huge opportunity for the best technological minds at the University of Strathclyde to get their leading ideas off the ground with a significant cash injection.”

Fiona Ireland, Head of Enterprise at the University of Strathclyde said: “When the idea of the PropTech Innovation Challenge was first mooted, we were excited by the possibilities of where it might lead.”

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