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Investors pour millions more into Ori Allon’s Urban Compass start-up

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Stephen Hutcheon

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Funding for expansion: Urban Compass co-founder Dr Ori Allon.

Funding for expansion: Urban Compass co-founder Dr Ori Allon.

Urban Compass, the New York-based real estate brokerage co-founded by Israeli-born, Australian-educated entrepreneur Ori Allon, has secured a new round of funding which values the start-up at $US360 million ($384 million).

Dr Allon, who studied at Monash University and the University of NSW and became a naturalised Australian, made his debut on the BRW Young Rich List last year with an estimated personal worth of $40 million.

The $US40 million in Series B funding announced in New York on Monday morning brings the total amount raised by Urban Compass to $US73 million ($77.8 million). That values the company at $384 million, according to a report in Bloomberg.

The new injection of funds came from new and existing investors including Advance Publication, the parent company of publisher Conde Nast; Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO of Salesforce.com and Kenneth Chenault, the chairman and CEO of American Express.

Urban Compass crunches data obtained in part through its apps (one for the client and another one for the agent) and purports to take the pain, and some of the cost, out of buying, selling, renting and leasing property in what is one of the world’s most dysfunctional real estate markets.

"Finding a home should be an easy thing to do," he said. "[It should be all] done all online and with no paperwork."

Dr Allon has likened Urban Compass to Uber, the start-up currently shaking up the world’s taxi industries.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Dr Allon, said the new funds would help underwrite the company’s expansion into markets outside New York City. He nominated cities such as Washington DC, Boston and Chicago.

He has not ruled out bringing his market-disrupting business to Australia where he still has some close ties.

In April, he was appointed adjunct professor at UNSW's School of Computer Science and Engineering where he will be advising students on their start-up ideas.

It was while studying for the PhD at UNSW that Dr Allon got his first big break.

In 2006 it was revealed that Google had bought the rights to an advanced text search algorithm that Dr Allon developed while a PhD student at the University of NSW.

He was later employed by Google where he helped to integrate his search technology - dubbed Orion - into Google's.

After leaving Google in 2009, he set up a company called Julpan in New York which developed a system to capture and analyse real-time activity on the social web. 

In 2012, he sold Julpan to Twitter and then joined as director of engineering.

1 comment so far

  • I just worry that these IT company is becoming the new wall street, lot of money and not much value despite Dr Allon academics credential.

    Just read another article that a lady rather involved with digital online retail rather than becoming a robotics engineer.

    Commenter
    Gerson
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    July 22, 2014, 9:54PM

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