The venture capital arm of Seven West Media has thrown its weight behind a new proptech startup consortium of former Domain boss Antony Catalano and investor Alex Waislitz focused on the real estate sector.
View Media Group (VMG) is a digital media and real estate agent services company, involving B2C and B2B proptech platforms.
They include The Today Business, Catalano’s own real estate services marketing and technology company, houseandlanddevelopments.com.au, which his son Jordan launched in 2018 with Tom Hywood, the son of former Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood, as well as a real estate media company. business Catalano supported in 2019.
While the value of Seven West Ventures’ equity investment, in a mix of cash and media spending, was not disclosed, Catalano and Waislitz are also in on it.”substantial capital” like media services their own regional newspaper company Australian Community Media (ACM) to give VMG a total investment of more than $100 million.
View Media Group (formerly IMP) was founded by the 20 Cashews joint venture, half of which is owned by Catalano, with Waislitz’s privately owned Thorney Investment Group and the publicly traded Thorney Opportunities Ltd who own the other 50%
Catalano said the new venture brings together a group of companies and industry experts to create “a true disruptor” in the rapidly evolving proptech sector, with a pipeline of startup investments ahead of it.
“VMG will form a global first conglomerate of proptech assets including portals, advertising technology, lead generation, lead management solutions, media planning and procurement, AI services, data and connections all under one roof,” he said.
“We have a series of exciting announcements that we expect to share with the industry in the coming weeks with high-growth tech startups.”
VMG will initially acquire a 72% stake in the search portal realestateview.com.au (REV), with minority investments in leading AI and data company Propic and utility comparison and connectivity company Beevo.
Catalano and Waislitz gave $6 million to Propic in a Series A in June of last year. It is an AI-based chatbot startup for agents and property managers to respond and communicate via automated conversational or text AI.
The power of 7
James Warburton, CEO of Seven West Media, said Seven West Ventures supports businesses they can help grow through the media company’s offerings of TV, BVOD, digital and print (The West Australian) assets.
“VMG is an exciting investment for us. The combination of Seven West Media, Antony’s experience and the team he has assembled is a recipe for success,” he said.
The deal sees Catalano do battle with his former employer, Fairfax, now Nine.
Antony “The Cat” Catalano and billionaire Alex Waislitz bought ACM from Nine for $115 million in 2019 after merging with former newspaper company Fairfax. Fairfax paid $3 billion for the titles in 2007. The duo also has a significant stake in the regional TV channel WIN, a Nine-affiliated company.
A former journalist, Catalano has been a serial entrepreneur in the real estate industry, building Domain into a digital powerhouse in the early Fairfax days before leaving to launch Metro Media Publishing. Coincidentally, Fairfax spent over $100 million acquiring MMP over several years through 2015, and Catalano returned to run Domain to its $2.3 billion IPO in 2017.
Now he is focused again on the potential in real estate, saying: investment and partnership with Seven West Media is a clear confirmation of VMG’s potential.
“This will help us accelerate our growth and acquisition plans. Seven West Media is the undisputed leader in television and BVOD in every region of Australia. Add to that the dominance of Western Australian newspapers in WA and you have a business that reaches 91% of all Australians every month.
“The team we have put together at VMG represents decades of experience in the real estate sector. They are the best in their field and run highly successful businesses in their own right. Our plan is to bring these companies together to form a real estate ecosystem where each company will create value for each other and provide customers with an end-to-end experience.
“We are consciously taking a different view of the market and we want the real estate buying experience to be seamless throughout all steps of the buying journey. Whether browsing, searching, transacting, settling or moving, our tools will make this journey easier.”