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UK-based startup Orbital Witness has closed a £3.3m seed funding round led by LocalGlobe and Outward VC with participation from previous investors, including Seedcamp and JLL Spark.

This investment round brings Orbital Witness’s total funding to £4.5m.

Real estate is the world’s largest asset class valued at over $238 trillion. Yet recording and transacting real estate has been the same process for 150 years. The due diligence process is a significant bottleneck in real estate transactions, with 40% of buyers and sellers experiencing delays due to the process and costing up to one per cent of overall transaction fees.

The challenge of due diligence is compounded in the commercial real estate arena by complex, high value assets and portfolio deals. In the UK alone, due diligence for property transactions costs £4bn annually.

Launched in 2018 by Edmond Boulle and Will Pearce, Orbital Witness has modernised and accelerated the legal due diligence process with a platform to access and organise property information from HM Land Registry and local authorities, facilitate quick document review and flag risks automatically to lawyers and underwriters. Today, Orbital Witness employs fifteen people based in London.

Will Pearce, Co-founder and COO at Orbital Witness, explained: “We’ve built a system for clients to access documents from numerous important sources and provide an easy way to provide risk assessment and insights quickly. Now, we’re using that expertise and technology to reimagine property and land risk for today, to make transacting real estate less time-consuming, arduous and inefficient.”

With its new investment, Orbital Witness is creating a universal risk rating for property and land similar to a credit check to provide a high-level view of property risk to all parties. Using machine learning technology and reinforcement learning techniques, Orbital Witness has developed a sophisticated understanding of real estate and property risk that it is now applying across commercial real estate properties in the UK.

Edmond Boulle, Co-founder and CEO at Orbital Witness, added: “Our goal is to simplify the complexities of the current process and bring greater transparency to the world’s largest asset class.

“With this new funding, we’re able to accelerate towards our vision of a universal risk rating, similar to a credit check, that provides an early warning system for property professionals.”

Remus Brett, Partner at LocalGlobe, commented: “The impact Orbital Witness has had on the property industry in just two years is hugely impressive. Their approach has the potential to transform the way real estate has been valued and transacted for over 150 years.”

Devin Kohli, Co-head at Outward VC, commented: “The Orbital Witness team brings fresh thinking and new ambition to the property risk sector that impressed us from the start.

“Especially now, as many distressed companies face refinancing and restructuring issues, Orbital Witness has proven how it can flag important legal property risks quickly across complex real estate portfolios and assets.”