Real Estate

Real estate investment startup Willow.ca acquired by rental platform Guiker

Majority of Willow’s team “offboarded” prior to acquisition, CEO to join Guiker.

Toronto-based proptech startup Willow.ca, which offers a fractional real estate investment platform, has been acquired by Montréal-based rental platform Guiker for an undisclosed amount.

Following the acquisition, which closed last week, Willow.ca’s platform features have been replicated on Guiker’s platform. In a statement sent to BetaKit, Guiker CEO Nan Hao said all of Willow.ca’s existing users have been migrated to Guiker

“With the acquisition of Willow.ca, we can transform rental activity into investment opportunities, driving up ROI as our user base continues to expand.”

Nan Hao

Willow.ca CEO Logan Yergens will stay on at Guiker as chief compliance officer to ensure the platform is compliant with OSC regulations. Hao said most of Willow.ca’s team was “offboarded” prior to the acquisition, adding that the deal was “mostly for [Willow.ca’s] license and clientbase.”

Though founded in 2019, Willow.ca first debuted its real estate investing platform publicly in early 2022, offering Canadians the chance to buy and sell fractions of property.

Fractional real estate investing allows individual investors to purchase shares in high-value real estate assets, rather than buying entire properties. The approach aims to democratize access to real estate investments, which are traditionally limited to high-net-worth or institutional investors due to the high capital requirements. Other players in this space include Fundrise, RealtyMogul, and DiversyFund.

Willow.ca’s platform includes rent-generating commercial and industrial properties, along with multiplexes, which are split into many units of ownership and made available for purchase through the platform. Willow.ca received Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) approval to operate as an exempt market dealer in 2021. 

RELATED: Pine acquires Properly to capture more of the Canadian home-buying process

“With the acquisition of Willow.ca, we can transform rental activity into investment opportunities, driving up ROI as our user base continues to expand. We’re paving a new path in real estate, where anyone can invest with ease and rent with freedom, all within a synergistic ecosystem,” Hao said in a statement.

Founded in 2015, Guiker offers a rental platform that aims to streamline the leasing process by connecting landlords with tenants in urban areas such as Montréal, Toronto, Chicago, and Boston. Hao said with the integration of Willow.ca, Guiker’s platform now offers users “the combined experience of being a renter, a landlord and a [real estate] investor.”

The proptech sector has experienced significant deal activity this year. Some of the most developments in the sector in recent months have included Pine’s acquisition of Toronto-based Properly in October, Local Logic’s $17.5-million Series B funding round, and Promise Robotics’ $20.8-million Series A funding round.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Tierra Mallorca.