Dubai-based proptech Nomad Homes has raised USD 4 million in a seed round led by Comcast Ventures, the venture arm of global media giant Comcast, Business Insider reported today. Other investors from Silicon Valley, Paris, and California, namely Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, WndrCo, and Class 5 Global, also participated in the round.

Founded last year by Helen Chen, Dan Piehler, and Damien Drap, Nomad Homes has built a digital real estate platform that takes the entire experience of buying and renting homes online. The platform, which was launched last month, provides home seekers with search tools, virtual tours, and digital document signing to offer an end-to-end online experience. It partners with local real estate brokerages to provide buyers with an inventory of curated properties. Nomad makes money by charging a commission fee that is a percentage of the transaction cost.

Nomad is starting with Dubai, but has plans to launch in Europe too.

Nomad’s co-founder and CEO Helen Chen was previously an investor at Blackstone and Goldman Sachs. She left Stanford’s MBA program in the United States to move to Dubai and co-founded Nomad Homes last year with Dan Piehler, a former senior product manager at Addepar, and Damien Drap, an early Uber employee who was involved in developing the company’s business in different parts of Europe before launching and leading Uber Eats across the Middle East.

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Speaking about the opportunity, Chen in a statement explained that Europe, the Middle East, and Africa’s (EMEA) real estate market represents over USD 600 billion in transactions per year, but the customer experience remains far behind that of the United States. “Proptech goliaths including Zillow and Opendoor are built atop multiple listing services (MLS), which provide detailed property information including transaction history, tax assessments, and nearby school districts. Across Nomad’s markets, including its first launch city of Dubai, that level of data transparency does not exist—leaving buyers and renters to navigate a sea of low quality, duplicative listings with no understanding of the underlying details and what the property is actually worth.”

“The majority of the process of finding a home across EMEA is still completed offline and is consequently confusing and inefficient. Through the use of better technology and customer service, Nomad aims to bring the entire journey online,” she added.

Commenting on the team Nomad has assembled, Chen said, “With Dan’s experience across data platforms and consumer applications and Damien’s proven ability to launch and run markets around the world, we’ve assembled an incredible group to tackle this problem.”

The startup said that its mission is to help its customers from beginning to end—not only to find their home but also to finance it. Nomad plans to address many financing challenges faced by its users when it comes to buying a home. “By creating our own in-house MLS, we are building the foundation to power its financial products. Whether it’s turning mortgage buyers into cash buyers or facilitating trade-ins, Nomad is making a real estate transaction truly seamless for its users,” said the startup in a statement.

Daniel Gulati, a managing director at Comcast Ventures, said that their investment in the proptech was driven by the team. “Helen and the team bring a unique blend of Silicon Valley DNA, real estate insights, and on-the-ground operating experience. We are excited to support Nomad’s quest to deliver a superior experience for all market participants with a technology-first approach.”

Nicolas El Baze, a general partner at Partech, said, “Partech strives to back stellar entrepreneurs with transformative and global vision. We were instantly compelled with Nomad’s plan to bring visibility, efficiency, and liquidity to high-value international real estate markets through a comprehensive digital infrastructure.”

Nomad plans to use the investment to scale its US-based engineering team and grow its marketplace and services. It also plans to use a part of the investment to lay the groundwork for its second launch city in Europe.

This article first appeared in MENAbytes.

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