Commonplace and Grosvenor join forces to lead sector focus on citizen engagement
By Mike Saunders | 14/06/23 08:48
4 min read
Built environment engagement platform Commonplace secures £2.1m to tackle development/real estate’s need for community data insights
London, 14 June 2023: Commonplace, the citizen engagement platform that uses rich data gathering to inspire thriving places and facilitate planning success, has announced an investment of £2.1m from innovation and proptech investors led by Beringea, the transatlantic venture capital firm, alongside Grosvenor Property UK, The Conduit Impact Fund, Concrete Ventures, Oxford Innovation Finance and Foundation Ventures. This round of investment will fuel Commonplace’s continued expansion, enabling its growing client base to demonstrate the positive impact their work has on the communities they serve.
Commonplace is the UK’s most advanced social engagement tool for the built environment. It has already powers more than 3,000 projects for 200 councils and real estate developers, which have engaged more than 6.5 million people across the UK. Its user-friendly, insights-based online platform is used by the cities of London, Leeds and Liverpool, and developers Lendlease, Landsec and Barratt Homes. Internationally, Commonplace has been used to engage with citizens in North America, Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and Australasia.
The business provides a digital platform for place and infrastructure developers, local government, architects, and built environment consultancies to collect data from key stakeholder groups including residents and businesses. Typical uses include urban regeneration schemes, high streets, housing developments, pedestrian and cycling schemes and major infrastructure projects. It allows customers to understand the aspirations and concerns of their local audiences, enabling them to create places that respond better to these needs, with greater support. Having already reached 9% of the UK population, Commonplace’s growth is projected to see over 25m people taking part in conversations about their place in the next few years.
Grosvenor Property UK announced the creation of its Alternative Investment portfolio last year, designed to deploy capital into early-stage companies capable of accelerating the attainment of its ambitious environmental, social, and commercial goals. Grosvenor’s investment in Commonplace will be the UK property businesses’ fourth in an early-stage company.
Mike Saunders, Co-founder and CEO of Commonplace, commented: “We’re super excited to be joining forces with these leaders in placemaking and proptech to accelerate our mission to inspire thriving places, powered by insights and collaboration. Moving beyond our sector’s aspiration to deliver social value, our work will allow users to define, plan for, target and then evidence the positive impact their buildings and places have on those who live and work in them. Just as environmental measurement frameworks are now supporting our decarbonisation journey, Commonplace’s increased product focus on social value will become a critical support to analyse and understand the ‘S’ in ESG.”
“It’s vital that people are connected to the places they live, work or play, and have a constructive voice in shaping them. As the government seeks to address housing shortages, cost of living and the pressing need for infrastructure, community collaboration will be key to its success.”
Andy Doyle, Innovation Director at Grosvenor Property UK commented: “Great places are only created and managed through early, open, and two-way engagement with the experts – the people who live and work there. This is a fact that Government and many businesses are now increasingly facing, but are unsure how to effectively augment traditional face to face conversations with digital platforms. Commonplace’s technology powers more inclusive and extensive participation and improves our ability to understand and respond to local knowledge and needs.
As an investor, we see real value in the role Commonplace can play in improving the voice local stakeholders have in the future of their places and as a client, we will be applying this within our portfolio to help evolve our own extensive engagement activity, and direct our passion to create high-quality places.”
Eyal Malinger, Investment Director at Beringea, commented: “Commonplace is the enabler of true citizen engagement. Its software enables all levels of government and organisations to listen to the voices of their citizens, customers, and communities, wherever they are. We are excited to be supporting Mike and his team on their journey.”
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Notes to editors
Commonplace is the UK and Ireland’s most advanced solution for community engagement and co-design. We are leading the way globally with a data-led community sentiment mapping, survey and communication solution. We have created an inclusive and flexible platform designed to gather geolocated localised sentiment data around places and spaces, with useful data dashboards and reporting capabilities. Commonplace not only enables broader community conversations - it turns those conversations into a rich, data-led understanding. It transforms many voices into key themes, allowing for more inclusive decision-making.
Grosvenor is an international organisation whose activities span urban property, food and agtech, rural estate management and support for philanthropic initiatives.
We are a values-led business which represents the Grosvenor family and share a common purpose - to deliver lasting commercial, social and environmental benefit - addressing today’s needs while taking responsibility for those of future generations.
With a track record of over 340 years, we work to improve urban property and places in many of the world’s leading cities, promoting sustainability within the built environment and enhancing the wellbeing of customers and communities.
Our UK property business supports c1,000 businesses and tens of thousands of residents and workers across London’s West End each day. We also invest in, create and manage sustainable neighbourhoods in Liverpool and across England. As a 1.5oC aligned company, pioneering change and new ways of thinking about property we aim to ensure our places benefit both people and the planet over the long term.
Beringea is a transatlantic venture capital investor with more than $800m under management that seeks to create lasting success for rapidly scaling entrepreneurial companies.
With 30+ employees across offices in Detroit (US) and London (UK), we provide patient and intelligent capital and a global footprint to back founders throughout their journey, helping them overcome barriers to scale and build international success stories.
Our track record of three decades of successful investing across a wide range of sectors has inspired our own entrepreneurial ethos; cultivated an exceptional community of entrepreneurs and investors; and fostered the experience required to create substantial businesses and deliver value for shareholders in our funds.