Gatineau proptech firm 1VALET ramping up hiring after $5.15M seed round


A Gatineau-based company looking to disrupt the property management space has closed a multimillion-dollar seed round and is setting expectations sky high for additional funding and hires in the coming months.

Proptech firm 1VALET, which develops a platform to synthesize various building services into a single app for residents, managers and concierges, announced Tuesday it had closed the second phase of an early-stage financing round from an unnamed set of private investors. The firm says it raised an initial $3.85 million in January of last year and just secured top-up financing of $1.3 million. The startup, founded by Devcore president Jean-Pierre Poulin, said in a statement its valuation stands at $50 million today.

Chief operating officer Erin Fenn tells Techopia 1VALET is now opening up fundraising for its series-A round, looking to bring in an additional $10 million.

Fenn says that rather than courting venture capital funds in the early days, 1VALET has looked to the development industry itself to invest in the firm and its cutting-edge platform.

“We've gotten a pretty creative foothold into the industry by working with some of the players in the property development space and having them not only subscribe to the product, but as well as being partners in growth,” she says.

The company’s app automatically activates connected building services through residents’ smartphones by, for example, calling an elevator right after walking in the front door. Fenn says demand for smart building services has been driven by residents themselves, and as such the company has found healthy interest for its offerings in Ottawa-Gatineau and the Greater Toronto Area. Buildings in Devcore’s portfolio acted as pilot projects for the platform in the early days of 1VALET.

The firm has a headcount of 25 people today, but that number is expected to shoot up to 80 by the end of next year. Fenn says the firm is aggressively hiring tech talent in the National Capital Region and has been working with local universities, incubators and Invest Ottawa to rapidly source hires and keep its R&D in-house.

“Our preference is always looking at local talent. A lot of times there's opportunity to outsource these things. But it's been a real point of pride for us to stay as local as possible.”