Online tradie marketplace hipages (ASX:HPG) has made a move to expand its distribution footprint, announcing the acquisition of a 25% stake in Bricks + Agent – one of Australia’s leading property management platforms.

For its $6.25m investment, hipages will get exposure to to Bricks + Agent’s 360,000 users (with almost 500,00 properties under management) and the 21,000 tradies on its platform.

HPG also flagged opportunities for cross-selling and lead generation across the new user and tradie base.

Shares in the company rose by around 6% in morning trade to $4, and have now doubled from March 2021 lows near $2.

$21 billion market a huge opportunity

“I have followed Bricks + Agent’s progress for several years and have been really impressed to see Rafael, Jon, and their team develop a market-leading technology solution that makes life easier for their customers by taking the headache out of property management,” hipages CEO and co-founder Roby Sharon-Zipser said.

“Bricks + Agent is a great cultural match for hipages and fits perfectly with our strategy to expand into adjacent markets,” he said, adding the $21 billion property management market is a “huge opportunity for us”.

“Having founded hipages 17 years ago and have learned my fair share of lessons along the way, I’m excited to partner with another founder-led company to achieve our ambitious goals together.”

Planned platform integration

Bricks + Agent provides a technology solution to streamline the property maintenance process.

In that context in forms a strategically-aligned complementary offering to hipages, which connects over 31,000 subscribed trade businesses with residential and commercial consumers.

Bricks + Agent also has strategic partnerships with leading Australian property management software providers including MRI, Property Tree, and PropertyMe, and a blue-chip client base of property management agencies.

hipages CFO and COO Melissa Fahey will join Bricks + Agent’s board, and the companies are planning a platform integration down the track.

Changing the property management game

Bricks + Agent CEO and co-Founder Rafael Niesten said the company has reached a point where the time is right to accelerate growth plans to “capture the huge opportunity we have ahead of us.”

“To be able to leverage the scale and expertise of a founder-led company like hipages which has an entrepreneurial culture like ours is amazing, and we’re really looking forward to working with Roby and the hipages team to continue to change the game in property management,” he said.

Bricks + Agent is expected to be EBITDA positive in FY22, the company said.