Ajey Kaushal, investor, JLL Spark Global Ventures, is one of our top 50 Rising Stars in corporate venturing for 2024.

Ajey Kaushal became enamoured by commercial real estate technology after seeing how the Covid pandemic upended the sector and changed the nature of the built world.

“I realised how much real estate really intersects with our day-to-day lives. It made it tangible,” says Kaushal. “You don’t have an office, you can’t go to the grocery store, you can’t go to malls. All of this is a real estate problem.”

The real estate sector is also a laggard when it comes to technology adoption, which also inspired him to get involved in venturing for this industry. After working in management consulting and for an early-stage VC fund, he became attracted to corporate venture specifically after seeing how much impact that corporates can have on proptech startups compared with institutional VCs. “I would rather be part of a venture capital firm that can directly grow a portfolio company’s top-line and also works closely with the types of companies they would want to sell into,” he says.   

Founded in 2017, JLL Spark Global Ventures, the CVC arm of commercial real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle, has invested in more than 50 early-stage proptech startups. Kaushal is an investor at JLL Spark, responsible for sourcing, evaluating, investing in and scaling early-stage startups.

He recently invested in QBIQ, an AI-powered office layout planning technology. Kaushal sits on the startup’s board as an observer.

He is also excited about technologies that streamline the pricing of property insurance, which is still priced on a per square foot basis. He sees potential for technology to give more accurate pricing based on data analysis.

Kaushal says that for people interested in venture capital investing there is no better place to start than at a corporate fund, because of the exposure you will have across many different business functions as well as investing and startup portfolio management. He also advises young recruits to get involved in the dealmaking process early because this experience is what all VC funds look for.  

See the full list of GCV Rising Stars for 2024 here.