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Allianz-backed fund lights up Hometree

By Mark Kleinman, City editor
A new venture capital fund backed by one of Europe’s largest insurers is investing in a British technology start-up which is aiming to do to the home services market what Purplebricks has done to traditional estate agents.
Sky News has learnt that AV8 Ventures, which was established with financial support from the German insurance giant Allianz, is leading the Series-A funding round of Hometree, which has spent the past three years building its share of the boiler installation market.
The $8.5m (€6.5m) fundraising, which will be announced on Wednesday, will be used to aid Hometree's expansion throughout the UK and enable it to begin offering a wider range of domestic services.The company was founded by Simon Phelan, a former executive at the financier Jon Moulton's private equity firm, Better Capital, and Andreu Tobella, who previously worked at Hive - British Gas's connected home division.Hometree's existing backers include Mr Moulton's family office, Perscitus, and VC investors DN Capital and LocalGlobe.They are also thought to be participating in the new round of funding.Hometree aims to simplify a convoluted and frustrating experience for consumers who have faced either paying a premium to use a prominent brand such as British Gas or an independent tradesman who may not have access to the same range of financing options as a large company.The UK boiler installation sector is highly fragmented yet lucrative, with 1.7 million units installed each year.
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