Star to help entrepreneurs build London-based schemes with Dragons’ Den-style investments

Dragons’ Den star James Caan is to use his year-old property company, HB Real Estate, to help property developers and entrepreneurs get London-based schemes off the ground by investing in projects he believes have potential.

His new initiative, which has a concept similar to Dragons’ Den but is aimed at the property sector, has been designed to stimulate the market all the way down the supply chain. It is understood he plans to invest about £50m in London residential schemes in the first instance, over the next few weeks.

Faisal Butt, associate director at Caan’s company Hamilton Bradshaw, helps oversee the group’s property arm. He said: “We are looking at a new programme where we will help property entrepreneurs who don’t have funding to get their schemes off the ground. It’s a bit like Property Den.

“We have a number of fund raisings under way and expect to introduce our next fund in the prime London market in the coming months.”

Butt added that the group would also consider investing in larger scale projects by moving into the commercial sector, too: “We’d welcome joint ventures with firms that have a stronger focus on commercial than we do.”

The thought process behind the programme is to kick start development, at least in central London, to stimulate the market in a way that will “trickle all the way down the supply chain.”

Caan, who is worth £85m, told Building that he set up his real estate business when everyone told him not to. He said: “I decided to go for it when everyone else said ’don’t’. I have always believed in observing the masses and doing the opposite.”

He added that over the next 12 months he will be looking to buy residential property in London’s golden postcode areas. He said:

“I won’t be aggressively buying but I am definitely more of a buyer than a seller, as I still think there are opportunities out there.”


East London Summit 2011 will present the real opportunities within Europe’s largest development site with the 2012 Olympic games only one year away. The event will identify where opportunities for development, construction and design are emerging and the means by which they will be realised.