Why software is eating the home
The Real Deal – April 19
Less than a decade ago, startups valued at $1 billion or more were so rare that the tech world took to calling them unicorns. In 2013, there were just 39 such entities, a number that has since surged to more than 600. Residential real estate, a longtime tech desert, had but a couple over the years. But in the last eight months, four PropTech startups focused on the residential industry have hit valuations of $1 billion or more. Three others – Airbnb, Compass, and Lemonade – have gone public. Another 10 have plans to merge with blank-check firms, in deals valued collectively at $38.5 billion.
How data is changing the way offices are run
The New York Times – April 27
Developers are harnessing a growing obsession with data to improve office buildings in ways that could cut costs and streamline operations, saving owners millions of dollars annually. The field, known as PropTech, has become a booming sector as property managers seek to use data collection and artificial intelligence to help control systems like heating, lighting, air quality, and even the flow of workers. As building owners juggle the complications of workers safely returning to offices after the pandemic, investors are pouring money into startups like Cherre and HqO. But this data collection is also raising cybersecurity concerns: A 2021 Deloitte report found “cyberthreats are increasing in sophistication.”
Money pouring into climate PropTech as real estate is pushed toward sustainability
Bisnow - April 6
Government action, from local building regulations to President Joe Biden's push to spend hundreds of billions on sustainable buildings, is expected to force rapid adoption of climate PropTech solutions. Shareholders, lenders, and tenants have also been escalating pressure on landlords to make their buildings become more climate-friendly. Over the last two months, at least three new PropTech-focused venture capital funds have launched with plans to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to deploy into the sector.
Lodging startup Sonder agrees to go public via $2.2B SPAC deal
Yahoo! Finance - April 30
Lodging startup Sonder, which offers refurbished properties for short-term rentals, has agreed to go public through merging with a blank-check firm backed by billionaire investors Alec Gores and Dean Metropoulos that values the combined company at around $2.2 billion. The deal with Gores Metropoulos II will give the hospitality startup $650 million of cash proceeds, including a private placement of $200 million from investors such as Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC and BlackRock Inc.
SoftBank invests $500M in digital mortgage lender Better.com
CNBC – April 8
SoftBank has invested $500 million in digital mortgage lender Better.com amid what has been a hot U.S. residential real estate and mortgage refinancing market fueled by record low interest rates. The investment values Better, ranked No. 15 on last year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, at roughly $6 billion. That’s a significant jump from the company’s last funding round in November 2020, which valued Better at $4 billion, according to PitchBook data.
Amazon-backed home tech startup SmartRent to go public in over $2B SPAC deal
Reuters – April 22
Amazon-backed home technology solutions provider SmartRent.com Inc has agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm backed by venture capital firm Fifth Wall, valuing the equity of the combined company at around $2.2 billion. The deal with Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp I is expected to provide the merged entity with $513 million in gross proceeds, comprising about $155 million from investors including Koch Real Estate Investments, Baron Capital Group, Lennar Corp, and Invitation Homes.
HqO raises $60M in Series C raise for tenant experience platform
Connected Real Estate – April 22
HqO recently announced that it raised $60 million in Series C funding from a number of leading venture capital and commercial real estate firms. PruVen Capital, Cushman & Wakefield, and Suffolk Capital were among the company’s new investors. HqO, a tenant experience operating system for CRE office buildings, has raised $106.9 million to date.
AI-powered construction project platform OpenSpace nabs $55M
VentureBeat – April 28
OpenSpace, a platform that helps construction companies track building projects through AI-powered analytics and 360-degree photo documentation, has raised $55 million in a series C round of funding led by Alkeon Capital Management. The raise comes amid a cross-industry digital transformation boom, spurred in large part by the pandemic. Construction has often lagged behind other sectors in terms of efficiency, but tech such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and remote collaboration tools has helped get the $11 trillion industry back on track.