Tishman Speyer forms $300 million SPAC to invest in PropTech companies
The Real Deal – October 26
Tishman Speyer has formed a $300 million blank-check company — becoming the first major real estate owner to embrace what’s become a wildly popular but speculative investing tool. Through this newly formed SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company, the mega-landlord is looking to invest in “real estate adjacent businesses and technologies targeting the real estate space” per the S1. So far in 2020, 160 SPACs have gone public, raising $59 billion, according to SPAC Insider. That’s up from 59 SPACs that raised $13.6 billion in all of 2019. SPACs accounted for around 50% of all IPO activity in the U.S. in 2020. Tishman has a track record in PropTech venture investing, and has invested in VTS, a data platform; Ritual, a restaurant pickup app; Latch, a smart lock startup; and Lyric, an Airbnb-backed short-term rental startup. As one of the country’s largest commercial landlords with 78 million square feet of real estate, Tishman is hoping its industry experience will give it an edge in a space that’s become crowded with the likes of billionaire Bill Ackman and Oakland Athletics exec Billy Beane.
Buildings of tomorrow: future warehouses
Commercial Property Executive - October 30
A report issued by JLL analyzes four megatrends in the industrial sector that were obvious even prior to COVID — demographic change, technological change, urbanization, and sustainability. JLL analysts highlight three main technologies that have the greatest impact on the warehouse component: artificial intelligence—the force behind automation, autonomous machines, robots, and “smart” warehouses; the Internet of Things—the foundation for “smart” warehouses, and logistics; and 3D printing or additive manufacturing.
Academic, industry leaders to create national institute for AI in construction
Construction Dive – October 28
A team of researchers have received grants and support from the National Science Foundation and the Discovery Partners Institute to establish a National Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Construction. More than 40 industry partners from the architecture, engineering, and construction sectors as well as technology providers and venture capital investment firms will join researchers from the University of Illinois and Carnegie Mellon University in this multidisciplinary effort to design the new institute through a series of planning workshops. The goal is to identify key areas for the highest impact of AI in the design, construction, and operation of the built environment.
California startup showcases 3D printed apartments costing just over $100K
USA Today – October 26
Mighty Buildings, a Culver City (Los Angeles) startup, is looking to large 3D printers to solve the housing crisis. The company has been showcasing 350 square-foot studio apartment models of its new accessory dwelling units (ADUs) aimed at backyards. These apartments start at $115,000. Sam Ruben, the co-founder of the firm, credits a super-large (43x20 feet) 3D printer for being able to generate the materials for the frame, using a gel that hardens instantly when it gets hit with light. Robotic arms scan the objects and pour the gel. He predicts some 100 homes will be created by the firm in 2021, followed by at least 1,000 the following year. Mighty describes itself as a "modular prefab construction company" and says it is fully compliant with all aspects of the California Building Code, including Title 24 Energy and other standards.
Covid pushes real estate into the future
The New York Times – November 13
The coronavirus could be the crisis that finally propels the tech-averse real estate industry into the 21st century. A host of new or newly valuable technologies are emerging in the post-Covid housing market, from rent-regulated apartments to luxury condos. They range from robotic furniture that reimagines itself inside our shrinking walls, to contactless apps designed to bring neighbors together. They are futuristic takes on prosaic features, like ultraviolet wands in air ducts, and “Ghostbusters”-inspired blasters to hose down Amazon boxes. Some may be passing fads. Still, the ones that stick could have long-term implications for a stubbornly analog industry, even as some critics have raised concerns about data collection and privacy. And it remains unclear whether these improvements will reach the workaday housing market, or remain a luxury niche.
Snapdocs, a digital mortgage platform, secures $60M in Series C funding
Mortgage Professional America - October 14
Snapdocs has announced plans to build on growth momentum with the $60 million it has raised in a recent Series C funding round. The new funding comes less than a year after the digital mortgage platform company secured $25 million, bringing its total capital raised to $103 million. The Series C round was led by YC Continuity, with participation from all existing investors, including Sequoia Capital, F-Prime Capital, and Founders Fund, as well as new investors Lachy Groom and DocuSign. “The pandemic has changed real estate forever. We’ve long talked about digital closings, but the incredible combination of global and market forces have compelled everyone to finally adopt digital solutions that solve the core problems in closing: the fragmentation and inefficiency inherent in a process involving so many parties,” said CEO Aaron King.
Is it a parking lot or delivery hub? That question helped Miami startup REEF raise $1 billion
Miami Herald – November 3
Miami-based REEF, best known for its so-called ghost kitchens that provide off-site food delivery, announced that it had raised a total of $1 billion to expand its operations. A growth equity funding round of $700 million is being led by United Arab Emirates-based Mubadala Capital in partnership with SoftBank’s Vision Fund and other investors. REEF is also raising $300 million through Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., to acquire additional real estate assets. REEF’s model involves investing in underutilized urban real estate, especially parking lots, and leasing them out as staging areas to businesses specializing in delivering goods and services.
Camber Creek closes third fund oversubscribed at $155M
GlobeSt.com – October 28
Venture capital firm Camber Creek has closed its third fund, oversubscribed with $155 million in commitments. The firm invests in technology companies that are disrupting and innovating the real estate market, such as Latch, VTS, Curbio, Notarize, Compstak, and Measurabl. Camber Creek originally targeted $120 million for this fundraise, but was able to surpass expectations.