JLL: No better time to invest in real estate technology
PlaceTech – August 31
Rebounding after a pandemic-led slump, funding for property technology hit a record high $9.7 billion in H1 2021. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many companies’ adoption of new technology, it initially slowed down funding for the sector in 2020, according to a new report by JLL. Total venture capital funding to built environment technology fell 19.3% to $13.4 billion in 2020, before accelerating to record highs this year. JLL identified more than 7,800 companies that provide technology solutions “in various parts of the built environment.” These companies have raised $97 billion of equity funding in the 10 years to H1 2021.
PropTech and the warehouse shortage
Commercial Observer - August 24
The explosive growth of e-commerce during COVID has also created what is arguably a shortage of warehouse space for retailers. For context, Prologis, the largest owner of industrial real estate in the U.S., said in a May report that utilization rates, which indicate how much space is being used, reached close to 85%. Vacancy rates are at 4.7%, close to a record low, Prologis said. That low warehouse vacancy rate presents an opportunity for PropTech, said Brad Wright, CEO of Chunker, an online platform that facilitates leasing warehouse space short term in 43 states and 170 cities.
iBuyer home sales soar 123% in Southern California, report shows
The Orange County Register - September 7
Home sales to the top four iBuying companies more than doubled in Southern California this past spring, jumping 123% from the quarter before to an all-time high of 789 homes, a Zillow analysis shows. The sales model represents a tiny but growing proportion of all transactions.
WeWork to operate co-working spaces in some Saks Fifth Avenue stores
Reuters – August 10
Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson’s Bay Co will convert parts of certain department stores into co-working spaces, which will be managed by office-sharing startup WeWork, the companies said, at a time when many employees are negotiating remote-work policies. WeWork also announced in August that it partnered with real-estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield to help landlords and businesses create hybrid, flexible workplaces.
Zillow Group faces antitrust scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers over $500M ShowingTime acquisition
GeekWire – August 13
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter in mid-August to the FTC that raises antitrust questions related to the residential real estate industry and specifically Zillow Group’s pending $500 million acquisition of ShowingTime. The letter highlights the growing antitrust scrutiny on tech giants in various industries and is the latest antitrust-related criticism facing Seattle-based Zillow.
Real estate tech startup snags $363M
PitchBook - September 7
HomeLight, the creator of a real estate tech platform for those looking to buy or sell a home, has raised $363 million in a round led by Zeev Ventures, with support from Group 11, STCAP, and Menlo Ventures. The financing, which values HomeLight at $1.6 billion, comprises $100 million in Series D equity and $263 million in debt funding. Founded in 2012, the startup has offices in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Scottsdale.
Home buying and selling platform Reali raises $250M in Series B round
The Real Deal – August 19
Reali, a startup intended to streamline second-time home buying, raised $250 million in Series B funding, with plans to scale its operations in California and eventually the rest of the country. Early-stage venture fund Zeev Ventures led the round, which included $75 million in equity, $25 million in venture debt, and $150 million of warehouse financing.
Blueprint Title raises $16M Series B to grow its title-focused insurance business
Tech Crunch – September 1
Blueprint Title, a startup working in the title insurance space, has closed a $16 million Series B funding round, led by Forté Ventures. The startup previously raised an $8.5 million Series A in the final weeks of 2019. The insurance startups that went public in the last year and a half sell to consumers. Blueprint, in contrast, sells to professional groups looking for a better title insurance experience.
Mortgage AI firm Candor announces $12.5M in funding
HousingWire – August 18
Candor, a mortgage artificial intelligence firm that has pioneered automated underwriter technology, announced a $12.5 million funding round, led by Arthur Ventures. Candor promised to automate much of the underwriting process by making income, asset, and lending decisions. Their automated underwriting tech augments human underwriters’ capabilities, allowing underwriters to boost their productivity.