Fifth Wall, a venture capital firm focused on real estate technology, has partnered with BNP Paribas Real Estate to launch its business in Europe with the Fifth Wall Real Estate Technology European Fund, the firm's first European PropTech fund. The California-based company founded in 2016 has over USD1.2 billion under management, raised from industry stakeholders via several funds. The investment in the fund is a strategically important move for BNP Paribas Real Estate, envisioning that innovative tech solutions will be critical for developing better buildings and cities. The launch of the fund in Europe is an important next step for Fifth Wall and follows on from its success in the North American market, offering a gateway for European firms to the U.S. and further afield.
Facebook earlier this month revealed it is working on Project Aria, a research initiative intended to pave the way for augmented reality glasses. The wearable technology would add a digital layer of information on top of the world users see before their eyes. This augmented reality technology could have a host of applications for real estate, from construction to building management to leasing to retail. PropTech venture capitalists and other experts say they see this as a major opportunity for future growth in the sector, and they say now is the time for entrepreneurs to begin creating applications for the technology.
The pandemic delivered a serious scare to technology real estate startup, Cadre, despite being backed by notable investors like Mark Cuban, George Soros, and Jared Kushner. The company stopped investing in properties, laid off a quarter of its staff, and stress tested its $3 billion real estate portfolio to see which properties could survive the health crisis and a recession. Now, Cadre, which uses machine learning and predictive analytics to assess real estate, is back on the prowl. Cadre is hoping to lure people who have excess cash but don't want to stick it in a bank, where interest rates are near zero, or in the volatile stock market, where valuations are approaching two-decade highs.
Cushman & Wakefield has been tracking the new leases, renewals, rent collections, and occupancy for co-living buildings since the pandemic began. By its count, co-living has either matched or outperformed traditional real estate on all fronts. “Today, there are 2,900 standing co-living beds across the United States,” says Susan Tjarksen with Cushman & Wakefield. “That's supposed to triple in the next 18 months.” The reason is financial—the economy has slumped, which has driven people to seek cheaper alternatives—but also social. The pandemic has robbed people of the amenities that a city usually provides: bars, restaurants, and space to mingle. Co-living startups offer much of that back, like a city shrunk into a single building.
More than a dozen former Zillow leaders, led by Spencer Rascoff and Austin Allison, have joined the founding team of a new residential real estate startup. Pacaso launched Thursday as a marketplace for secondary home ownership, providing a place for people to buy and sell anywhere from half to an eighth of a home. It also provides technology to simplify shared scheduling and maintenance of second homes. The company raised $17 million in its venture capital round and secured an additional $250 million in debt financing.
New York City-based online home buying marketplace Orchard has announced a $69 million cash injection that will fund its accelerated growth. Orchard’s Series C equity funding round was led by Revolution Growth, with participation from existing investors, FirstMark, Navitas, Accomplice, and Juxtapose. The latest fundraise brings Orchard’s total equity raised to date to $138 million. Orchard’s core service offering, Move First, allows customers to purchase their next home and move in before they have sold their current one.
Smart intercom maker ButterflyMX has raised $35 million in a growth equity round led by Volition Capital that brings its total raised to date to over $58 million. A company spokesperson said that the fresh capital will be used to expand into new markets, bring on 80 new employees by 2021, and introduce products that extend ButterflyMX’s intercom experience from the front door to the rest of the building. Contactless entry technology, which is anticipated to be an over $22 billion market by 2027, is experiencing growth during the pandemic despite evidence that infection by touch is rare. A recent CBRE survey of 203 companies found that roughly half are considering installing touchless technology as part of their plans to return to the office.
Compass is getting into the title and escrow business — two ancillary service lines that could boost its earnings as it works toward profitability. This Monday, the residential firm said it signed a definitive agreement to buy Modus, a title and escrow startup, which has raised $12.5 million. Seattle-based Modus, founded in 2018, develops digital closing software, and it claims to have facilitated more than $1 billion in purchases. Backers include Trulia co-founder Pete Flint, Rambleside Real Estate Capital, and Second Century Ventures, the VC arm of the National Association of Realtors.
Tech company Cityzenith has announced that the planned $500 million Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District, which will be built in downtown Orlando, Florida, will use the company’s SmartWorldPro2 Digital Twin platform as part of the project’s development. Digital twin technology allows developers to build a project virtually first in order to optimize design, construction, and long-term performance before physical work begins. The platform will help provide visitors with a video game-like experience while within the district, allowing them to use a 3D model to access information such as retail specials, parking, and events.