Over 2020, global VC deal flow into commercial real estate technologies fell nearly 80% compared with 2019. Meanwhile, venture investment into residential real estate tech dropped by less than 10% in that time, according to PitchBook data. As pandemic-related shutdowns are phasing out, both segments are seeing renewed interest from venture capitalists. Roughly six months through the year, venture capital deal activity in residential real estate tech has already reached an annual record of $6.2 billion, according to PitchBook data through June 18. With $2.6 billion in funding, the commercial segment is on track to make 2021 the second-most valuable year for venture activity.
In May 2021, short-term rental demand was 17.4% higher than the same month in 2019, according to AirDNA, a Denver-based provider of data and analytics for the industry. Additionally, short-term rental occupancy rates rose to 63.7 percent in May, up about 11 percentage points over May 2019. All told, demand and occupancy trends indicate that the sector has transitioned to an expansion phase from recovery, said Scott Shatford, co-founder and CEO of AirDNA. One of the biggest shifts among operators has been a move toward sharing revenue with apartment landlords and away from long-term leases.
The company behind a new high-rise apartment building in Seattle hopes to prove that constructing a net-zero energy building can be faster and more affordable than traditional building. The building is going up with new technology that makes construction faster, more affordable, and far more sustainable, according to building technology company Sustainable Living Innovations (SLI). The high-rise will be fitted with SLI’s proprietary, tech-enabled building panels, which are built in a factory with pre-installed electrical wiring, plumbing, and mechanical equipment.
New York-based PropTech venture capital firm MetaProp recently announced closing its latest real estate technology seed fund. The oversubscribed $100 million MetaProp Ventures III, L.P. is more than two and a half times the size of the company’s second fund, which closed at $40 million in 2018. MetaProp has invested in in more than 130 early-stage tech companies across the property value chain since it was founded in 2015.
A new real estate startup led by former Zillow executives Greg Schwartz and Carey Armstrong officially launched Wednesday in Seattle, Dallas, and Houston. Tomo also announced an additional $30 million as part of a giant $70 million seed round. Tomo wants to speed up the mortgage approval process and move it entirely online — like a PayPal for the mortgage industry. The firm says it can cut the average time-to-close by as much as 55%.
C3, a tech-focused restaurant company, has raised $80 million to help expand its fast-growing network of ghost kitchens, brick-and-mortar restaurants, and food halls. Leading the massive fundraise are large real estate investor Brookfield Asset Management and ghost kitchen provider Reef Technology. As part of the deal, Reef will bring C3 concepts to 500 new locations through its parking lot-based kitchen units—tripling C3's current footprint.
Side, which works to turn agents and independent brokerages into boutique brands and businesses, has raised “$50 million-plus” in a funding round that more than doubles its valuation to $2.5 billion. The latest financing comes just three months after the San Francisco-based startup raised $150 million in a Series D funding round led by Coatue Management at a $1 billion valuation.
Blooma, which makes software to streamline underwriting for commercial real estate loans, has raised $15 million in a Series A round of venture capital funding. Canapi Ventures led the round. The firm specializes in fintech investments, and its limited partners primarily consist of banks. Blooma taps optical character recognition, for example, to extract key data from documents in the underwriting process to deliver cash flow analysis and valuation quickly. That helps banks determine early on whether the project meets its lending thresholds, without having to do a full write-up.
Nextdoor is the latest PropTech company to try its hand at the SPAC market. The San Francisco-based social networking service for neighborhoods said Tuesday that it plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), raising $686 million and valuing the company at $4.3 billion.