Funding to venture-backed PropTech companies has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to Crunchbase data, with construction tech and property management startups leading the way. VC-backed real estate companies have raised $10.6 billion so far this year, up from the $8.3 billion that was raised during the same period last year, and higher than any year in that period in the past decade. The sectors within PropTech to receive the most funding so far this year are property management startups ($2 billion YTD) and construction ($1.9 billion).
The PropTech revolution is accelerating as building operators turn to big data to monitor everything from tenant relations to their properties’ energy use. In a new Urban Land Institute (ULI) survey, real estate owners and operators cited data analytics as a new technology focus for the next three years, and 76% of respondents said such applications were already having a positive impact on their businesses — even more than new technologies for property and project management. While 80% of the 200 respondents said PropTech applications have positively impacted their operations, 15% said they do not have plans to invest further in new technologies for the foreseeable future.
At a recent ULI webinar, panelists discussed the advantages of alternative construction technologies, including modular development, panelization, mass timber, and precast concrete. While not necessarily new to the construction industry, each of these technologies is becoming increasingly well known. These technologies have the potential to expedite construction time, foster collaboration, and encourage early planning for building design and performance.
Portland, Oregon-based vacation rental platform Vacasa is going public. The company announced in late July that it will merge with TPG Pace Solutions this fall in a SPAC deal that values Vacasa at $4.5 billion. Founded in 2009, Vacasa manages more than 30,000 vacation homes in 34 U.S. states and four other countries, and bills itself as the leading full-service vacation rental management company in North America.
Promising cheaper, greener homes, Rialto-based Plant Prefab is seeing demand soar, as housing prices are hitting new highs. Last week, Plant Prefab opened its second factory, in Ontario, and on Tuesday announced that it raised an additional $30 million for a third highly automated factory. Prefabricated housing construction has exploded in recent years, as L.A. has looked to the dwelling style as a way of diversifying its housing supply and tackling the housing crisis. Plant Prefab says its forthcoming third factory will allow the company to cut waste by up to 30% while saving 10% to 25% on cost and reducing construction times by 20% to 50% compared to traditional building methods.
New York-based Landis Inc. has raised $165 million in its latest funding round, led by Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital with participation from Jay-Z. Landis’ typical client is a renter or other prospective homeowner who is unable to get a mortgage due to spotty credit, not enough money for a down payment, or too much debt. Landis’ underwriting technology can determine whether the client might qualify for a mortgage within the next two years.
Sundae, a residential real estate marketplace that pairs sellers of dated or damaged property with potential buyers, has raised $80 million in a Series C funding round co-led by Fifth Wall and General Global Capital. The round marks San Francisco-based Sundae’s third financing in a 13-month time frame, bringing its total raised since its August 2018 inception to $135 million.
Buildots, a construction digital twin company, garnered a $30 million series B round led by Lightspeed Ventures, bringing its total investment to $46 million. Buildots will use the new funds to double the size of its global team, focusing on sales and R&D to expand its digital twins efforts, which use process mining techniques to improve outcomes as construction trades go digital. Buildots’ early customers include Build Group in California and Washington state.