Welcoming PadSplit

Blog written by:     Leila Collins   , Enterprise Investor-in-Residence, MetaProp     Patrick Jordan   , Vice President, Enterprise Advisors

Blog written by:

Leila Collins, Enterprise Investor-in-Residence, MetaProp

Patrick Jordan, Vice President, Enterprise Advisors

We are proud to welcome PadSplit to our PropTech family.

Earlier this week, PadSplit announced its $4.5 million seed round of funding, led by Core Innovation Capital. MetaProp and Enterprise Community Partners are excited to be investing in the round alongside Core and a broader investor syndicate. Our investment in PadSplit continues MetaProp and Enterprise’s joint focus on emerging  Housing Tech companies with innovative solutions to housing affordability.

Padsplit founders MetaProp PropTech

PadSplit’s Founder and CEO Atticus LeBlanc has spent the past 12 years developing and investing in affordable housing in Atlanta. Room sharing has long been a popular tool to lower the cost of housing, but most cities have limits on the number of unrelated parties who can live in a single home.

During his time serving low-income communities, Atticus encountered many tenants who were forced to rent out rooms in dilapidated and illegal “rooming houses” because they were priced out of Atlanta’s housing market.  Although he had already created a portfolio of single-family and affordable multifamily homes using traditional subsidy programs, Atticus was frustrated that he still couldn’t reach this huge population of people with great need.  

In 2009, he experimented with creating his own version of a legal rooming house and spent the next seven years learning and revising the model while building other businesses. In 2016, he wrote a proposal outlining his refined solution to Enterprise and won a small grant to build PadSplit, a tech-enabled and scalable version of his room share business that also created a unique legal structure for regulatory compliance.

Two years later, Atticus now leads one of the first co-living companies successfully serving low-income populations. PadSplit re-purposes and enhances the utilization of existing housing stock by enabling landlords to convert standard single-family homes into properties optimized for “by-the-room” rental, also referred to as co-housing or co-living. Its software facilitates renovations, room marketing, management and rental payments. Since PadSplit works with existing landlords rather than acting as the developer or operating partner, the model is asset-light compared to many other co-living companies, reducing its capital costs.

PadSplit is growing quickly in Atlanta, with a vibrant two-sided marketplace of landlords with rooms and renters who need a lower-cost option. To date, there are 209 operating PadSplit homes, and PadSplit’s residents are already saving more than $1 million in housing costs per year by switching to PadSplit. The company plans to expand to additional cities in the coming months and we are hopeful that, at scale, PadSplit could eventually become the ultimate online marketplace for affordable housing.

MetaProp has been interested in financing a co-living company for years, and we were moved to make that first investment in PadSplit for its differentiated, scalable and asset-light model. We were sold on PadSplit’s unique blend of scalable software and ability to onboard new homes and tenants quickly and cheaply.

Enterprise is pleased to expand on its early grant to PadSplit with an investment in this growth round.  Now that PadSplit’s solution has been rapidly tested, and has yielded such positive results, we are eager to advance a model that expands housing affordability without tapping scarce public subsidies.  With a deficit of over 7 million affordable homes nationwide, PadSplit’s approach can provide a significant number of affordable, well-designed homes that improve the lives of their residents.

You can read more on the announcement here and here.

Investing in Market-driven, Tech-enabled Solutions to Address the Housing Affordability Crisis

Blog written by:     Matt Hoffman   , Enterprise Vice President of Innovation & Managing Director of HousingTech Ventures     Leil    a Collins,    MetaProp Senior Associate & Enterprise Venture Capital Investor-in-Residence

Blog written by:

Matt Hoffman, Enterprise Vice President of Innovation & Managing Director of HousingTech Ventures

Leila Collins, MetaProp Senior Associate & Enterprise Venture Capital Investor-in-Residence

People of all income levels are deeply concerned about the state of the housing market and what it means to them, their families and their communities. Housing is on everyone’s minds not just because it is the largest expense in most people’s annual budget, but because where you can afford to live, now more than ever, affects your access to jobs, good schools, transit and health care.

A “good” job no longer guarantees being able to find a home you can afford in the community of your choice. In fact, a perverse trend has evolved: locations with concentrations of higher paying jobs are fueling even higher housing prices, while incomes remain stagnant for too many families in those communities. It is an unsustainable model that is hurting people and our nation’s economic future.  

The U.S. housing market is in desperate need of more housing supply and greater affordability. The numbers below paint a stark picture:

  • Communities nationwide face a shortage of 7.2 million affordable rental homes

  • Household formations outpaced housing construction by 43 percent annually between 2010-2016

  • By 2060, the U.S. population will increase by almost 75 million people (404 million total)

It would cost over $2.1 trillion to brute-force build our way out of the shortage. Even if we could amass that capital and get over the zoning and permitting hurdles, it would take more than a decade to bring the homes to the market. Labor markets and material supply chains are already strained from our current rate of new construction. Moreover, the effects of climate change, from sea-level rise to wildfires, have put additional pressure on the market, constraining where and how we build.

We need to fix current housing market dynamics before they get further out of control. What if we could make housing more affordable by almost instantaneously changing the way it is supplied and consumed – without laying a brick or applying for a construction permit? We believe it’s possible.

MetaProp and Enterprise are collaborating to inject capital into early-stage companies with technology-enabled solutions that have the potential to drive increased housing affordability. Our shared belief is that technology can facilitate new business models and opportunities to fundamentally change how supply and demand functions in the current housing market.  

We need your help to make this partnership as impactful as we know it can be.

If you see a technology innovation that impacts housing affordability, please let us know.

A similar phenomenon occurred in the taxi and hotel industries when Uber and Airbnb brought their disruptive models online. Without buying one new car or building one new hotel, both companies built tech-enabled platforms that tapped into existing underutilized assets and facilitated commerce between suppliers and consumers.  Our intent is to do the same thing for the housing sector by pairing MetaProp’s deep-seated experience in the venture capital world with Enterprise’s fluency in capital, policy and providing programmatic solutions to housing affordability. Together, we’ll provide the companies we invest in with access to an unsurpassed network that will facilitate market penetration at scale.

Through this partnership between a venture capital firm that has helped define the PropTech space and a national mission-driven social enterprise committed to helping people thrive through the power of home, we expect to bring new attention and capital to entrepreneurial approaches that can augment more traditional public policy and production-oriented methodologies. Although over the past few years billions have been invested into PropTech, much of the early PropTech capital invested in the residential sector of the market has been devoted to increased production efficiency (modular and 3-D printing), brokerage efficiency and virtual amenities.  

Enterprise and MetaProp are focusing their joint efforts on a narrower segment of the PropTech market that we believe can deliver outsized impact on affordability: rapidly scalable tech-enabled platforms that we are categorizing as HousingTech.  

The partnership will identify early-stage, tech-enabled companies with platform solutions that have potential to change the housing market dynamic in a way that increases affordability, whether as a primary focus or a secondary effect. As we evaluate appropriate companies, we’re raising questions such as:

  • How can we help people find an affordable home that already exists but is not part of the formal housing stock (e.g., the 3.6 million empty bedrooms in the top 100 housing markets)?

  • How can we enable homebuyers and renters to enter into new forms of tenure, whether it is fractional ownership or rental agreements that allow greater mobility and flexibility?

  • How can we overcome NIMBYism and other constraints on supply?  

  • What new tools can provide better outcomes from regulatory structures – helping protect the public interest and unlocking more supply on the market (whether new or repurposed)?

  • What new capital and credit structures can give more people access to the home-buying market and more predictability, or even upside, in the rental market?  

The housing affordability crisis currently touching every corner of the nation is solvable. But only if we bring entrepreneurial market forces to bear to complement the policy, program and traditional market approaches that are effective but limited in their breadth due to resource constraints and timing. We believe that the housing market is on the cusp of a transformational change in terms of how housing is supplied and consumed.

HousingTech’s tech-enabled platforms will unlock tremendous value that creates a fair housing system and aligns the market to ensure it strengthens our economy and creates a more viable path for families with low- and moderate incomes. Stay tuned. Or better yet, join us on this journey by signing up to follow our HousingTech work here.

Global PropTech Awards 2018 - Winners Profile

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TOP FOUNDER AWARD: Mike Rudoy @jetty

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Mike Rudoy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Jetty, an insurance technology platform that offers simple solutions for modern renters. Its growing suite of products empower its members and partners by providing better, more affordable coverage while helping landlords drive occupancy, streamline operations, and manage risk. Mike has built a team of more than 40 to transform insurance from a complicated process to one that’s intuitive, easy-to-use, and design-focused that just works. Mike has identified a way for property managers to offer its tenants concessions without conceding lower overhead cost, day-to-day operations, and reduce risk. As a whole, Jetty has taken a tech and design centric approach to create an offering for an industry that cares deeply about making life more seamless for its operators and tenants.

 

TOP TECHNOLOGY AWARD: @dealpath

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Dealpath is the leading deal management platform for the real estate industry. Investment teams use Dealpath as their command center for deploying capital in the acquisitions, development, and financing of real estate assets. Dealpath launched publicly in October 2016 and is now leveraged by hundreds of customers who have managed over $500 billion in transaction volume on the platform. Users are able to save an average of 22.5% of their time, reduce deal turnaround time by 9.5 days, reduce errors in due diligence and underwriting by 18%, and improve team productivity by 50%. Dealpath’s industry-leading platform provides a secure, centralized location to evaluate and execute even the most complicated real estate transactions. Development firms can tackle larger, more complex projects without falling behind schedule or running over budget. Acquisitions teams are able to identify the most valuable deals and execute transactions with unprecedented operational efficiency. This enables faster, more profitable, and less risky deals, which in turn unlocks previously untapped value.

 

TOP EXECUTIVE AWARD: Riggs Kubiak @honestbuildings

Riggs Kubiak is the CEO of Honest Buildings, a project management platform built for owners and managers to ensure capital and construction projects are on time and on budget. Riggs built an organization whose company mission is to accelerate urban progress by empowering collaborative, data-driven decision making, project by project, city by city. Since 2012, Riggs grew Honest Buildings from just an idea into one of the hottest real estate technology companies in the industry. Riggs is widely credited as an innovator and disrupter in the real estate industry and has effectively invented a new category of technology platform in the construction world.

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Honest Buildings is the only platform that is exclusively partnering with the owner, giving them pure insight into how projects are really performing and becoming the source of truth for their entire portfolios of capital spend. This type of innovation has paved the way for hundreds of real estate technology companies who have followed in his footsteps to create a movement in PropTech that was truly non-existent when he took the initiative to found Honest Buildings.

 

TOP INNOVATOR AWARD: @Convene

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Convene is a network of full-service, tech-enabled meeting, event, and flexible workspaces. Founded in 2009, Convene has locations in NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago. Convene is currently partnering with the world’s most prominent property owners to address the increased demand from enterprise companies for highly amenitized, flexible-term meeting and workspace solutions. With the recent round of Series D funding, Convene is planning to increase their footprint globally, expand their service offerings, and launch a new workplace technology platform. Convene’s landlord partnership approach is a different business model than coworking. Not just a tenant of an office building, Convene is cementing their place as the preferred partner to the world’s most distinguished developers and property owners in the country. Through unmatched partnerships, the company is redefining how properties can best service building tenants and the surrounding business community while bringing greater long-term value to Class A office assets.

 

TOP ASSOCIATION AWARD: @CoreNetGlobal

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CoreNet Global is a non-profit association, representing more than 10,000 executives in 50 countries with strategic responsibility for the real estate assets of large corporations. The organization’s mission is to advance the practice of corporate real estate through professional development opportunities, publications, research, conferences, designations and networking in 47 local chapters and networking groups globally. The CoreNet Global NYC Chapter has more than 1,000 members who represent New York’s largest publicly held companies at the forefront of real estate planning, development and innovation. Over the past two years, the CoreNet New York City Chapter and Technology Community has engaged with a wide array of topics in the PropTech community by hosting and participating in events featuring “Subject Matter Experts” from leading and well established CRE Firms, to emerging PropTech companies. Through these efforts, CoreNet NYC has led dynamic conversations and provided its members unparalleled exposure to the PropTech community.

 

TOP INVESTOR AWARD: Jim Pettit, @navitascapital

Jim Pettit is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Navitas Capital, a venture capital firm focused on investing in technology for the built environment. Over the course of the previous 12 months, Jim has made 8 investments into PropTech companies, from the Seed to Series D+ Stages. His investments focus on a wide-range of applications to service the CRE industry, ranging from  automation in construction to building operations management to real estate valuation.

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Tips for Holding on to Good Tenants

Blog post written by    Jetty

Blog post written by Jetty

Apartment turnover is a real problem for rental property managers. According to the National Apartment Association, there was a 46.8% turnover rate for apartments in 2017. While that may seem high, it’s actually a record low.

When a tenant leaves, there is more to worry about than just the loss of rent income. Rental turnover brings a range of different expenses for the property owner. You have to spend time and money preparing the apartment for the next tenant and you also have the costs associated with finding new tenants. You also have operating expenses that won’t go on hold while you wait for a new renter.

If you want to avoid these costs and keep reliable renters in your apartments, you have to work on strategies for tenant retention. Accepting things like international renters coverage can a good place to start if renters are coming from abroad. This, and other strategies, might require a little time and money, but when compared to the costs associated with high turnover rates, it is a good investment. Here are a few additional tips for keeping good tenants living in your rental units.

Be a Good Landlord

If you want to keep good tenants, you have to be a good landlord. Renters are not going to be happy if it seems like you’re not keeping your end of the deal or meeting your obligations. When they feel unsatisfied with your performance as a landlord, tenants will find a way to leave as soon as possible.

Start by being courteous and respectful. People do not want to have to deal with a landlord that has a bad attitude. You also want to be responsive when a tenant has issues and make sure they know they can come to you whenever a problem with the unit arises.

"The successful landlord must make it easy for tenants to pay their rent, sign leases and send maintenance requests from their phones," said Zach Aarons, Co-Founder of MetaProp. "People don’t want to write checks anymore."

Furthermore, if you tell a renter you are going to do something, keep your word.

Keep Up With the Maintenance

No one wants to live in home that’s in a state of disrepair. If a tenant has unaddressed maintenance issues or they have a hard time getting you to respond to maintenance requests, there is a good chance they are going to be looking to move when the lease is up.

Instead of waiting for your renters to contact you with maintenance issues, schedule regular inspections and take care of issues before they become an inconvenience to the tenant. This will not only help to keep your renters happy, but will also act as a measure to prevent expensive repairs in the future.

Learn About What Tenants Want

If you want to keep people in the apartments, you need to know what renters want. Some minor renovations can go a long way toward keeping renters happy.

"In attempting to attract and retain the modern tenant, landlords must provide the renter with amenities within and beyond the four walls of the building," said Zach Aarons, Co-Founder of MetaProp. "The elusive millennial tenant wants convenience above all else."

It’s a good idea to investigate what your renters want and find out what renters on the current market look for when they go apartment hunting. Beyond just being a good measure for keeping your current tenants, having the features people look for can help you find new tenants faster when the apartments do turnover.

Sign Longer Leases

One way to keep your good tenants is to try to sign them to longer leases. If the current term of the lease is one year, offer a discount to sign a multi-year lease. This might come with a slight reduction of the rental income on that apartment, but it keeps the renter in place and it helps you avoid the turnover costs. As long as you make enough rental income, it is worth offering discounts to keep a reliable paying tenant in place.

Talk About Renewals Early

If you have some tenants that might be thinking about leaving, you could get ahead of the issue by talking about a renewal early. Contact the occupant when the lease has three months left to find out whether they are planning to renew. If their answer is no, you can ask them if there is anything you can do to keep them in the apartment. If it is a small issue, you might be able to work things out and avoid the hassle and the costs that come with apartment turnover.

You might even want consider offering incentives to tenants that choose to renew the lease. If they have been living there for a while, for example, you could offer to have the carpets cleaned or repaint the apartment. If they have a problem with a rent increase, you could possibly negotiate a deal to keep the rent at the current level. This is why you want to have a good relationship with your apartment’s occupants. These conversations are only possible when your tenants feel like they can trust and talk to you.

About Jetty

Jetty offers a new kind of renters insurance, designed to help people get the protection they actually need at a price they can afford. Our mission is to protect our Members from setbacks of all kinds, from fire and theft to wasted time and money.

Launched and Accelerated

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On September 13th, we welcomed six new startups to the MetaProp accelerator family. The past month has been energizing, challenging and productive for them and us as we ramp-up the startups’ growth curve.

MetaProp integrates its venture fund and advisory businesses with its accelerator companies. Over the summer we launched our Fund II and recently added a new Consortium of sponsors, making the MetaProp community more integrated and stronger than ever. At the beginning of the accelerator program our number one goal is to connect each startup in the cohort to our broader community. As our network of investors and sponsors has grown, so too have the opportunities for our companies.

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John Kang, CEO of Reasi, flies across the country every other Thursday to join us. He explained that so far, our community has been the greatest value he has gained from the program: “MetaProp opened up the East Coast PropTech ecosystem for us.  We've lined up back-to-back meetings with partners we would have struggled getting in front of. Furthermore, the program has helped with branding and navigating broker and title relationships,” John explained.

At the same time, the glue that truly holds the class together is the cohort itself. Ultimately, the program is hard work, requires frequent travel and a great deal of dedication. Each year, we find that CEOs push through for their cohort mates. John explains: “Meeting the other cohort founders has been inspirational. We're all so motivated and committed that it's contagious, and learning about their experiences has been an unexpected bonus as Reasi tackles similar challenges.”

We are looking forward to watching this class grow and mature. In particular, we are looking forward to finding ways for all of you (our community) to engage with them. Take a look at the list of companies and some highlights from orientation, below.

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The 2018-19 MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University cohort includes a diverse mix of founders who are looking to solve big problems in interesting and challenging areas of PropTech, including smart cities, residential brokerage, tenant advocacy and sustainability. The companies are using cutting-edge technology, including computational geometry, blockchain and machine learning to solve some of the industry’s biggest problems. Take a look at the group of startups below:

Aegis AI  (Chicago) Aegis AI uses computer vision to identify weapons in surveillance camera footage, dramatically reducing law enforcement notification time and saving lives in an active shooter situation.

Aegis AI (Chicago)
Aegis AI uses computer vision to identify weapons in surveillance camera footage, dramatically reducing law enforcement notification time and saving lives in an active shooter situation.

Avvir  (NYC) Avvir compares laser scans of constructions sites to BIMs in order to identify construction errors, monitor progress, and ultimately enable a dynamic living digital twin of a building that can be used as a platform for the management of smart buildings.

Avvir (NYC)
Avvir compares laser scans of constructions sites to BIMs in order to identify construction errors, monitor progress, and ultimately enable a dynamic living digital twin of a building that can be used as a platform for the management of smart buildings.

Furnishr  (Toronto)  Furnishr is a turn-key home furnishing platform that designs, sources, delivers and setups your home all in one day.

Furnishr (Toronto)
Furnishr is a turn-key home furnishing platform that designs, sources, delivers and setups your home all in one day.

Jabbrrbox  (NYC) Jabbrrbox is a new workplace solutions company bringing privacy to commercial and public spaces. The Jabbrrbox solution fills a critical void in the public and private marketplace and is engineered for today's modern mobile workforce.

Jabbrrbox (NYC) Jabbrrbox is a new workplace solutions company bringing privacy to commercial and public spaces. The Jabbrrbox solution fills a critical void in the public and private marketplace and is engineered for today's modern mobile workforce.

LiveBy  (Nebraska) LiveBy is a hyperlocal data company focused on empowering brokers, teams and agents with the tools to showcase their local expertise. With plug-and-play local content for websites and new, sharable Neighborhood Guides and Market Reports, LiveBy helps real estate professionals prove why they know their markets best.

LiveBy (Nebraska)
LiveBy is a hyperlocal data company focused on empowering brokers, teams and agents with the tools to showcase their local expertise. With plug-and-play local content for websites and new, sharable Neighborhood Guides and Market Reports, LiveBy helps real estate professionals prove why they know their markets best.

Reasi  (LA) Reasi is an online real estate escrow service that provides a secure and seamless home-closing experience. We eliminate escrow costs using our blockchain platform, support the transaction from offer to close, and bring simplicity & security to a $10 billion escrow market plagued by frustration and wire scams.

Reasi (LA)
Reasi is an online real estate escrow service that provides a secure and seamless home-closing experience. We eliminate escrow costs using our blockchain platform, support the transaction from offer to close, and bring simplicity & security to a $10 billion escrow market plagued by frustration and wire scams.

 
Orientation week featured the brand new MetaProp Accelerator Consortium with  Comcast machineQ ,  Cushman & Wakefield ,  First Republic Bank ,  Fox Rothschild  and  Inmobiliaria Colonial .

Orientation week featured the brand new MetaProp Accelerator Consortium with Comcast machineQ, Cushman & Wakefield, First Republic Bank, Fox Rothschild and Inmobiliaria Colonial.

We celebrated with a Welcome Toast at the Columbia Startup Lab:

We celebrated with a Welcome Toast at the Columbia Startup Lab:

Kent Tarrach gave his annual talk on asset management

Kent Tarrach gave his annual talk on asset management

Scott Rechler welcomed the companies to RXR’s headquarters

Scott Rechler welcomed the companies to RXR’s headquarters

Fox Rothschild invited the companies for a lunch and learn:

Fox Rothschild invited the companies for a lunch and learn:

Fuel on the fire - Mega rounds accelerating the pace of PropTech growth

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Anyone scanning the PropTech headlines in recent weeks could be forgiven for doing a triple take as three mega funding rounds totaling over $1.7 billion--all led by Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund--were announced within a five-day span. For those keeping score at home, the rounds included $1 billion to Indian hotel booking platform Oyo Hotels, $450 million to residential brokerage company Compass and $400 million to ibuying leader Opendoor. It’s a jaw dropping amount of capital by any measure. The numbers are even more remarkable when you consider that in 2013, PropTech startups raised less than $500 million in total venture capital funding during the entire year.

One of the notable aspects of these and other recent PropTech mega-rounds, aside from their sheer size, is how many of them are going to startups with so called “full-stack” models. Full-stack startups, a term popularized a few years ago to refer to Uber, AirBnB, WeWork, et. al., are tech-enabled companies that offer complete end-to-end services that generally compete with, rather than sell to, incumbents. Take Compass for example, which is striving to build a modern residential real estate brokerage enabled by technology, rather than sell tech tools to existing residential brokerages (though it has recently announced plans to get into that game too).

The rise of full-stack PropTech startups is a feature, not a bug, of the current PropTech wave. Fueled by the near-record levels of dry powder in today’s venture capital ecosystem, these full-stack businesses--which tend to be as capital intensive as they are ambitious--are acting as a catalyst for innovation and behavior change in the real estate market more broadly.

Some of the most highly valued companies in PropTech, and indeed in the broader tech economy, employ full-stack models. Companies like WeWork, Compass, Redfin, Katerra, OpenDoor, et. al. are not primarily selling software to the traditional giants of the real estate industry. Instead, they are taking them on directly.

This direct challenge is a powerful force behind the real estate industry’s recent and rapid awakening to and embrace of technology. When a company like WeWork can grow from zero to become the largest occupier (and in turn, subletter) in Manhattan in less than 10 years, it makes traditional office landlords large and small sit up and take notice. Similarly, when Compass and Katerra use their massive venture-financed war chests to expand their reach by gobbling up major legacy players, it puts other incumbents in those industries on notice.  It also makes traditional firms across real estate realize that in order to remain competitive in this shifting market, they too will need to embrace and adopt technology.

So as full-stack challengers continue to gain scale, the appetite for tech that can be used by traditional real estate firms to make their businesses more competitive grows stronger. This is one of the factors helping to fuel the current explosion of PropTech startups seeking to sell into traditional real estate firms of all stripes. And it’s also one of the reasons that these startups are finding an increasingly warmer reception from their target customers in real estate -- a customer base which has traditionally been very difficult for tech companies to sell into. This growing customer demand is in turn why we are not just seeing an explosion in PropTech startup formation, but we are seeing many of these companies find real commercial footing and begin to scale at a clip that this industry has never before witnessed.

As we look forward, we think that this push and pull between full-stack challengers and startups that aim to help traditional players modernize, is a powerful force for the continued growth and health of the PropTech sector. We expect to see venture dollars continue to consolidate around full-stack models that are able to achieve threshold levels of traction. And at the same time we anticipate that traditional software and tech-enabled businesses that sell into the commercial real estate community will continue to multiply and grow. It makes it an exciting time to be an investor in this space. It also signals that the pace of change in the real estate industry is only likely to accelerate.


7 Tips for Getting Into MetaProp's Next Accelerator Cohort

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The 2018/2019 MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University applications are closing in two days. Our team is busy reviewing applications, interviewing startup founders and sending out offers to selected companies.It is an exciting time at MetaProp, but an even more exhilarating, if pressurized, time for PropTech startup founders applying for our globally renowned accelerator program

This blog post is intended to bring some transparency to our selection process for those of you who are currently finishing up your application or waiting to hear back.

After we receive your application on F6S, we will review your application and reach out to schedule an interview if we think your company might be a good fit. Typically, a CEO will be interviewed two to three times throughout the process by our ventures and acceleration teams that includes Zak Schwarzman, Aaron Block, Clelia Peters, Zach Aarons and Leila Collins. After the interviews, we conduct our standard due diligence process. If a company makes it through due diligence, we send an offer letter.

The entire process can sometimes take as little as two weeks or as long as a few months.. For any applications submitted recently, we will expedite the process and get back to you before the end of the month.

The interview process for the accelerator is different from our process for a fund investment because we are looking for more than just great investments -- accelerator companies need to be excellent investments AND a great part of the cohort. We have found that the best cohorts consist of companies that are ready to start selling into real estate and that represent a broad range of asset classes. It is extremely important to us to have a diverse group of founders with experiences and personalities that will compliment each other. For a cohort to be successful, we need each founder to bring a unique perspective to the forum and also to be supportive to the other founders. We work hard and our program is very serious, but we also care about building a lasting community with shared values.

Below is a list of some quick tips for a successful accelerator interview:

  1. Explain the problem. Make sure to fully explain the problem you are looking to solve early on. We want to make a bet on someone who is obsessed with solving a big problem — and willing to pivot to solve it.

  2. Be professional. This one may seem obvious, but make sure to respond promptly to emails, return requested materials quickly and show up on time.

  3. Make it a conversation. We are, at the bottom, investing in you and your team. The more conversational you can be during your pitch, the more you will connect with us.

  4. Talk about your team. We want to know you have the team to grow your company by 500% by February.

  5. Have a plan. Our team can help you the most if you are ready to grow very quickly. Show us that you know who you want to sell to and how you want to reach them.

  6. Be ready. We can move quickly, so have your basic diligence materials ready to go so you can send them to us right away. It shows us that you are professional and ready to fundraise.

  7. Know what you want. We are here to help you and we appreciate when you have already thought about how you would get the most out of our program.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Leila Collins. Good luck!

3 Reasons Branding Matters in PropTech

By:  Ryan Coon , Co-founder of     Avail

By: Ryan Coon, Co-founder of Avail

Coca-Cola. Mercedes. Nike.

Each word brings to mind a specific product or lifestyle. Each brand appeals to a demographic, and that appeal doesn’t happen by accident.

From their recognizable logos to their consistent products, each company has created a unique brand. Branding goes beyond just consumer goods, though. It also applies to the consumer experience.

When it comes to PropTech, branding is essential. The right branding can convey in an instant whether your brand is approachable, consistent, and user-friendly. From your logo to your tagline, every aspect of your brand sends a message to potential customers, so it’s important to make sure it’s the right one.

With that in mind, here are 3 reasons why branding matters in PropTech:

 

1. Branding Aligns Your Internal Team

When you think of branding, you probably think of customer-facing assets like logos, colors, and taglines. That’s just one aspect of branding, though.

The most important aspect of your brand? Your people. Both your internal team and your customers are the most important builders, ambassadors, and followers of your brand.

Branding ensures your team is moving in the same direction. For this to work, though, you need your team to buy into your brand.

If your team is aligned with and enthusiastic about your brand, they’ll provide your customers with outstanding service and support. This leads to a business’ most important asset: repeat customers.

To create and communicate a consistent internal brand, there are a few steps PropTech companies should consider:

 

Define What You Stand For

An important aspect of your brand is the consistent experience people have surrounding your brand, which often comes down to how people are treated at every touchpoint. For example, you should consider:

  • How your team interacts with your customers

  • How your customers interact with your team

  • How your customers interact with each other

  • How your team interacts with each other

At Avail, we’ve written House Rules as a playful way to display our code of conduct. It also shows our customers that we’re a friendly, every-person brand. The House Rules are:

  • Be positive

  • Be honest

  • Be impactful

  • Be professional

  • Be understanding

Our team follows these standards, and also, our landlords and tenants know what to expect from their interactions with Avail and with each other.

"From the start of our first accelerator cohort, of which the then Rentalutions was a part, we at MetaProp knew that its founders had a brilliant idea, along with the drive and focus to build their PropTech startup. At the same time, we knew the company's name was not ideal. However, we all recognized that it was not the time to focus on that aspect of the business. Clients were being garnered and had to be serviced with excellence. When the time was right, the founders pivoted toward a branding focus and successfully re-branded the company as Avail. That's smart startup strategy!" -- Aaron Block, Co-Founder & Managing Director, MetaProp

 

Get Feedback From Your Employees

People tend to be resistant to change that feels imposed on them. Getting feedback from your internal team gives them the opportunity to shape your brand. If they help shape the brand, they’re that much more likely to support it and communicate that enthusiasm to  customers.

Open discussions with your team can also provide you with valuable feedback about your brand and how to improve it.

 

Communicate Your New Brand

Once you’ve created your brand, it needs to be communicated to your customers in the best way. On our team, we often say “communicate early and communicate often.” This is especially true with your brand. If you’re like us, and you’re going through a rebrand, you’ll want to communicate ahead of time, so that customers are not alarmed by the change. We told our customers about our rebrand 3 weeks before the launch. And then, as we got closer to launch date, we sent more emails letting them know that the changes were coming soon.

 

Once you’ve updated your logo, name, and any other changes on your site, you’ll want to send a final email to your customers letting them know that the change is complete. We sent out a blog post on why Rentalutions rebranded to Avail to address common questions and concerns ahead of time.

 

"Effective branding is consistency meets creativity. Understanding your target market and nurturing the relationships from the very beginning will pay off handsomely in the long run. People are busy and have short attention spans. You have less than 5 seconds to catch their attention or they'll swipe left to the next interesting thing." - Deedee Chong, Director of Marketing, MetaProp

Another great idea is to host a brand launch party. It’s a fun way to bring your team together and get them excited about your company’s future.

Plus, with your internal team united and focused, they will be more likely to provide your customers with a high level of support that aligns with your brand.
 

2. Branding Increases Customer Satisfaction and Engagement
 

As you develop your brand, the first step should be having a clear sense of who your customers are and what they need. This will help you develop an emotional connection with your customers through your brand. Similarly, when your brand is well-executed, your customers get a consistent experience. Through that connection and consistency, you’ll increase satisfaction and engagement.

 

Understanding Your Target Market

Having a clear target market can help you develop a branding strategy that speaks to them. For us, our target market is landlords and tenants. It’s important to drill down further, though. At Avail, we focus on part-time landlords who may only own a few properties. It’s a clear niche with a need for tech solutions that streamline the rental process.

Once you know your demographic, you can create a brand that speaks to them. A clean, simple website communicates that you will make life easier for your property owners. An appealing logo can make your brand recognizable and communicate that you will be there to support them.

 

Creating a Consistent Experience

If there’s a disconnect between what your brand promises and what is actually delivered, it can lead to dissatisfied customers. On the flip side, if your brand promises a quality service and customers receive the level of quality they expect, they’re more likely to become repeat customers.

Those repeat customers are critical to the success of your business. Multiple studies show that it is almost six times harder to bring in new customers than to retain current ones. A consistent brand experience can build customer loyalty.

 

Building a Relationship

Your brand is about more than just how your PropTech company looks. It’s about how you relate to your customers. Taglines and logos set the tone, but ultimately, it’s about how you engage with your customer and build on that first impression.

Fast-food chain Wendy’s Twitter feed is a powerful example of building on a brand. They know who they are and have a clear voice. They promote their brand’s value to customers, engage them through retweets, and consistently respond to complaints.

As you build and promote your brand, it’s important to keep a close eye on customer satisfaction and engagement. Customer satisfaction surveys can show you how their experience aligns with their expectations. Being present and active on your support channels and social media gives your brand exposure and gives you the chance to interact with your customers, engaging them, and increasing their sense of loyalty.

Your brand promises a relationship, and that relationship is critical to your success.

 

3. Branding Increases Referrals

A PropTech company’s branding sets customer expectations. When those expectations are met or exceeded, customers are going to be loyal to your brand. With the right branding, your customers may go beyond just being loyal. They may be proud customers who share their experience with others, which leads to referrals and more business.

Referrals should be an essential part of your marketing plan. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is by providing your customers with valuable information and making that information shareable. A PropTech company might post educational articles to their blog and promote their posts via social media. Customers can easily click and share those posts with other potential customers, increasing your brand recognition and bringing in new customers.

You can also implement a more formal referral program that aligns with your brand. You could offer a discount on your services for referrals, or use your email list to encourage customers to refer their friends.

As you develop your branding strategies, you should keep referrals in mind.

  • Your logo should be recognizable

  • Your content should be engaging and in-line with your brand messaging

  • Measure the level of customer engagement with your content, emails, and other marketing assets

  • Make adjustments to your marketing assets and referral program so they’re more engaging and shareable

 

Tell a Story

Ultimately, your brand should tell a story. For example, Avail was founded because, as rental property owners ourselves, we didn’t have the technology available to us that we needed to streamline our rental process. We decided to create the technology and make it available to other property owners.

In telling this story, we’re showing that we understand the problem, and we’re providing a solution that we know works because it’s worked for us and thousands of other landlords like us.

 

Authenticity Matters

Customers are also drawn to an authentic voice. Wendy’s twitter feed is appealing because it feels like there is a real person behind it. As you develop posts and interact with your customers, your authenticity should come through. People are going to be more comfortable referring their friends to brands that care about their customers.

It’s hard to understate how important your authenticity and branding is to getting referrals. A study by Ambassado shows that 82 percent of American consumers get recommendations from family and friends before they make a purchase, and 67 percent say they’re more likely to purchase something a friend or family member shared on social media.

 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to PropTech, your branding makes a promise to your customers. It’s up to you to live up to that promise. With branding, you can create a consistent message and voice that’s carried out by everyone in your company. This consistent, high-quality experience will create loyal customers who speak highly of your brand.

 

WHAT IS AVAIL

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Until now, landlords with less than 10 units haven’t had access to online tools designed specifically for them. Avail is an intuitive app that helps you advertise vacant units, request rental applications and credit reports, sign an online rental agreement, and collect rent — all online. Today, 80,000 landlords use Avail because it’s the only end-to-end platform that helps them scale from beginner to professional with tools, support, and education.

MetaProp’s Next Chapter: MetaProp Ventures II

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Since inception, MetaProp has been dedicated to one thing: connecting talented PropTech founders with the knowledge, network and resources that they need to grow their businesses and meaningfully impact the real estate industry.

Four years ago, my partners, Aaron, Zach and Clelia---themselves investors, entrepreneurs and practitioners at the intersection of real estate and technology--saw the need for a firm dedicated to bridging the gap between emerging PropTech startups, their real estate customer base, and the broader venture capital community. Since then, MetaProp has continued to drive the PropTech market forward, evolving and iterating around that central mission in what has become a rapidly changing market.

Last week, we had the pleasure of sharing the next milestone in MetaProp’s evolution with the announcement of our second venture capital fund, MetaProp Ventures II.

There is perhaps no better representation of just how far the real estate industry’s interest in innovation has come in a short time than the truly fabulous group of blue chip firms from across the real estate industry who are joining us for this journey. Fund II’s LP base represent the largest consortium of early adopter and enthusiast investors in the real estate industry, including asset managers, top tier private equity firms, all of the largest global brokerages, international and U.S. owner/developers, world class construction and engineering firms, maintenance services firms, and more. Among the much longer list of notable Fund II LPs are RXR, PGIM Real Estate, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE, JLL Spark, Mitsui Fudosan’s 31VENTURES, and Altus Group. More than marking an affirmation of MetaProp's mission to identify and support the next generation of elite PropTech startups, their partnership will be an industry best asset in helping us fulfill it.

True to MetaProp’s DNA, Fund II is purpose built for the needs of today’s early-stage PropTech market. Below is a brief overview of what you can expect from our investment approach as we continue to deploy Fund II.

  • Early-stage focus: With our second fund, MetaProp continues and expands on our firm’s successful history by focusing exclusively on early stage (generally pre-seed through Series A) PropTech startups. Our unique position in the market enables us to identify emerging PropTech opportunities and invest with conviction early in a company's maturity.

  • Full PropTech investment scope: We invest in next generation innovations using software, hardware and technology enabled services to improve and/or rethink every aspect of the global real estate market. This includes companies that impact every asset type within real estate and every function or task that a real estate professional performs during the lifecycle of a real estate asset--from dirt to disposition.

  • Access to customers: All told, Fund II’s LP base offers PropTech startups a pilot- and test-ready “sandbox” that spans more than 15-billion-square-feet across every asset type and global market. Combined with our additional reach through the RE200 Mentor Network, and MetaProp’s advisory, events and media platform, MetaProp provides unparalleled industry access and exposure for our early stage PropTech portfolio companies.

  • Access to capital: Our team has closed more than 90 PropTech investments with a broad coalition of strategic and venture investors from around the world. Our peers in the investment community know us as a partner who can help with market de-risking pre-investment, and early distribution, product refinement, and top real estate talent post-investment. It’s a value prop that has resonated strongly with founders and investors to date and one that we are proud to carry forward into Fund II.

While we are sharing the Fund II announcement today, we have already made the first 10 Fund II portfolio investments. Early Fund II portfolio names include: Workframe, WhyHotel, Irene, Locate.ai, Jones, Travtus, Doorport, Hoozip and OnSiteIQ. Reflective of our investment scope, these investments represent a broad cross-section of the PropTech market--from frontier areas like AI-powered property management or retail site selection, to the improvement of friction-filled real estate processes like office construction management, to new models to better utilize and monetize space. We expect to add roughly 25 additional names to the Fund II portfolio and are inspired but the diversity, sophistication and ambition that we see amongst the next generation of PropTech startups.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Fund II’s investors who have placed their trust in us, along with you and the entire MetaProp community for your continued support. Since the outset, MetaProp has been dedicated to bringing together the strongest community possible to help the next generation of PropTech startups grow. We are excited to carry that mission forward with Fund II.

MetaProp, PropTech and Me

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Hello, MetaProp Community!

As you may know, a couple weeks ago I joined MetaProp as an Entrepreneur In Residence (EIR).  I’ve been involved in real estate and technology for years and, while I will spare you a full recitation of my biography in this post, I’ve had an interesting run touching many areas at the intersection of real estate and technology.  I’ve started tech companies.  I’ve started real estate companies.  I’ve led the development of physical projects around the world, overseen deployment of billions of dollars in assets and companies, managed thousands of employees, and built lasting brands. And I’ve had the rare (and I think unique!) privilege of leading innovation strategy at not one, but two, market-leading publicly traded global real estate companies.  

In all of those positions, I have had a passion for helping build companies, especially young companies – whether they are my own creations, companies with which I’ve invested or partnered, or the countless companies to whom I’ve provided counsel, guidance, and occasional tough love over the years.  Ask around, and you’ll find that at one point or another, usually in their early days, I worked with and advised a great many of the companies that are leading the current wave of real estate tech.  So, with the next waves of innovation forming, I can’t imagine a better place than MetaProp to apply my energies right now.

Entrepreneur In Residence is a pretty amorphous term, giving me and my partners at MetaProp wide latitude in choosing where to direct my efforts.  To clear up some common misconceptions, let me tell you a couple things it’s not.  It’s not a full-time job, or even technically a job at all – I won’t be offended if you think of it as Gainfully Unemployed.  It doesn’t mean I’m moving back to NYC full time, at least not yet, but I will be traveling from my home in Dallas more often.  And it doesn’t mean that I will necessarily launch a new company out of this engagement – but don’t count it out either.

What my EIR position IS, however, is a structured relationship with a MetaProp team and ecosystem that is at the leading edge of the next wave of PropTech, that has a sterling network of industry and financial partners, and an incredible pipeline into and perspective on early stage companies.  In addition to their position at the wide end of the funnel of companies, I chose to work with MetaProp because we share common core values: listen to and be respectful of one another; understand that good ideas can come from anywhere; value, respect and nurture relationships with strategic partners and investors; put founders first, and do everything we can to help young companies define their vision, improve their execution, and begin to scale their business.  All of those things are core to the MetaProp team and culture and resonate deeply with me.  It’s simple really - just do the right things, with the right people, the right way.  Easy peasy!

During my time as EIR, I will be working across each of the three primary arms of MetaProp.  In the venture capital arm, I will assist the capable team in sourcing, evaluating and underwriting new deals, building investor syndicates and strategic relationships, and helping portfolio firms grow.  In the accelerator programs I will be helping young companies hone their business models and pitches, and strategize about how to go to market.   And I will be assisting the advisory and events team with strategy, promoting the MetaProp brand, and contributing content to events and thought leadership pieces.

I will also be using my time at MetaProp to develop some ideas of my own, try to listen and learn as much as possible, and continue to advise and support the portfolio of companies and projects with whom I’m already working.  I have a number of fascinating projects in-flight and as much as I’m supporting the MetaProp platform, that platform is supporting my endeavors.  It’s a win-win-win, for me, MetaProp, and our collective ecosystem of companies and partners.

I believe that we are at an inflection point in the adoption of real estate and tech.  In all my years in the business I’ve never seen so much capital flowing to so many great ideas, or so many major industry participants so focused not only on innovation, but also on driving change throughout their businesses.  In addition, I’m fascinated by the many disruptive technological and sociological factors that are changing the very fundamentals of how people utilize, value, operate and trade real estate.  One thing I’ve been thinking, writing and speaking about for years is the emergence of ‘radical mobility’ and declining structural costs of moving data, people, and stuff within and between urban environments. These forces are, in my mind, a fundamentally disruptive convergence – and one which will be both enabled and better understood by the incredible amounts of data and the new analytical tools that are coming to market.  It is an incredible tipping point in the history of our business, and I’m tremendously excited to be with MetaProp in the eye of the storm.

It also means that, for the foreseeable future, you unfortunate souls are going to be treated to semi-regular ramblings from me on this forum.  I expect to cover a number of topics here, including reflections on my diverse experiences building and helping growing companies, what the startup ecosystem looks like from the corporate perspective, occasional crazy anecdotes from some of my wild years in the business, attempts to share hard-earned lessons from my successes and failures, my observations on the present state of play and the various companies with which I’m working and, when the spirit strikes, my wild and (hopefully) semi-accurate prognostications about the future.  

More than anything, dear readers, I hope these posts will be a starting point to provoke a conversation with all of you.  In the words of David Bowie “Knowledge speaks, but Wisdom listens.” I look forward to doing a little bit of speaking, and a whole lot of listening.

It’s gonna be fun!

-=E

Elie Finegold  EIR  Email

Elie Finegold
EIR
Email

EMEA PropTech Startups Accelerate North American Expansion

We are proud to announce the first cohort of the MetaProp Bridge at Columbia University. Our first ever cross-border program, the MetaProp Bridge, connects leading early-stage PropTech companies in EMEA to customers and capital in North America.

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This was one of our most competitive application processes ever with over 100 applications and fewer than five spots. Our first open application process exclusively for EMEA companies, we learned a great deal about the EMEA market. As we expected, there are many great companies with very well developed technologies. At the same time, funding EMEA companies has different challenges from funding in North America because EMEA companies typically have much stronger boards and less autonomous executives. Furthermore, there is much less funding at the institutional seed stage.

Ultimately, we selected four EMEA PropTech companies.

The 2018 MetaProp Bridge at Columbia University cohort:
 

AIRLITE

Paint that transforms an ordinary wall into a
natural air purifier.

UK, Switzerland and Italy

 

FRONTDOOR

Business intelligence for real estate agents

France

 

720.io

Cloud based analytics service that turns high quality environmental data into healthier facilities with happier tenants.

Finland

 

YOURWELCOME

Technology hub for short stay rental owners

UK

 

The companies were selected based on our analysis of their viability in the North American market. We looked at several factors including existing traction in EMEA: the founding team; the technology and tech team behind the product; the size of the problem, and the competition in the North American market.

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Alain Kapatashungu,


CEO of Frontdoor

Alain Kapatashungu, CEO of Frontdoor, explained that he joined the Bridge program because “we cannot approach the American market as we approached the European market.” The MetaProp Bridge is designed to support EMEA companies as they navigate the different real estate and venture capital landscape in the US.

 
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Henry Bennett,


CEO of YourWelcome

Henry Bennett, CEO of YourWelcome explained that he joined the Bridge because, “YourWelcome is currently headquartered in the UK, but has more than 600 US companies as customers and 70 percent of growth is also in the US. YourWelcome will be opening a US sales office in Q3 and the program offers great access to a network of potential clients and investors.”

We are already halfway through the London portion of the program. So far, we have matched the companies with mentors, invited several speakers to the program and are planning the North American go-to-market strategy. At the beginning of June, we will travel to NYC for intensive customer meetings and pitch preparation. The program culminates in July with an intensive five-city roadshow across North America.

Since landing in London, we have been lucky to have the support of the London tech and property community. Concrete VC, DLA Piper, KPMG, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, Amro Real Estate Partners and many more have been invaluable friends as we set up shop in London. MetaProp is based out of one of our sponsor’s beautiful coworking spaces, Fora, in Clerkenwell.

 

Based in EMEA and want to get involved? 

Name *
Name
 
Leila Collins Senior Associate

Leila Collins
Senior Associate

4 Perspectives on Office Tech

Blog written by    Philip Russo   , Founding Partner, MetaProp Advisors

Blog written by Philip Russo, Founding Partner, MetaProp Advisors

How do architects, PropTech energy and amenity startups and workplace brokerage experts view the interface of office space and technology? Last week I moderated the Reinventing the Modern Office panel at ConnectNY, held at Brookfield Place in Manhattan, and I got some perspective into that question.

Unsurprisingly, each panelist from these real estate disciplines had unique experiences in creating office space for clients, but all shared some commonalities, as well. Chief among those common themes is working with landlords and tenants who have vastly varying degrees of PropTech knowledge.

In broad strokes, up until about a year ago, all of us on the panel had found the residential sector running ahead of commercial in the tech learning curve. However, commercial has clearly narrowed the PropTech adoption gap, and in more and more cases, is equalling or surpassing residential use. Interestingly, size doesn’t matter in successful PropTech adoption, as the largest real estate companies may be throwing significant amounts of money toward startups, but don’t necessarily have more success than small, more nimble, competitors.

From left to right: Phil Russo, Partner at MetaProp, Francesca Loftus, CEO & Co-Founder at hOM, Rachel Robinson, LEED AP, Senior Associate, Design Director at Ted Moudis Associates, Lee Hoffman, Co-Founder at Heat Watch and Tamar Moy, Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank.

From left to right: Phil Russo, Partner at MetaProp, Francesca Loftus, CEO & Co-Founder at hOM, Rachel Robinson, LEED AP, Senior Associate, Design Director at Ted Moudis Associates, Lee Hoffman, Co-Founder at Heat Watch and Tamar Moy, Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank.

Here are the panelists’ takeaways:

Francesca Loftus, CEO & Co-Founder, hOM
“Our panel connected four relatively disparate corners of the modern office industry -- consultancy, energy, design and tenant experience -- yet found so much overlap in client relations and vision of technology. We're clearly all very focused on the power of data at the moment.”

 

Rachel Robinson, LEED AP, Senior Associate, Design Director, Ted Moudis Associates
“Technology has enhanced the designer’s vision to see design in a 3-dimensional manner, which allows for a more creative design and to physically build spaces in a more organic direction.“

 

Lee Hoffman, Co-Founder, Heat Watch
"Many of our biggest and smartest customers -- like Related, Lefrak, Lemle & Wolff --  are realizing that saving money, reducing emissions, and providing more comfortable spaces for their tenants is an increasingly critical competitive advantage. Using technology to run boilers and heating systems efficiently (and reduce fuel usage by 25 percent) is starting to become a baseline requirement for any smart owner/manager in the city."

 

Tamar Moy, Senior Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank
“Digital technology is crafting new expectations for how we experience our surroundings, and the built workplace must address evolving expectations to influence experience. Traditional workplace strategies that only consider the space are ineffective. We must consider the workplace ecosystem with all of its experiential factors.”

 

As AI, AR, VR and other tech tools for conception, design and execution of new and revived office space continues to develop, the already hard to keep up with future of the modern office will accelerate even faster. Similarly, as landlords and tenants struggle to find the right mix of virtual officing, hoteling, flex-space, quiet rooms, common areas and the other options desired to varying degrees by the young and talented employees they seek to recruit and retain, their decision-making will become increasingly complex, demanding the best tech-infused insights of all parties involved in creating the workspaces that work best.

How the various real estate disciplines represented by our panel will deal with integrating the technology currently available, and that which bubbles up on a continual basis, into their work, along with how those groups interact with each other on tech platforms, will be fascinating to watch going forward.

Philip Russo  Founding Partner, MetaProp Advisors

Philip Russo
Founding Partner, MetaProp Advisors

MIPIM 2018: PropTech Takeaways

Photo courtesy of Propmodo

Photo courtesy of Propmodo

MIPIM was, as always, a week of great networking and learning. PropTech is increasingly prominent, but has not yet permeated all industry conversations. Expect that to change in the coming 2-3 years as we see technology become nearly as critical as location to our industry discussions.


Click to read a great PropTech summary of the week from Propmodo and the insightful Twitter insights from the always forward-thinking Dan Hughes.  

In the meantime, we’re pleased to share some of our favorite PropTech highlights:

  • Best startup: Sweden’s Disruptive Technologies taking first place in the Global Startup Competition. Presentation here.

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  • Best media moment: EG’s announcement of their new PropTech magazine before a thoughtful international PropTech panel

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  • Best presentation: CAA’s Leonard Brody talk during the first PropTech Lab about innovation and how will continue to impact the real estate business

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  • Best hair: Magnus Svantegards

  • Most fun party: Lennar International and MetaProp NYC’s annual

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We’re all looking forward to MIPIM PropTech Europe in Paris this June.  In the meantime, stay tuned for some major announcements about NYC Real Estate Tech Week 2018 and MIPIM PropTech New York!

Aaron Block  Co-Founder & Managing Director  Email

Aaron Block
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Email

Strongest Class Yet for Startup Competition Finals at MIPIM 2018

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For the third consecutive year, MetaProp is proud to be a global partner for MIPIM’s Startup Competition, unveiling the most innovative PropTech startups on the market. Each startup thrives in tackling some of the largest urban challenges faced throughout the world.

MetaProp has helped lead a fierce semi-final round of pitches and competition which took place in a number of cities around the world including New York City, London, and Hong Kong. The MIPIM Startup Competition Finals, one of the can’t miss events in Cannes, will take place on March 14th starting at 4pm in the Grand Auditorium.

With the upcoming group of finalists being the strongest ever, I’m honored to serve as the Master of Ceremony. I will be accompanied by a superstar jury committee, all of whom are real estate leaders and trailblazers including James Dearsley, Dan Hughes, Sandy Jacolow and Joern Stobbe.

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This year’s top 9 finalists have already survived a round of intense competition and are demonstrating some of the highest potential within the PropTech startup world. Again, this will be an unforgettable and monumental event taking place in Cannes on March 14th from 4:00 - 7:00pm. Following the event will be a Yacht Party co-hosted by MetaProp and Lennar. Additional details can be found here.

Details on the Finalists include:

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acasa
Makes setting up a new home a one-click affair, with all of your required services automatically signed up to and trackable.

Disruptive Technologies
Radically accessible and complete solution for sensing the physical world.

Grid Edge
Changing the way that people use energy by putting intelligent control into the hands of commercial energy consumers.

Physe
The first and only company to provide completely transparent windows, which generate data by sensing the environment and convert sunlight into electricity, simultaneously.

PlanRadar
Changing the construction sector sustainably through optimizing workflow and reducing costs up to 70% through new server optimizing tools.

RealAtom
The first online marketplace for commercial real estate debt financing that connects borrowers with a network of lenders who want solid returns.

SnapFlat
An application where you can find your flat (apartment) for rent with an agent without fees as well as get paid 15% of the rent when you move out.

WeMaintain
Connecting the service technician and the customer on a simple interface integrating innovative features.

Workwell
Ensures quality care that is everywhere and helps prevent workplace injury prevention with the industry’s most respected therapists across the country.

 

Looking forward to unveiling the winner on March 14th!

Aaron Block  Co-Founder & Managing Director  Email

Aaron Block
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Email

What We Learned From the Tel Aviv Roadshow

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The third roadshow stop for the MetaProp Bridge @ Columbia University took our partners to sunny Tel Aviv, Israel.  It was particularly exciting to visit during the widely celebrated Purim holiday.  Amazing costumes everywhere!

We’ve had our eyes on the Israeli PropTech startup market for a couple of years now and are very impressed with its recent development.  During our short visit, we met almost a dozen real estate tech companies and many industry enthusiasts, mentors and investors.

We thought our readers might appreciate some quick observations from the road show trip:

  • Cybersecurity, computer vision, robotics, and, quite frequently, automotive were the most commonly mentioned local industry clusters generating buzz.  For more information on what’s happening on the ground, we recommend checking out Forbes’ “The Tel Aviv Tech Startups To Watch In 2018.”

  • While “Startup Nation” has long been a hotbed of technology and innovation, VCs, corporate R&D, innovation and venture arms are all further increasing their presence in Israel - from Haifa, to Herzliya, to Tel Aviv, to Beersheba.  We frequently heard names like Intel, Microsoft, HP, Volkswagen, etc.--along with many other corporate names that one might not traditionally associate with technology (e.g. insurance, infrastructure and CPG companies)--cited as players increasing their local activities. Tech is on everyone’s mind.

  • Startups naturally remain very interested in growing outside of Israel.  The most common expansion locations we heard were North America, China and Western Europe. Read Forbes’ “Israeli Entrepreneurs Are Shaking Up The American Real Estate Market.

  • We saw tremendous interest in the PropTech space - especially Construction Tech (Astralink, Siteaware, Beyon3D).  This makes sense as the country is experiencing an enormous real estate boom.  There are more cranes flying in Tel Aviv than Aaron has seen since his time in Moscow in 2006.

Special thanks to our friends who supported and hosted during the trip - especially the entire executive team at market leading PropTech firm BMBY!

 
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Aaron Block  Co-Founder & Managing Director  Email

Aaron Block
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Email

Zak Schwarzman  Partner  Email

Zak Schwarzman
Partner
Email

Location matters: NYC is the best place to raise money

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New York City is a great place for PropTech startups to grow. We believe, in fact, that it is the best place. We’ve designed an entire accelerator program around that hypothesis. Our Bridge program is designed to bring companies from Europe, the Middle East and Africa to NYC to raise money and grow their revenue.

Although there is more venture investing than ever before, it is still hard to raise the money needed. The ability to raise additional funding rounds is often what can prevent even great companies from progressing. There are many things that make NYC a good place for ambitious and young startups, one of the most notable is the volume of venture capital activity. It is easier to raise money in NYC than anywhere else in the world. 

Fred Wilson, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures, touched on this the other day in a post on startup funding by geography. (Fred Wilson has a daily email blast that is fantastic, if you don’t already get his emails, you should sign up here.) He explains that raising gets harder with each round, “Getting VC/angel funding is hard, but even if you do secure it once (1st round), the probability that you will secure it again is only 50-70%, and the probability that you will secure it five more times is between 0-5%.”  

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So what can increase a company's chances of follow-on funding? It seems like location is a determinant of fundraising success. Fred Wilson referenced a great report from CB Insights that surveyed 8 tech hubs: Silicon Valley, Boston, NY, LA, China, Germany, India and the United Kingdom. US-based companies were far more likely to raise a second round, according to the report. Furthermore, the report found that within the US, NYC and Boston were the best cities to raise a second round. Even more surprising, NYC companies are the most likely to exit with a stunning overall exit rate of 35% -- even higher than in Silicon Valley.

Although Silicon Valley may produce more unicorns than any other region, NYC is the best place to raise money.

Leila Collins  Senior Associate  Email

Leila Collins
Senior Associate
Email

MetaProp Accelerator Graduation: Exit Interview with Ardalan Khosrowpour, CEO & Co-Founder of OnSiteIQ

Last Thursday, we graduated seven of the best PropTech companies from the MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University. This year we added an Open House before our New York City Demo Day as well as an Investor Lunch before our West Coast Demo Day. In total, over 1000 people registered for the graduation events.

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Leila Collins, Senior Associate at MetaProp interviewed Ardalan Khosrowpour, CEO and Co-Founder of OnSiteIQ to learn more about his experience of the program.

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Ardalan, why did you decide to apply to the MetaProp accelerator?

I was constantly looking for advisors and mentors who could help me navigate through the construction and real estate industry. For example, I needed to understand the construction insurance underwriting process to get my business to the next step. Since MetaProp is the main hub for PropTech, I was hopeful that I could develop a network of advisors, customers and investors through the program.

 

Specifically, what goals did you have for the program?

I wanted to grow the number of pilots, sell more and attract strategic capital.

 

So, in reality, what did you get out of it?

By the end of the program, we had full sales infrastructure in place, had increased our outbounds by 9x and increased our sales by 6x.

As a direct result of the program, OnSiteIQ got multiple contracts, sales and investment. Perhaps most importantly, Joe Charczenko was assigned as my mentor and became the best possible advisor. "Joe got us in front of literally every insurance carrier. Without him, we could not have established insurance partnerships." 

 

Tell us a little about the graduation, what happened and what came out of it?

The Demo Days and particularly the Open House exceeded my expectation. At each we were approached by several highly qualified potential customers and investors. For example, after presenting at Demo Day in NYC we were approached by several real estate VCs who were uniquely positioned to invest and advise us.


Author

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Leila Collins
Senior Associate
Email

Third Annual MetaProp New York City Demo Day Grows with 2017-18 Accelerator Startups

Last week, MetaProp NYC and our partners -- NYCEDC, REBNY, RICS,  DLA Piper, EisnerAmper, Millennium Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, Warburg Realty and Zillow -- proudly presented the third annual MetaProp Accelerator @ Columbia University New York City Demo Day. The full-day event was bigger and better than ever. Congratulations to the 2017/2018 class graduates!

In addition to the media and venture community, our startups mingled with top executives from Blackstone, which graciously hosted NYC Demo Day, as well as with Ackman Ziff, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Kimco, KPMG, Millennium Partners, Partnership for NYC, REBNY, Related, Savills Studley, Toll Brothers, Warburg Realty and many more.

The day kicked off with a first-of-its kind Open House for the general public and broader PropTech community. MetaProp portfolio company Spacious hosted the event in their gorgeous HQ on 53rd Street.  Guests were treated to coffee, live demos and casual networking.

Video: 2018 MetaProp Open House

In the evening, our startups revealed their progress to the world during the third annual NYC Demo Day.   Some pre-presentation highlights:

  • MetaProp partner Clelia Peters welcomed international guests;
  • Blackstone’s Tyler Henritze gave an overview of the firm’s PropTech innovation strategy;
  • MetaProp partner Zak Schwarzman shared the latest venture capital and market trends;
  • MetaProp partner Zach Aarons shared his annual “Bold PropTech Predictions;”
  • MetaProp partner Aaron Block gave an update on MetaProp’s three business lines:
  • Venture Capital Investments, Advisory Services and Startup Acceleration.

Video: MetaProp Demo Day at Blackstone

Of course, the majority of the NYC Demo Day was spent hearing from the graduates. Some presentation highlights from social media:

We will distribute summary videos in the coming days so make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter. In the meantime, please join our West Coast Demo Day on February 8 in San Francisco! Limited tickets are still available here.

Author

Aaron Block  Co-Founder & Managing Director  Email

Aaron Block
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Email

2017: A PropTech Year in Review

In summing up 2017, it was a big year for the global PropTech community.  Some of my favorite highlights included PropTech IPOs/exits for Redfin, Qube, Real Matters, and ForRent; high profile equity rounds for PropTech leaders like WeWork, Cadre, Compstak, Honest Buildings, Convene, Common, Compass (All NY based) and Nested, and new venture fund announcements from FifthWall, Aurum, PiLabs and Navitas.

Additionally, 2017 was also one heck of a year for MetaProp NYC and our portfolio companies. Here are some of my favorite highlights:

 

  • Team highlights

    • Added key players, including Marketing Director Deedee Chong, Associate Director of Operations and Events Evan Petitt in addition to a number of internal promotions.  
    • Special mention to our former fellows and interns securing big jobs at Goldman Sachs, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi, Moelis & Co. and other prestigious shops.
       

I’m so impressed with the overall PropTech community. However, I’m beyond proud MetaProp’s partners, directors, associates, fellows/interns, investors, mentors and supporters for making so much magic in 2017.  

Look out 2018!!!

  

Author

Aaron Block  Co-Founder & Managing Director  Email

Aaron Block
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Email

MetaProp’s Global Expansion

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Today, I’m pleased to share that MetaProp is going global.  We’re starting with EMEA  -> North America early next year and will expand via Asia -> North America in 2019. See the exciting specifics below.

 

Some Background

Over the past 2.5 years, our investment and innovation activities (including the MIPIM Startup Competition) have spanned the globe. MetaProp partners have explored PropTech scenes in much of North America and quite a bit of Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. During this time, we’ve witnessed demand for international expansion from some exciting real estate technologies. Most obviously, established goliaths like WeWork and MRI are moving into key international markets from their US homes. Additionally, emerging category killers like VTS, CompStak and WiredScore are expanding their influence into Western Europe. However, most interestingly, we’ve seen startups in Europe tackling new markets outside their home countries. Examples include our own portco WeSmartPark, plus dozens of other high-potential, tech-focused startups including Appear Here, Medici Living, and Industrious.

 

The Problem

We all know that crossing borders is difficult; our friends at OpenView Labs have a lot to say about this subject.  International growth is restrained by time zones, legal peculiarities, including privacy and culture differences and localization challenges (language, currency, etc.). There are also back-to-basics commercial challenges. The usual “build” and “partner” options may be viable, but rarely can a startup “buy” its way into a new market. Emerging CEOs have to redirect an existing (frequently under-qualified) employee, or recruit a new local growth leader who can identify sales prospects, distribution partnerships, human capital pools, capital sources and media relationships.  Historically, the PropTech community has offered little help.

 

The Opportunity

In listening carefully to local innovators, we’ve learned that EMEA PropTech startups crave proven teams, programs and networks to assist with new market entry. The new MetaProp Bridge @ Columbia University was conceived to speed and facilitate cross-border PropTech into North America. Startup needs we expect to address include:

  • Acquiring tests, pilots and customers across North America,

  • Securing new US venture and strategic capital, and

  • Quickly recruiting new key employees in the US in major markets like New York and Silicon Valley.
     

Introducing the MetaProp Bridge @ Columbia University

What: The first ever cross-border PropTech accelerator. The 20-week MetaProp Bridge at Columbia University connects up to 6 select PropTech startups from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to award-winning investors, experienced mentors and diverse real estate, technology and institutional partners in North America.  Detailed benefits for participating startups include:

  • Up to $250,000 investment from MetaProp and partners as well as other corporate perks;
  • Intensive enterprise business development and consumer tech coaching from MetaProp partners;
  • Introductions to the real estate, technology and PropTech communities across North America, including broad exposure via a five-city roadshow;
  • Access to Silicon Valley and East Coast-based venture capitalists, as well as to strategic investors from the major North American gateway cities;
  • Individualized conferences with experienced, cross-border executive mentors from MetaProp’s RE200 network;
  • RE301 education sessions with topics ranging from US business protocols, real estate markets, marketing/sales/business development, business strategy and media relations;
  • Temporary workspace in New York City’s Silicon Alley;
  • A community of other international entrepreneurs facing similar business challenges.

 

Who

The MetaProp acceleration team, led by me, Zach Aarons (Millennium Partners), Clelia Peters (Warburg Realty), Phil Russo, Leila Collins and Columbia’s Josh Panknin has a proven track record. Additionally, MetaProp is  now investing out of our second venture fund, backed by world-renowned LPs, including a who’s who of the US and global real estate industry. Moreover, we have a support network of startups, mentors and partners (most notably Columbia University and, of course, our global industry partner, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).  In particular, we’re supported by MetaProp’s 20+ new, cross-border experienced mentors from the UK, US, Western Europe, Israel and beyond, including top UK PropTech influencer Dan Hughes (RICS), Leon Shpilsky (Oxford Sciences), Ben Lerner (MRI/Qube), Julia Arlt (PwC), Lisa Shaforostova (CBRE), Mark Zeevi (BMBY), venture czar Taylor Wescoatt (Concrete, SeedCamp), UK accelerator pioneer Juliette Morgan (British Land) and many more.

 

Where & When

The MetaProp Bridge @ Columbia University begins in early March 2018 and ends in mid-July. The first 6 weeks will be spent in London preparing each startup for serious international expansion. The remaining 14 weeks of intensive programming will be based in NYC’s Silicon Alley (Manhattan), which acts as a launching pad for developing business in additional North American markets including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto. Startups then have an option to extend the NYC portion of the program by an additional 12 weeks.  Important 2017-2018 dates include:

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Want more?

Interested startups, partners and investors can meet key MetaProp partners and learn more about the MetaProp Bridge @ Columbia University during road shows in London (January 15 - 17), and in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv (mid-February).  In the meantime, please contact us below:


For Startups

 

For Corporate Partners & Sponsors

 

For Investors

Finally, watch out for the MetaProp Bridge @ Columbia University’s expansion into Asia in early 2019!

Author

Aaron Block  Co-Founder & Managing Director  Email

Aaron Block
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Email