Future City: Smart home combo


Smart home combo

The smart-home startup SmartRent made another big-ticket purchase — its second so far this year — buying the maintenance and resident service software company SightPlan for $135 million in cash.

Orlando, Florida-based SightPlan has been around since 2013 but has struggled to scale. The company has about 6,000 properties under management, mostly multifamily buildings.

“SightPlan was at a crossroads in its evolution, deciding between raising additional equity or joining forces with a complementary provider of real estate enterprise software,” said SightPlan president Joseph Westlake.

SmartRent, which went public via a SPAC merger last summer, expects the deal to add $10 million in revenue in 2022.

“Where their pipeline is today, and where they are in portfolio conversion, we feel very good about it,” Lucas Haldeman, SmartRent’s founder and CEO, told The Real Deal.

The acquisition follows SmartRent’s purchase of rival iQuue for an undisclosed price in January. There are no planned layoffs, and SightPlan will continue to operate out of Orlando.


Knockout

Knock, a proptech that helps people buy new homes before selling their old ones, laid off nearly half its staff and scrapped its plans to go public, citing a deflated SPAC market.

Chief executive Sean Black said the pandemic and Zillow’s surprising departure from the iBuying business also moderated the company’s public market ambitions. Knock launched as a somewhat traditional iBuyer in 2015 before turning its attention into its Home Swap program.

New York-based Knock executed another private funding round instead, raising $70 million in equity and $150 in debt financing — a big step down from the $400 million to $500 million it had once hoped to raise in an IPO. Limited contributed funding to the layoffs.

“The business is doing great, but … there’s no IPO market right now,” Black said, per Bloomberg. “It does feel like money has gotten very scarce and very expensive.”

As of March 2021, Knock had raised $600 million in debt and equity capital. It hopes to be profitable by the end of the year, Black told the publication.


“We feel like we’re in the initial stages of a big disruption.”

Jenny Wong, Tishman Speyer

Elbowing in

The digital mortgage lender Tomo is expanding even as its competition, buffeted by rising interest rates, is pulling back. The Stamford, Connecticut-based startup raised $40 million in a Series A round and moved into Michigan and Ohio.

Tomo, co-founded in 2020 by ex-Zillow executives Greg Schwartz and Carey Armstrong, said it more than doubled its valuation to $640 million with the fundraise. The Series A follows a two-part $70 million seed round in late 2020.

The startup, which now operates in about a third of the US, is looking to differentiate itself in a crowded field by focusing on purchase-mortgages only, promising on-time loan closings, and cultivating an “ecommerce-like” experience for its customer , Schwartz said.

“It’s a rough neighborhood, with sharp elbows,” Schwartz said. “Ultimately, we’re focused on winning on speed, cost and experience.”

The raise brings its total equity funding to $110 million.


STAT OF THE MONTH

Proptech “investor confidence” stood at 9.3 out of 10 at the end of 2021 — an all-time high.


Backing disruption

Tishman Speyer, an investor for years in real estate technology, raised $100 million for its first proptech fund.

The Tishman Speyer Proptech Venture Fund will target early-stage companies with “proven technologies and disruptive business models,” the company said. Demand from Tishman’s own investor base prompted its launch, said Jenny Wong, who leads the firm’s proptech platform.

“Real estate is not typically thought of as being on the cutting edge of innovation,” Wong said. “But we feel like we’re in the initial stages of a big disruption. And the industry itself is accelerating its adoption of technology.”

The firm scored major commitments from the National Pension Service of Korea — the world’s third largest public pension fund — and the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario, or IMCO. Tishman expects to raise $150 million total for the fund.

Small bytes

• Singapore-based PropertyGuru, an online real estate marketplace, made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange after shareholders approved its merger with the SPAC Bridgetown 2, a blank-check company sponsored by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel.

• EarnUp, a fintech that offers payment and data solutions for the mortgage industry, raised $31 million in Series C funding.

• Looking to expand abroad, Mast, a construction-tech startup that helps owners manage large capital and infrastructure projects, raised $9.5 million in seed funding.

• Haystacks.AI, a real estate intelligence platform that incorporates alternative information like sentiment data, raised another $3 million, bringing its total seed funding to $8 million. New investors included RRE Ventures, Assurant Ventures and Preface Ventures.

• Lettey, a mobile-based residential leasing marketplace, launched its application — the first such platform to incorporate “social proof” in the search process, the company says.



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