It’s hard to give a definitive definition to real estate tech. It’s a complex and changing industry with many components. PitchBook’s Zane Carmean says some people view realty tech as a general disruptor to the established sector of real estate. This is huge. Carmean, on an episode PitchBook’s In Visible Cap podcast, said that real estate is “probably the one investment area we all touch every moment of our lives, whether it be in our home, office or retail centers.”
In this blog post, we’re taking a closer look at real estate technology–specifically its emerging tech landscape, segments and a few of its key players.
What is realty technology?
Real estate tech startups are able to leverage technology to make it easy for investors and homeowners to buy, manage, invest, and maintain residential and commercial properties. This vertical-one of many PitchBook-recognized companies–comprised companies innovating areas such as property management.
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The real-estate tech landscape is evolving
PitchBook analysts place real estate tech startups in three broad categories. This is based on how the startup might interact with this space. Those three segments–commercial, residential and construction. We’ll look at each, along with the sub-categories that they are made up of, and show you an example.
Commercial real estate tech
Companies in this sector provide technology and services to property owners who intend to make income. The segment includes many sub-categories. Carmean however says asset utilization is one the primary buckets. “Think of WeWorks around the world, supply chain management companies that manage property management, and startups that assist landlords to track the performance of their properties and manage tenants interactions,” he says.
Companies that lease space under asset utilization, a sub-category within commercial realty technology, can use the space for multiple purposes such as residential accommodations, retail shops, or offices. Asset utilization includes co-working, coliving and home-sharing. It also includes residential rental and rentals of industrial, retail and event spaces.
New York City’s Common has a real-estate tech company that uses this asset utilization umbrella. Bradford Hargreaves launched the startup to facilitate community-driven living. Common allows people to rent furnished or shared apartments with flexible lease terms. This allows professional couples, students and professionals access to the basic amenities they desire. The startup raised $27.72m of Series D2 venture funding from undisclosed sources in February 2022.
Companies that specialize in property management software for the commercial realty sector offer software and services to help property owners and landlords manage their properties and connect with tenants. Property management covers everything from commercial and residential tenant administration to building operations analytics and automation. PitchBook also tracks security deposit alternatives as part of the Emerging Spaces feature.
Alfred was a New York-based startup, which falls under this property management umbrella. This space is PitchBook’s residential tenant management. Alfred was created in 2014 by Marcela SAPONE and Jessica Beck to provide a single-stop solution for residential management and an app-based personal helper for renters. In March 2022 the company closed $125million of later-stage VC financing under the direction of Rialto Capital.
Finance and investment
Finance and investment are also important areas of commercial realty tech. Through their various platforms, these companies provide financing and loans for commercial real property.
Oakland’s Roofstock invests in finance and investments. Gary Beasley founded this company in 2015. They operate an online property market that allows tenants to rent out their properties. Roofstock’s website provides information about your home and tenant, aswell as vetted local property management options. The marketplace also offers market insights, tools and data that can be used in order to evaluate listings. Roofstock, a venture capital fund that was raised $240m in Series E funding under the guidance of SoftBank Investor Advisers, closed a deal in March 2022.
Real estate transaction solutions
Finally, startups that offer real estate transactions solutions are also included in the asset utilization bucket. These companies are focused on developing software to support real estate professionals with their commercial real property transaction workflows. These software solutions could focus on data analytics, marketing and real-estate agent technology.
unlatch was founded in Paris and supports real-estate professionals through its software solutions that standardize and digitize the entire process. Software solutions provided by the company enable customer relationship management as well as digitizing real estate sales. Unlatch also offers real-estate sales monitoring, buyer/customer area business intelligence, and other services. Francois Marsill, founder of Unlatch in 2018, raised $5.47 million in Series A Venture funding in July 2020. The deal was managed by AXA Venture Partners.
Residential real estate tech
These startups offer technology and services for home ownership. Carmean explains that Redfin or Zillow might be the first thing people think of. “But it also involves residential side of home renovations, renovations, then the finance and then mortgage tech.” PitchBook also tracks mortgage technology as an independent industry vertical. The space is home to more than 320 businesses that have raised $862.7million in Venture Capital funding since the start of 2022.
Prospective buyers as well as investors face many challenges along the path of homeownership. Financial technology and services startups within the residential sub-sector of real estate tech aim to make at least some aspects of that process easier to navigate–specifically as it relates to mortgages and home insurance.
London’s Landbay designed a peerto-peer lending system that provides information about mortgages, and offers other investment options. In 2013 the startup was founded. The startup matches funding with a diversified portfolio that supports the growth in quality private rental accommodation. Landbay has raised $2 million of VC funding, just a little over from Dale Ventures.
Real estate transaction solutions
Companies that create software solutions to assist homebuying and selling are part the residential realty sector of realty tech. These startups use data and analytics to create marketing campaigns and provide agents with all the technologies and tools that they require.
HouseCanary from San Francisco, CA is the developer of a real property analytics platform. The platform aggregates data elements — including four decades’ worth of property data as well as a rapidly expanding proprietary data set–to accurately forecast market influences and to define values. The startup will help buyers, agents, brokers, and other professionals in real estate make informed buying and selling choices. HouseCanary was launched in 2013 and raised $65million in Series C capital in February 2020. It was led by PSP Partners. Morpheus Ventures as well as Alpha Edison.
Construction real estate tech
There are many startups in the construction real-estate tech space. These include companies that specialize in digital twins, building robots, architecture, design, and planning, as well 3D printing and project management. Carmean explains that modular construction businesses were the largest players in the space in terms o raising capital. “Think Katerra” in that group. The short and simple truth is that real estate tech companies that specialize in construction services provide the technology and support for the construction of tangible assets.
Veev founded in 2008, providing housing materials designed to reinvent how homes are built and used. The startup, which is based out of San Mateo in California, has materials that are both termite-, moisture- and fire resistant. This makes them less carbon-intensive and allows for zero waste and recycling. In March 2022 a deal between Bond Capital and Veev resulted in $400 million in SeriesD funding.