A customer relationship and deal management software for commercial real estate, Apto was built by and for
brokers and provides a web-based solution for managing customer relationships, properties, deals, back-office
and listings. With the ubiquitous Salesforce.com platform serving as its foundation, Apto allows users to manage the lifecycle of a deal on the same interface. Features include project management, automated tasks,
appointment setting, renewal management, collaboration, back-office, and forecasting.
Founder Tanner McGraw a seasoned CRE executive with a decade of brokerage experience, became frustrated with the lack of technology available in his industry and decided to do something about it. As a result,
he created his own product during the Great Recession, earned VC funding and Apto was born in 2012.
Since its launch, the Apto team has added new features such as an interactive deals board, mapping
functionality, intelligent call lists, plus geo-targeted news. In a June 2018 survey, Apto customers reported
that using Apto saves them an average of 6 hours a week and they’ve estimated a 610% return on investment for their Apto purchase. The company’s customers include multinational brokerages such as JLL,
Helmed today by CEO Angela Tucci, the Denver-based company just came off of another funding round that generated a total
of $20.4 million. Named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US by Inc. magazine, Apto has indeed progressed well
beyond its humble beginnings as a CRM, but remains razor-focused on its original mission of building tools brokers love.
If the number of CRE startups has risen in recent years, the amount of capital backing them has skyrocketed. According to RE Tech, global investment in proptech
startups tripled between 2016 and 2017 to $12.6 billion. And MetaProp’s Midyear
2018 Global Prop Tech Confidence Index, found that 96% of investors are planning
to make either the same number or more proptech investments in the next 12
months compared to the preceding year, up from 76% in 2017.
Fortunately for proptech, investors are bullish on the segment and its opportunities. Everyone from traditional investors to real estate powerhouses such as RXR,
PGIM Real Estate, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield,
JLL and Altus Group, have targeted the group of
late. But the first cohort of investors remains its
most dominant. Here’s a look at some of the most
active venture capital firms in CRE tech.
Casey Berman left a role as president of
operations for his family-owned and operated
real estate firm, Berman Enterprises, to launch
Camber Creek in 2009. Joining him in the venture were seasoned investment executive Jeffrey
Berman and Jake Fingert, a former Obama White
House senior policy advisor.
The three managing directors helped Camber
make a name for itself investing in the leading
edge of CRE tech. For instance, in 2014 it was the
first institutional investor in Latch, the creator of a leading smart access system. It
was also an early investor in GoCanvas, which was purchased late last year by
private equity firm K1 Investment Management in a $100-million-plus deal.
Last year, Camber participated in an $8-million Series A funding round for
construction finance platform Rabbet, and led a Series A round for WhyHotel, an
operator of pop-up hotels in newly-built luxury apartment buildings. It also backed
two companies that already raised additional funding rounds: Measurabl, a software platform for sustainability data management, benchmarking and reporting,
and Bowery, the world’s first technology-enabled appraisal firm.
In addition to the monetary benefits the firm brings to its portfolio companies,
Camber offers access to a network of later-stage investors, industry professionals
and Camber investors, which collectively own, operate and manage over 150 million square feet of real estate in the US.
Los Angeles-based Fifth Wall Ventures, founded by Brendan Wallace and Brad
Greiwe, has its eye firmly fixed on technology solutions for what it terms the “Built
World”—that is, a world in which we live, work, sleep, consume, move, create,
connect and play. Its model and track record are well known, having invested in
some of the top industry’s top CRE tech ventures. Its outreach is also phenomenal:
its real estate partners conduct $375 billion in annual transactions, operate in 85
countries, own or manage 13,000 properties, have developed more than 1. 8 billion
square feet and have a collective $640 billion worth of assets under management.
Launched in 2015 to bridge the gap between traditional CRE and emerging real
estate technology, MetaProp—along with partners such as Columbia University,
REBNY and the NYC Economic Development Corp.—has become one of the big-
gest players in the global proptech community. The New York City-based venture
capital and advisory firm was founded by managing director Aaron Block; partner
Zach Aarons, who is also a project manager with Millennium Partners; and Clelia
Peters, who is president of Warburg Realty and
serves as an advisor to MetaProp.
Fresh of the closing of its second venture
capital fund (which generated some $40 million),
MetaProp has invested in 90-plus startups since
2015, while managing capital for owners and
managers of 15 billion square feet of global real
estate. Most recently, it teamed up with Enterprise
Community Partners to invest $5 million startups
that work to address the housing affordability
crisis, and opened Prop Tech Place, a first-of-its-kind innovation hub, in Manhattan.
The firm’s partnership with Columbia
University on a continuum of accelerator programs has become renowned for its success. In
the four years since inception, the program has accumulated more than 100 mentors and 10 corporate partners and supported 33 early stage startups that have
raised more than $30 million. MetaProp is the creator and producer of NYC Real
Estate Tech Week, sometimes called the “Davos of Prop Tech.” Presented in 2018
by Blackstone and the NYC EDC, the event is the North America stop of the MIPIM
Prop Tech Summit series. It is also behind many of the sector’s research projects,
including the biannual Global Prop Tech Confidence Index.
Finally, Thrive Capital must be acknowledged both for its heft and industry
creds. Founded by Jared and Joshua Kushner of New York’s Kushner real estate
family, it among the first venture capital funds to focus on real estate technology.
Now steered primarily by Joshua, Thrive Capital last year raised $1 billion under its
sixth flagship fund. One pool of capital will invest $400 million in early stage companies, while the balance has been separated to invest in later-stage companies.
THE BACKERS: THE CAPITAL BEHIND CRETECH