Future City: Flat is the new up
Jun 28, 2022
Future City: Flat is the new up
HomeLight, a San Francisco-based proptech firm that facilitates contingency-free, cash transactions, bought the Denver-headquartered fintech Accept.inc — its third acquisition in as many years — making it the largest “agent-focused cash offer program” in the U.S.
HomeLight said it used stock to purchase Accept, a self-described iLender that similarly facilitates cash offers for mortgage-ready buyers, but it did not disclose an equivalent dollar value for the deal. The company, which in early 2021 was reported to be nearing an IPO, also raised $60 million more from Zeev Ventures in a funding round it billed as an extension of its $100 million Series D, also led by Zeev, last year. The $1.7 billion valuation the company disclosed with the raise was only slightly higher than the $1.6 billion figure it gave with the 2021 round — a fact HomeLight founder and CEO Drew Uher described as a win given the macroeconomic headwinds that have whipped up liquidity concerns for investors, too. “Flat is the new up in this market,” Uher said. Million to one
There are millions of ways to go about building an office tower or bridge, but only one or a few truly optimized routes. Menlo Park-based Alice Technologies, which claims to have developed the first “optioneering platform” for contractors, says it can identify ideal execution plans with AI. The startup raised $30 million in a Series B round led by Vanedge Capital, with participation from new investors including JLL Spark, Bouygues, Gaingels, GRID Capital and MetaPlanet. Clients feed Alice their blueprints, and after running them through millions of execution scenarios, it spits out a few best options — the safest, the cheapest, the fastest — factoring in variables like materials, methods and equipment. Alice says its tech, which can be used for both commercial and infrastructure builds, can save the average project 17 percent on time and 13 percent on labor and equipment expenses. “We are the only company in the world who has cracked this problem technically,” founder and CEO René Morkos said. STAT OF THE MONTH
Can everyone see? Another construction tech startup looking to streamline project planning, Oakland-based Join, raised $16 million in a Series A round led by SignalFire, bringing its total equity funding to $30 million. Join wants to facilitate more communication and transparency between owners, architects and contractors during the pre-construction phase, when risk assessments take place. Lack of data sharing during this period frequently leads to cost overruns and delays, it says. The Join dashboard is designed to give each of the various stakeholders visibility as a plan is coming together, so that costs can be factored into designs instead of being treated as an afterthought. With the infusion, Join is looking to increase its headcount by about half by next year, CEO Andrew Zukoski told TechCrunch. Metaprop, Building Ventures, Ironspring Ventures and Standard Investments also participated in the funding round. “Flat is the new up in this market .”
Drew Uher, HomeLight
The quest to perfect modular construction continues…
San Diego-based Dvele raised $15 million to build a robotic production line for its self-powered, all-electric modular homes. Founded in 2018, Dvele frames its effort to propagate “hyper-efficient” homes as part of the broader “energy transition to decentralized power generation,” per a company release. The company’s product line ranges from $215,000 mini-homes to 3,500-square-foot, four-bed properties. It plans to scale through “regenerative housing communities” across the U.S. after it perfects its automated production line in Loma Linda, California. Crescent Real Estate and Marvin, a window and door manufacturer, co-led the funding round. Small bytes
• Design supplies marketplace Material Bank bought Architizer, the largest extant database of architectural projects, for an undisclosed sum. • Dominant iBuyer Opendoor expanded into Boston, Cincinnati and Albuquerque, raising its total U.S. market count to 51. • Proptech venture firm RET Ventures tapped UDR president Jerry Davis to serve as senior advisor. • Toronto-based Altrio, a cloud-based commercial real estate deal management platform, raised CAD$8 million in Series A funding.