We examined smart money activity in real estate and construction tech and the most well-funded companies.
As two interrelated and under-digitized industries, real estate tech and construction tech have both seen unprecedented levels of deal and funding activity in recent years as startups apply new technologies to formerly “pen and pencil” sectors.
Last year was a record year for real estate tech with over $2.6B in funding to the category across 277 deals, while 2015 and 2016 saw consecutive highs for construction tech dollars and deals.
To provide more context around these categories, we compared the most well-funded companies across the two industries as well as the activity of “smart money” VCs in these categories. Our smart money VC list includes 24 of the top venture firms ranked according to portfolio and exit history (see below for a full list of smart money VCs).
Real estate tech vs. construction tech most well-funded companies
Real estate tech is a significantly larger and better-established category, and individual real estate tech companies have also seen overall higher funding totals.
The most well-funded real estate tech company is Beijing-based tech-enhanced brokerage unicorn Homelink, which has seen approximately $1.69B in total funding from Baidu, Tencent Holdings, and other investors.
End-to-end construction services provider and unicorn Katerra has recently become the most well-funded construction tech startup having raised over $264M in total funding. Their most recent funding round, which saw participation from Khosla Ventures, was a $130M Series C round in Q2’17 that also elevated the company to unicorn status.
|Rank||Company (Real Estate Tech)||Disclosed Funding ($M)||Rank||Company (Construction Tech)||Disclosed Funding ($M)|
*We excluded drone, offsite construction, and exited companies from our list of most well-funded construction tech companies.
We define construction tech as startups working on construction design, team collaboration, and project site-management, as well as companies using drones and big data analytics to transform the traditional mapping and surveying of construction sites.
We define real estate technology as the software used in the real estate industry, including by brokers, investors, real estate-focused lenders and mortgage providers, property owners, and managers, as well as buyers. We do not include travel rental services like Airbnb, nor do we include property owners, including companies like WeWork.
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Real estate tech vs. construction tech smart money comparison
We used CB Insights’ Business Social Graph to visualize how smart money VCs and the respective real estate tech and construction tech companies they invest in are related.
Overall, smart money VCs have invested both often and in conjunction with other smart money investors and have funded some of the major players across both real estate tech and construction tech. 21 smart money VCs participated in funding rounds towards real estate tech firms since 2012 while 15 smart money VCs have invested in construction tech companies.
Andreessen Horowitz is the lead smart money investor in each category with investments across 7 real estate tech companies and 5 construction tech startups.
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Andreessen Horowitz has invested in 7 different real estate tech companies to-date, the most well-funded of which is real estate investing platform Cadre, which was co-founded by Jared and Josh Kushner.
Among real estate tech companies, Cadre and apartment listing and search company Zumper (also an Andreessen Horowitz portfolio company) have been backed by the most smart money VCs. Cadre is backed by 4 smart money firms. Its other smart money investors include Founders Fund, General Catalyst, and Khosla Ventures.
Zumper is backed by 4 smart money investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock Partners, and New Enterprise Associates, in addition to a16z.
Other top smart money investors in real estate tech include Greylock Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, and General Catalyst, which have each invested in 5 real estate tech companies to-date.
Top smart money funding areas for real estate tech include mortgage tech, crowdfunding, and tech-enabled brokerage firms. One company in the brokerage space is online real estate broker RedFin, which had raised nearly $167M in total funding and seen funding participation from smart money VC Greylock Partners, before going public in July.
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Smart money VCs have invested across a variety of areas within construction tech from collaboration and project management software to frontier tech applications to data and analytics software. The most well-funded smart money VC-backed company in the latter space is unicorn and predictive analytics platform Uptake Technologies, which has raised $135M from smart money VC New Enterprise Associates and other investors.
Andreessen Horowitz has made 5 unique investments in construction tech firms, the most well-funded of which is drone solutions provider Airware. Incidentally, Andreessen has made no follow-on rounds in real estate tech companies but on the construction tech side, the firm has participated in multiple financing rounds towards Airware and 3D CAD platform Onshape.
With investments in 3 construction tech companies, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers takes second place for total construction tech investments after Andreessen. One of their investments is in Solidia Technologies, which has developed a sustainable cement and concrete technology.
Note: To analyze smart money trends, we looked at the activity of 24 top VC firms, selected according to portfolio valuations and investment outcomes. Some of the investors are linked to relevant research briefs. Here’s our full list of 24 smart money investors:
- Sequoia Capital
- Benchmark Capital
- Accel Partners
- Greylock Partners
- Andreessen Horowitz
- Union Square Ventures
- First Round Capital
- Bessemer Venture Partners
- Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
- New Enterprise Associates
- Founders Fund
- Lightspeed Venture Partners
- Foundry Group
- Index Ventures
- Khosla Ventures
- Social Capital
- Emergence Capital Partners
- True Ventures
- Floodgate Fund
- General Catalyst Partners
- Spark Capital
- Battery Ventures
- Redpoint Ventures