- Startup accelerator MetaProp NYC is accepting applications for its 2016 class, and seeking to partner with businesses.
- Co-founder sees 'FinTech' and FSBO services as hot tech niches.
MetaProp NYC — a New York City-based startup accelerator co-founded by an angel investor that’s backed many real estate startups — is now accepting applications for its 2016 class.
Working hand in hand
As investors increasingly bet on real estate tech, a growing number of outfits like MetaProp NYC are popping up to help startups — would-be disruptors and industry-friendly firms alike — hit the ground running. They partner with industry heavyweights keen on spotting the next big thing or getting first dibs on new business tools.
For example, Zillow and New York City-based Warburg Realty are founding “corporate partners” of MetaProp NYC.
Warburg and MetaProp NYC are so closely aligned that MetaProp NYC actually works out of the brokerage’s office. Aaron Block, co-founder and managing director of MetaProp NYC, declined to say whether Warburg Realty or Zillow own stakes in MetaProp NYC. Zach Aarons, another co-founder, did say that Zillow is not invested in MetaProp NYC’s venture fund.
The new class
MetaProp NYC will accept up to 10 startups into its latest class, its second since launching in 2015.
Each will receive a minimum investment of $50,000 from a $5 million real estate-focused venture fund managed by MetaProp NYC, with the opportunity to nab up to $200,000 more in funding, according to Monika Wysocki, general manager of MetaProp NYC.
With a focus on “driving business growth and market penetration,” the 22-week program will offer startups “curated access” to decisions-makers, pilots and “premier sources of global investment capital and media.”
In exchange for the support, every startup enrollee must hand over 6 percent of their equity to MetaProp NYC’s venture fund.
MetaProp NYC is also seeking to expand its roster of corporate sponsors. In exchange for a fee and taking on a leading mentorship role, corporate partners get an inside look at some of the latest products and services, some of which they could choose to test.
Aarons said the cost of being a corporate partner “largely depends on the level of involvement” and is negotiated separately with each partner.
Existing partners other than Zillow and Warburg include the Real Estate Board of New York, New York City Economic Development Corporation and Millennium Partners.
The first entrant
MetaProp NYC was co-founded by Aarons, an angel investor who has poured cash into a wide array of real estate-oriented startups, including Airbnb, Canary, Nestio, RealtyShares, Pillow, KeyMe and Flip.
Flip, which hosts a marketplace where renters can buy and sell rental leases, is the only startup that MetaProp NYC has accepted into its 2016 accelerator class so far.
“Flip is exactly the kind of company we want to work with: strong team, great technology and a massive addressable market,” Wysocki said in a statement.
Are you eligible?
MetaProp NYC is interested any type of startup that could impact real estate. Plenty that fit this bill might not seem like “real estate tech startups,” such as drone services or providers of self-driving car technology, Wysocki told Inman.
Aarons sees “FinTech” (financial technology) as a wellspring of innovation for real estate. It’s likely to improve mortgage and property insurance underwriting, and disrupt the title insurance industry, he said.
He said he’d also like to get “exposure” in the for-sale-by-owner services space, which he believes “is going to massively blow up over the next three to five years.”
Other real estate tech accelerators include programs run by the National Association of Realtors’ venture fund and Moderne Ventures, an early-stage venture fund launched by a former director of NAR’s venture fund.
One notable difference between MetaProp NYC and the startup accelerators run by NAR and Moderne Ventures is that MetaProp NYC does not charge an entry fee.