Venture capital firm Fifth Wall produces a bi-weekly newsletter that curates relevant news articles, summarizes recent deals and provides updates on the various portfolio companies in which they’ve invested.
Check out this week’s update, which covers what happens to Instacart if Amazon buys Whole Foods, why your next car may be a living room on wheels and how co-working spaces spread to the suburbs.
What we’re reading
- “Your next car may be a living room on wheels” (WSJ): With driverless cars on the horizon, cars will no longer be oriented toward putting a driver’s hands at 10 and 2, as the next generation of cars serve as mobile offices or entertainment centers.
- “Amazon wants to become Walmart before Walmart can become Amazon” (TechCrunch): Amazon, with its recent bid for Whole Foods, is clearly eyeing the opportunity in brick-and-mortar retail, while Walmart’s Bonobos and Jet acquisitions signal the retail giant’s attempt to gain some e-commerce share.
- “How will the Amazon-Whole Foods deal affect retail real estate?” (National Real Estate Investor): How, exactly, Amazon’s recent acquisition bid for Whole Foods rejuvenates brick-and-mortar retail remains to be seen, but we imagine the move will have a meaningful impact on physical retail markets.
- “If Amazon buys Whole Foods, what happens to Instacart?” (VentureBeat): If nothing else, the deal jeopardizes delivery grocery platforms, like Whole Foods-backed startup Instacart. These services will need a swift and meaningful response to fight against Amazon’s new grocery foothold.
- “Co-working spaces spread to the suburbs” (WSJ): As co-working office spaces become more and more prevalent, new companies are sprouting up in small suburbs, rather than taking the traditional city center route.
- “Airbnb tries to behave more like a hotel” (NY Times): Airbnb, in an effort to appease regulators, has started requiring hosts to collect city lodging taxes from guests and redecorate their bathrooms to look more like five-star hotels.
- “Los Angeles’ rent crisis is among the worst in America, Harvard says” (LA Weekly): L.A.’s average monthly rent is one of the highest in America, which is a huge burden for L.A. residents. As L.A. residents ourselves, we are keenly interested in how technology might help combat rising rents and make L.A. living more affordable.
- “The paradox of choice: Rental startups converge on crowded space” (The Real Deal): The influx of rental startups has given consumers many new choices for where to find a rental or roommate, but these companies have had to minimize margins in the face of intensifying competition in the space.
- “Early-stage real estate tech: 120+ companies building the industry’s future” (CB Insights): A landscape of startups making waves in real estate tech — several of Fifth Wall’s portfolio companies are on this list, and many more that might join the portfolio someday soon.
- “Tough time renting pop-up space? Online service could help” (WSJ): Retail rentals move to online listings — long-term leases are far less viable for upstart, online-first retailers, and new tech platforms are helping them dip their toes into brick and mortar.
- “Google will buy modular homes to address housing crunch” (WSJ): Google recognizes the fact that modular homes dramatically decrease cost of construction, and we are excited to welcome tech’s biggest players into the real estate ecosystem.
- “Japan passes law legalizing Airbnb and other sharing economy rentals” (TechCrunch): Airbnb’s umbrella grows larger, as the company scores a meaningful legal victory in one of its top-10 markets.
- “Proptech is the next big thing, but it is more complex than you think” (e27): Real estate is ripe for technological disruption, Fifth Wall’s model is predicated on that fact, but there still exists significant barriers to entry for startups in the institutionally concentrated, slow-moving industry.
- “Why remote work can’t be stopped” (WSJ): Twenty percent of Americans worked only from home last year, compared to fifteen percent of Americans in 2012; we are excited about what this fact holds for the future of office development across the country.
- “The factory of the future is here, and it’s digitized” (Boston Globe): Applications for 3-D printing technology are becoming financially practical; though smaller products are the beachhead, we aren’t far removed from a world in which entire buildings can be printed from the ground up.
- “80+ startups making cities smarter across traffic, waste, energy, water usage, and more” (CB Insights): Technology will inform our cities of tomorrow. These startups are revolutionizing basic utilities and driving value to large real estate owners’ bottom lines.
A selection of relevant financing and M&A activity in our sector
- Cadre, a New York-based technology-enabled investing platform, raised $65 million in Series C financing led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Breyer Capital, Ford Foundation, General Catalyst, Goldman Sachs and others.
- WeWork, the New York-based co-working firm has recently acquired the construction-focused mobile communication systems company, Fieldlens. The amount of the acquisition remains undisclosed, but to date, Fieldlens has raised a total of $12.6 million.
- Keypr, a Los Angeles-based startup focused on integrating modern day technology into hotels, raised $19 million in its first round of funding. The funding was led by Karlani Capital, with other strategic investors including former Starwood executive, Simon Turner, and former CEO of Bally Technologies, Richard Haddrill.
- Trucker Path, a Mountain View-based mobile long-haul trucking platform, raised $30 million in debt from Flexible Funding, a San Francisco-based lending institution.
- The Carlyle Group invested into the co-working space by spending £150 million to acquire three London-based flexible office and co-working properties.
- ShipBob, a Chicago-based logistics and fulfillment company focused on e-commerce, raised $17.5 million in a Series B round led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from Hyde Park, FundersClub, Hyde Park Angels and FJ Labs.
- Dispatch, an on-demand home services platform, raised $12 million in Series A funding from GrandBanks Capital, ServiceMaster, with participation from Liberty Mutual and others.
- Yard, a New York-based co-working firm, raised a $15 million credit line from the active commercial real estate lender, Israel Discount Bank of New York.
- Notion, a Denver-based company focused on home awareness IoT, raised $10 million in Series C financing led by Draper Nexus and TransLink Capital, with participation from existing investors XL Innovate, Mesh VC and others.
- Landed, a San Francisco-based home down payment assistance company, received $5 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
- Local Logic, a Montreal-based housing data company, raised $1.15 million in its first round led by Cycle Capital Management, with participation from BDC, 500 Startups and Yellow Pages.
- Credit Peers, a London-based P2B investment-grade lending platform, raised a £45 million credit line from an undisclosed European investment management firm.
- Yanolja, a Seoul-based travel accommodation platform, raised over $53 million in funding from SkyLake Investment.
- misterb&b, a San Francisco-based online short-term lodging site for the LGBTQ community, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding led by Project A and Ventech.
- Tulip, a Boston-based IoT app development company, raised $13 million in series A financing led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Pitango Venture Capital and others.
- Samsara, a San Francisco-based provider of connected sensors for fleet management, raised $40 million in Series C funding led by General Catalyst.
- Pillow, an automated platform for managing short-term apartment rentals, raised $13.5 million in Series A funding led by Mayfield, with participation from Sterling Equity, Peak Capital Partners, Expansion VC and others.
- Deliver, a Russia-based freight transport ordering company, raised $8 million in seed funding led by Inventure Partners, A&NN Group and Amereus Group.
- Aproplan, a Brussels-based provider of construction site management software, raised €5 million in Series A funding led by Fortino Capital, with participation from Inventures and Matexi.
- Blackstone, the US-based private equity company became a majority stakeholder of the London-based, co-working firm, The Office Group. The investment values the flexible workspace provider at nearly $640 million.
- Homee, a Tampa-based on-demand property management service, raised $2.8 million in seed funding led by Florida Funders.
- Bigger, a China-based startup incubator and co-working firm, raised $18 million in series A financing led by Hongfu Group.
- Agentology, a real estate lead response automation company, raised $4.5 million of funding led by Freestyle Capital, with participation from Entry Ventures and OurCrowd.
- Buildout, a Chicago-based software firm, which aims to streamline the real estate marketing process, raised $8 million in Series A financing led by Susquehanna Growth Equity
- Cloudbeds, a SaaS company allowing independently owned hotels to manage their front desks, reservation systems and marketing, raised $9 million in Series B financing led by PeakSpan Capital, with participation from Nashville Capital, Cultivation Capital, ClearVision Equity and TTCER Partners.
The latest from Fifth Wall and our portfolio
Here are some of Fifth Wall’s most recent investor and portfolio updates:
- Clutter has recently closed a $64 million round of financing led by Atomico with participation from Sequoia Capital, Fifth Wall and GV (Google Ventures). In addition to being the largest on-demand self-storage company this also makes Clutter the most well-funded by a factor of 2x. We are thrilled to have participated alongside such strong investors and even more excited about Clutter’s rapid growth, leading the pack in the market of on-demand self-storage. Brendan recorded a Fifth Wall podcast with the Clutter co-founders you can listen to here.
- For more details around the nuances of on-demand self-storage, the Wall Street Journal had an excellent write up detailing the struggles and challenges facing the world’s largest self-storage companies and how tech-enabled startups are working to solve the massively inefficient market. Both Clutter and Fifth Wall Managing Partner, Brendan Wallace, were extensively featured in the article, providing insight into the dynamics of the market and business model.
- ClassPass secured a $70 million Series C with Temasek leading the round alongside existing investors such as Acequia, General Catalyst, GV and Thrive. For those who aren’t aware, ClassPass offers a subscription-based service allowing access to hundreds of fitness and workout classes and helps keep the entire Fifth Wall team in shape.
- Brendan Wallace recently wrote a blogpost about the Trump Administration’s proposed $1TN infrastructure plan, “A Call for Public & Private Sector Collaboration in Trump’s $1TN Infrastructure Plan.” And you can see a presentation we made on this subject here.
- Fifth Wall will be releasing a series of podcasts with our portfolio company CEOs, real estate leaders and industry experts in Built World Tech. Stay tuned for more on our podcast.
- The Real Estate Board of New York has voted unanimously to elect Bill Rudin as its next chaiman. Rudin is the CEO of Rudin Management, a Fifth Wall LP, and will succeed Tishman Speyer President and CEO, Rob Speyer at the end of 2017.