The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has launched a new technology accelerator program meant to jumpstart innovation that deals with commercial real estate.
Dubbed “REach Commercial,” the new program will give tech companies mentorship from real estate professionals, networking opportunities, training on navigating the commercial real estate market, and access to a panel of more than 50,000 industry members who can provide feedback.
NAR will also boost the profile of participating companies via its marketing and communication apparatus.
“REach Commercial will continue to leverage an exceptional network of real estate industry professionals, strategic partners, investors, and mentors to increase the depth of the commercial real estate field,” NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said in a statement.
The new commercial program is a product of Second Century Ventures, NAR’s investment arm, as well as an expansion of NAR’s existing residential accelerator, known simply as REach. That program launched in 2013 and has worked with 48 companies, including House Canary, BoxBrownie and BombBomb. In total, the companies that have participated in the REACH accelerator have raised $350 million, according to a statement from NAR.
In an email to Inman, NAR spokesperson Wesley Shaw said the REach Commercial curriculum would “mimic the path” of the existing accelerator. At the same time, however, it will also “be tailored to the commercial real estate marketplace by leveraging NAR’s extensive global connections, member services and resources in the commercial real estate industry.”
The commercial accelerator’s launch comes about two months after NAR acquired “select” assets from another tech-focused accelerator known as Elmspring, according to the statement. A NAR spokesperson declined to say what those assets were, though Elmspring describes itself as a venture-backed program that was looking for opportunities in both residential and commercial real estate.
According to NAR’s statement, the Elmspring accelerator also was “uniquely incepted to drive innovative concepts in housing, smart home automation, multifamily, hospitality, space arbitrage, smart office planning, construction and more.”
The launch of NAR’s commercial accelerator also typifies the ongoing flow of venture and Wall Street funding into the real estate sector. In recent years, for example, companies such as Compass, Opendoor, and Redfin have raised massive fortunes from investors hoping to ride a wave of innovation to big profits.
“Venture capital is flowing into real estate technology at an exponential rate, driving innovation in every corner of the industry,” Mark Birschbach, a NAR senior vice president, said in a statement. “REach Commercial enables us to invest in the entrepreneurs and companies that are revolutionizing the commercial real estate landscape while positioning Realtors to be the first to embrace these changing technologies.”
Companies interested in the new commercial accelerator program can apply here. Applications are due by March 31.