The National Association of Realtors’ tech accelerator is expanding to another country in the English-speaking world: Canada.
Reach, operated by NAR venture capital arm Second Century Ventures (SCV), helps tech startups launch and grow in the real estate industry by providing education, mentorship and market exposure to the trade group’s 1.4 million members. The program has nurtured more than four dozen startups and went global last year, expanding to Australia.
“Canada’s long history as a birthplace of widely adopted real estate technologies across North America, its proximity to the U.S., similarity of market structure and relatively low cost of development make it ideally suited as the next region for expansion,” NAR said in a press release.
There are more than 130,000 Realtors in Canada and shared interests between real estate markets there and in the U.S., making it “only natural” to expand Reach there, according to NAR CEO and SCV President Bob Goldberg.
“We are excited to be able to add to the list of impressive companies that have graduated from the program, and we’re eager to discover the mark they will leave on real estate throughout North America,” Goldberg said in a statement.
In May 2019, Goldberg said NAR had invested in 80 companies and counting through SCV with the aim of making them “Realtor supporters” even as they seek to change the industry.
Lynette Keyowski, formerly CEO of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) in British Columbia, will lead Reach Canada. She resigned from OMREB last spring “to pursue other interests that allow me to more freely align my skillset … for all Realtors in Canada,” according to Real Estate Magazine. She became an executive advisor at SCV in September and transitioned to becoming a partner at Reach Canada this month, according to her LinkedIn profile.
“Building on the expertise and proven track record of the Reach Accelerator in the U.S. and now Australia, Canadian proptech companies will have an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate their growth and capitalize on the rapid revolution of the global proptech landscape, in close conjunction with the Realtor community,” Keyowski said in a statement. “Based in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, the Reach Canada team is eager to open applications in late May.”
Last year SCV also launched Reach Commercial, an accelerator program meant to jumpstart innovation that deals with commercial real estate.
“[O]ur continued expansion to Canada furthers our mission to increase the depth of our global network of industry professionals, strategic partners, investors, mentors and innovators responsible for delivering rapid and transformative change in all sectors of real estate,” said Dave Garland, SCV’s managing partner, in a statement.
SCV first launched Reach in November 2012 to help incubate startups. The for-profit subsidiary has purchased stakes in tech companies including DocuSign, Planwise, Propy and Updater, though NAR does not promise funding as part of the Reach program.
Startups that enrolled in Reach’s 2015 class paid a marketing fee of $25,000 to Second Century Ventures and handed over equity stakes ranging from 2 to 5 percent. NAR hasn’t disclosed the cost of enrollment for more recent residential classes and wouldn’t disclose the cost of enrollment for its new commercial program at the time of its launch.
Canada has its own national Realtor trade group, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). CREA does not operate a technology accelerator program, according to NAR.
“CREA is not involved in the operations of the REACH Canada program. However, NAR and CREA have a longstanding relationship and will continue to routinely collaborate on opportunities, including those that may arise from the REACH Canada program,” a NAR spokesperson told Inman via email.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with an additional comment from NAR.
Email Andrea V. Brambila.
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