2019 has been the biggest for real-estate technology funding yet.
CREtech, an advocacy and research group in the real estate tech industry, provided a list of the 10 largest deals of the year. CREtech estimated a total of $31.6 billion in funding for real estate tech as a sector in 2019.
Three of the companies on CRETech’s top-10 list are based in China, a testament to the country’s burgeoning real estate tech scene. Chinese conglomerate Tencent contributed to two of the three Chinese rounds.
Oyo Hotels is one of four companies on the list as a result of a SoftBank funding round. It is joined by Compass, Opendoor and WeWork; each of the four companies representing one of the major categories on the list.
WeWork is one of two flex-office companies on the list, while Compass is one of two real-estate brokerages on the list. Opendoor is one of two iBuyers on the list, and Oyo is one of three hospitality companies on the list.
There are some caveats – For WeWork, the $11.5 billion in total funding included SoftBank’s early January funding round plus an October bailout. Without including the $9.5 billion bailout, CREtech’s tally for total funding across the sector in 2019 is $22.1 billion.
And real estate tech is notoriously hard to define. There have been monster funding rounds in flexible office, short-term rentals, and real estate brokerage. Many of these startups say they put a tech spin on old-school real estate models, but their day-to-day business is heavy on the real estate side.
The biggest dollars have, so far, avoided the cutting-edge of real estate technology in construction and AI.
Expectations for continued funding growth in the broad space are high. As we wrote in October, when CB Insights counted a record $24.6 billion in funding through the third quarter of this year, it also predicted category winners would begin to break out in 2020, and that the number of funding rounds and the sizes of deals would continue to increase.
Opendoor announced a $300 billion funding round this March that valued the iBuyer at $3.8 billion, according to Techcrunch. The round included funding from previous funders like General Atlantc, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, and real estate tech specialists Fifth Wall.
Opendoor has now raised a total of $1.3 billion in equity, and $3 billion in debt to finance their home purchases.
Chengjia is a Chinese hospitality company that offers apartments for short-term rentals and stays at hotels across eight brands. The $300 million round was led by Hong Kong-based Boyu Capital and included funding from Alibaba group cofounder Jack Ma’s private equity firm YF Capital.
The company’s CEO Hui Jin is also the president of China Living Hotel Group’s public subsidiary Huazhu Hotels Group, which operated 504,414 hotel rooms as of the end of Q3 2019.
Vacasa raised a $319 million Series C funding round that brought the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion. The funding round was led by Silver Lake Partners — the private equity firm that supported the largest tech deal in history, Dell’s takeover of EMC.
Vacasa operates vacation rental properties for their owners, from finding potential renters to maintaining the spaces. The company has more than 23,000 properties across the Americas, Europe and Africa, and acquired 9,000 rentals from Wyndham Vacation Rentals for $162 million.
Compass received $370 million in its Series G at the end of July, in a round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund that brought the company’s valuation to $6.4 billion. The brokerage, which touts its technology platform, has rapidly expanded through acquisitions and launches throughout the US.
Compass has raised a massive $1.5 billion in funding since its founding. It now has more than 300 offices nationwide.
Knotel, a flexible office and coworking company, raised $400 million at a valuation of $1 billion this August. The funding was led by Wafra, an investment arm of Kuwait’s Sovereign Wealth Fund. Additional funding came from a trio of Japanese backers: Mori Trust, Itochu, and Mercuria.
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