Where top VCs are investing in real estate and proptech (Part 2 of 2)

In part two of our survey that asked top VCs about the most exciting investment areas in real estate, we dig into responses from 10 leading real estate-focused investors at firms that span early to growth stages across real estate specific firms, corporate venture arms, and prominent generalist firms to share where they see opportunity in this sector

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Real Estate Technology

AirDNA Acquires Uplisting, Setting New Standards in Short-Term Rental Intelligence and Management

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

AirDNA, a leading short-term rental (STR) data provider, announced today the acquisition of vacation rental software and channel management system Uplisting. This acquisition marks a pivotal leap in AirDNA's mission to provide a comprehensive, one-stop solution for those investing in and operating short-term rental properties. Demi Horvat, CEO of AirDNA, shares the vision behind the acquisition: "Merging Uplisting's first-class property management tools with our unparalleled market insights will create holistic, tailored solutions for all STR stakeholders, from aspiring hosts to large professional managers. This integration equips users with robust tools for every step on their journey, from research and investment to set-up and ongoing optimization of their properties." Uplisting, an Airbnb Preferred Plus software partner, is a powerhouse for effectively managing and synchronizing STR listings on key platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. Its automation of critical tasks like real-time booking updates and guest communication has made it indispensable in optimizing the operations of vacation rental hosts and property managers globally. In 2023 alone, Uplisting processed an estimated $400 million in bookings, empowering users with reliable technology tools that catalyze growth. Vincent Breslin, Founder of Uplisting, commented: "Joining forces with AirDNA opens up a realm of possibilities for the vacation rental market. With our combined wealth of expertise, we are poised to redefine industry standards, driving innovation and delivering enhanced value to all our clients." In another decisive move to strengthen its commitment to STR hosts, AirDNA is introducing a new Dynamic Pricing feature that automatically syncs AirDNA's Smart Rates™ to Airbnb. This much-requested functionality empowers users to maximize booking revenues, drawing on extensive data from millions of listings on Airbnb and Vrbo to provide effective pricing recommendations. "Dynamic Pricing makes it easier for busy STR hosts to set their rates by automatically analyzing market and competitor trends. This ensures the best prices are delivered in real-time to their Airbnb listings, eliminating guesswork and manual adjustments. With our focus on building easy-to-use tools for hosts and Uplisting's comprehensive suite for bookings, operations, guest communication, and beyond, we're bringing professional tools within reach of everyone," said Horvat. Following AirDNA's acquisition of Arrivalist in July 2023, these strategic milestones showcase AirDNA's dynamic expansion under the umbrella of predictis, a family of software-enabled data businesses, and a portfolio company of Alpine Investors. "With this second acquisition in just six months, AirDNA is poised for continued growth and innovation, and with more developments in the pipeline, it is well positioned to expand its leadership position at the forefront of the short-term rental industry," remarked Jean-Marc Levy, CEO of predictis. FOCUS Capital Partners Ireland served as the financial advisor to Uplisting. About AirDNA AirDNA is a global authority in short-term rental data, offering comprehensive insights and analytics to empower businesses in the short-term rental industry. AirDNA helps vacation rental hosts, managers, and investors make smarter decisions in any market or economic climate. For every short-term rental question, AirDNA has the answer. About Uplisting Uplisting is an all-in-one vacation rental and channel management software that allows short-term rental property managers and owners to manage bookings, message guests, and automate their daily tasks across multiple listing sites, including Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. Designed to fuel growth, it offers flexible, powerful, and reliable technology tools that revolutionize the way owners operate. As a testament to its excellence, Uplisting is recognized as a top 10 Airbnb software partner and distinguishes itself in the property management software sector with an impressive 4.8/5 score on G2.

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Real Estate Technology

Cushman & Wakefield Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance AI Technology Platform

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

Cushman & Wakefield, a global leader in real estate services, today announced the firm is working with Microsoft to deploy an advanced suite of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. “We are committed to seamlessly integrating our people with the right technology and processes to enhance service offerings to our clients. Today’s launch of the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 at Cushman & Wakefield again demonstrates our ability to pair robust technologies with market intelligence and expertise,” said Salumeh Companieh, Chief Information & Data Officer, Cushman & Wakefield. Since 2018, Cushman & Wakefield has been focused on aligning business, data, and operations. Results to date range from an 80% material reduction in operational cycle time, to a reduction of client supply chain costs via proprietary supply chain network optimization capabilities. Azure OpenAI Service Azure OpenAI Service is a cloud-based generative AI solution that offers customers a range of capabilities, including access to cutting-edge AI models, backed by the power of Azure. With Azure OpenAI Service, Cushman & Wakefield can benefit from the power of cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to deliver innovative solutions for its clients and stakeholders. Azure OpenAI Service enables Cushman & Wakefield to create custom copilots that can enhance customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and increase competitive advantage. The platform enables developers to build, deploy, and manage AI solutions for various scenarios and domains. Some of the features of Azure OpenAI Service include machine learning, cognitive services, bot framework, computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition and more. Microsoft Technology Centers Microsoft Technology Centers are facilities that provide immersive experiences and deep technical engagements in 50+ locations around the world. Microsoft Technology Center architects collaborate with academic, industry, and government partners to advance the state of the art in AI and create positive impact for society. The Microsoft Technology Center is providing Cushman & Wakefield with access to cutting-edge research, tools, and top specialists from Microsoft and its partners to develop powerful and adaptable applications that use AI features. It is also providing insight into various areas and problems that need AI solutions, with learning and improvement through feedback and advice. Copilot for Microsoft 365 Copilot for Microsoft 365 brings the power of next-generation AI, grounded in the user and company’s data, to Microsoft’s workplace productivity tools like Teams and Outlook and Word. It works alongside users to provide suggestions, summaries, generate, analyze and explore content and data across documents, presentations, spreadsheets, notes, chats, email, meetings, and more. Ensuring the safety and security of interactions with Generative AI is a crucial value driver for Cushman & Wakefield. Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers a high level of security for how the firm leverages GPT models, providing confidence that data is not exposed for training and does not leave the company’s ecosystem, thus safeguarding confidential information. “With this next generation of AI, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation at Cushman & Wakefield and across commercial real estate,” said Laura Craig, General Manager, Data & AI, Microsoft. “We’re collaborating with Cushman & Wakefield to bring together AI advances that benefit from Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 to empower the firm’s professionals with new, AI-powered tools.” About Cushman & Wakefield Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global commercial real estate services firm for property owners and occupiers with approximately 52,000 employees in approximately 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2022, the firm reported revenue of $10.1 billion across its core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. It also receives numerous industry and business accolades for its award-winning culture and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and more.

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Real Estate Technology

SmartRent Launches Alloy SmartHome Hub+

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

SmartRent, Inc., the leading provider of smart home and property operations solutions for the rental housing industry, today announced the launch of Alloy SmartHome Hub+, the Company’s first thermostat with an integrated smart hub device developed under its Alloy SmartHome hardware brand. This innovative product, one of few on the market that integrates a thermostat with a smart hub device, operates on Z-Wave protocol and has less hardware to install and maintain. In addition to the built-in thermostat technology, Alloy SmartHome Hub+ establishes a single interface to control connected smart home devices, enabling users to turn off multiple lights in a home at once, remotely lock and unlock doors, receive alerts and automatically notify maintenance when a sensor detects a leak. “Alloy SmartHome Hub+, a device years in the making, is our latest solution that paves the way for the next generation of smarter living and working in rental housing,” said SmartRent CEO Lucas Haldeman. “Designed with our customers’ needs in mind, and inclusive of the feedback they’ve shared about the desire for less hardware, Alloy SmartHome Hub+ delivers sophistication and convenience, all while driving rent growth. Feedback from our beta pilot has been positive, and customer interest indicates eager demand to deploy this solution at scale. We are proud to bring Alloy SmartHome Hub+ to the market at large and to continue eliminating obstacles and easing implementation in the industry.” This high-value yet economical device builds upon existing SmartRent technologies by consolidating the hub hardware within a smart thermostat, which streamlines procurement, expedites installation and IoT setup. Alloy SmartHome Hub+ can be configured and paired with most HVAC systems and is compatible with smart locks, smart lights, leak sensors and other Z-Wave devices. About SmartRent Founded in 2017, SmartRent, Inc. is a leading provider of smart home and smart property solutions for the multifamily industry. The company’s unmatched platform, comprised of smart hardware and cloud-based SaaS solutions, gives operators seamless visibility and control over real estate assets, empowering them to simplify operations, automate workflows, benefit from additional revenue opportunities and deliver exceptional site team and resident experiences. SmartRent serves 15 of the top 20 multifamily owners and operators, and its solutions enable millions of users to live smarter every day.

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