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The leaders of proptech startups (from left to right) Archipelago Analytics, Kasa Living, Local Logic, and Flyhomes are propelling the historically staid real-estate industry into the 21st century.

Archipelago; Kasa Living; Local Logic; Flyhomes; Skye Gould/Insider


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  • Real estate has been transformed by the pandemic as the once traditional industry goes digital. 
  • The proptech field, which was already booming with real-estate tech startups, grew even more.
  • We surveyed a set of venture capitalists to select of the 31 hottest proptech companies right now.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Real-estate technology, already booming with record fundraising before the pandemic, has been brought to center stage — and a fresh crop of proptech startups are ready for their star turn. 

Insider reached out to a varied set of venture investors that focus on real-estate and construction technology to ask for their nominations for proptech startups that will thrive in a new climate marked by swings in where employees live and what offices are even for, as well as increased digital adoption by real-estate and construction professionals.

These factors have already minted some major success stories for proptech companies that focus on residential real estate (both renting and owning), industrial and logistics, and digital communication. After evaluating the VC nominations we received, we selected this list of the 31 hottest proptech startups of 2021.

We excluded companies that have gone public or been acquired for major amounts, or that clearly were the winners of their sections. We also strove to highlight firms that have raised less than $200 million in order to keep the focus on startups that still have plenty of room to grow.

Their founders are largely white men, which reflects the realities of this sector, as well as the real-estate industry more broadly — though trade groups like Women in PropTech are working to change that. 

We used the companies’ self-reported fundraising numbers, but added in Crunchbase data as a supplement for firms that declined to comment. We asked each startup for its valuation and revenue, but many declined to share that information, citing confidentially and ongoing fundraising.

Behold, the hottest proptech companies right now, presented in alphabetical order.

Stock Market Archipelago Analytics

Stock Market Hemant Shah Archipelago Analytics CEO Hemant Shah, Archipelago Analytics’ CEO.

Archipelago Analytics


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2018, but launched in August

Total funding: $23.2 million

What it does: Uses artificial intelligence to allow owners of commercial real estate to see under the hood of their property insurance in order to make changes that reduce their premiums. 

Why it’s hot: Cofounder Hemant Shah is the longtime CEO of Risk Management Solutions, the largest risk-analytics company. The idea behind Archipelago is to allow owners of commercial real estate to see how their insurance risk is calculated. That gives them concrete information they can use to make decisions to lower their risk and, as a result, their premiums.

The data that Archipelago gathers — from building-operations data to the blueprint of a building — is then used by insurers to underwrite plans that are more specific with less effort. The combination of a superstar founding team and innovative model has earned the company a lot of interest very quickly. Archipelago already counts the major real-estate owners and operators JLL, Morgan Stanley, and MetLife as clients.

Stock Market Beyond HQ

Stock Market Madhu Chamarty BeyondHQ Madhu Chamarty, Beyond HQ founder & CEO.

BeyondHQ


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2019

Total funding: $1.75 million 

What it does: Develops software to help companies figure out where and when they should open new offices. 

Why it’s hot: Two years ago, Madhu Charmaty noticed that tech companies in the Bay Area had tapped out the area’s workforce. He figured they could use a tool to explore other locations to set up operations and recruit talent, and Beyond HQ was born.

Then the coronavirus crisis prompted a mass nationwide migration of employees freed to relocate by the widespread adoption of flexible and remote work schedules. Now a year of pandemic work-from-home trends could further accelerate adoption of the company’s software, which pools data from myriad sources to calculate how firms can create a footprint that best caters to a resettled employee pool and evaluate the costs and opportunities of entering new markets.

Beyond HQ’s 2020 revenue was $200,000, Charmaty told Insider, adding that he expects to o more than double — to $500,000 — this year. The company is also close to raising another round of funding in range of $2.5 million to $3 million from venture capital backers, a sum that would bring its total fundraising to nearly $5 million. 

Stock Market Bowery Valuation

Stock Market noah isaacs john meadows bowery valuation Noah Isaacs (left) and John Meadows, co-CEOs of Bowery Valuation.

Bowery Valuation


City: New York City

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $26.8 million, according to Crunchbase

What it does: Build proprietary software that makes appraisals easier and more accurate. 

Why it’s hot: An appraisal report is a requirement for any real estate transaction, but typically takes two to three weeks to complete by a human appraiser using several tedious tools and manual mechanisms, according to a 2019 Forbes profile of Bowery Valuation. Founders Noah Isaacs and John Meadows are childhood best friends who grew up in Berkeley.

The 4-year-old startup has challenged the traditional appraisal process since its inception by developing software that allows appraisers to calculate the value of commercial buildings cheaper, faster, and more efficiently than its competitors. With a focus on the intersection of engineering, design, and product, Bowery has an office in Washington, DC, and told Forbes that it is looking for appraisal talent across the country to lead new offices.

Stock Market Briq

Stock Market Briq CEO Bassem Hamdy Briq CEO Bassem Hamdy.

Briq


City: Santa Barbara, California

Year founded: 2018

Total funding: $16 million

What it does: Uses high-tech software and modeling to ultimately lower construction costs.

Why it’s hot: Many construction projects end up going over budget, and Briq’s goal is to prevent that. The construction tech, forecasting, and resourcing company founded by Bassem Hamdy and Ron Goldschmidt developed a fintech platform that uses data to help construction companies make smart purchasing decisions and better forecast their financial futures. The platform helps contractors and subcontractors “identify outliers and which projects are at most risk,” Hamdy told Crunchbase, adding: “The risk coefficients calculate for them based on different financial factors, such as how they are using funds such an allowance or contingency.”

The platform, which looks like Excel, catches errors or inefficiencies before they happen, whether they’re in materials, labor costs, or other parts of the construction process. In May, Crunchbase reported that the company’s annual recurring revenue jumped 1,000% in the prior year. (The company told Insider its annual recurring revenue was $14 million in 2020.) With single-family-home construction at a fever pitch during the pandemic and into 2021, the service is poised to be even more relevant.

Stock Market Built Technologies

Stock Market Chase Gilbert, CEO and co-founder of Built Technologies Chase Gilbert, the CEO and cofounder of Built Technologies.

Built Technologies


Year founded: 2014

Total funding: $137 million

What it does: Builds financial-tools software for the construction industry, from lenders to contractors.

Why it’s hot: Built Technologies had been deploying software to better connect lenders and their contractor clients for six years before the pandemic hit. In spring, when offices began to shut down and digital communication became paramount, these tools paid off. Built’s customers were able to keep a better hold on their lending from afar. Like in other industries, the adoption of new tech sped up in construction during the pandemic.

The company continues to build new applications, including Built Pay, which CEO Chase Gilbert said was like “Venmo for construction.” With the digitization of construction processes poised to continue into 2021 and beyond, Built is well prepared to take advantage.

Stock Market Clockwork Analytics

Stock Market Nick Gayeski, cofounder and CEO of Clockwork Analytics Nick Gayeski, the CEO of Clockwork Analytics.

Clockwork Analytics


City: Somerville, Massachusetts

Year founded: 2008

Total funding: About $13 million

What it does: Analyzes data from building systems, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and boilers, to make recommendations to building owners that will reduce energy use, prevent costly building repairs, and improve occupants’ health.

Why it’s hot: Clockwork is one of the oldest companies on this list, but it found a new use for its product — building-systems data — during the pandemic. The firm began by focusing on recommendations for energy efficiency but found there was even greater interest in tips for preventive maintenance. Advice to building owners on when to replace heating and cooling systems can save customers from huge surprise bills when those systems inevitably fail.

With the onset of the pandemic, the company — led by CEO Nick Gayeski — added another feature: monitoring air quality. Keeping a building at the proper humidity and temperature is paramount to stopping the spread of any virus. With many landlords looking to control not only this pandemic but also whichever public-health threat comes next, Clockwork has seen a wave of new interest — which led the company to raise money for the first time since 2016.

Stock Market Darkstore

Stock Market Lee Hnetinka, Darkstore CEO Lee Hnetinka, Darkstore’s CEO.

Darkstore


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $30.2 million 

What it does: Operates urban microwarehouses, which sync with an app that allows retailers to deliver their goods to customers within two hours.

Why it’s hot: As more shoppers move online — a trend that has accelerated during the pandemic — retailers have been under pressure to ship goods to them more quickly. Darkstore operates two e-commerce fulfillment centers, each about 5,000 square feet, in Los Angeles and New York City, giving it centrally located storage spaces that allow delivery partners like DoorDash and Roadie to shuttle products to shoppers in those cities within two hours.

In September, it unveiled its own mobile app, FastAF, which provides retailers with a digital platform to sell products they stock with Darkstore. Its top-selling brand is Bala, an LA maker of fashionable home-exercise weights and accessories that have grown in popularity as consumers work and work out from home.

Next for Darkstore, according to its 33-year-old founder and CEO, Lee Hnetinka, is expanding its offerings beyond the roughly 350 brands on its marketplace and bringing its services to new cities. Hnetinka wouldn’t say how many shoppers have used FastAF but said it was in the “tens of thousands” and that sales on its app had been growing exponentially since its launch.

Stock Market Darwin Homes

Stock Market Ryan Broderick and Zach Kinlock, Darwin Homes cofounders Ryan Broderick and Zachary Kinloch, Darwin Homes’ cofounders.

Darwin Homes


City: Austin, Texas

Year founded: 2018

Total funding: $19.5 million

What it does: Provides tech-enabled property-management tools typically used by big firms to smaller landlords.

Why it’s hot: For real-estate investors, the biggest challenge in growing a portfolio of rental units is being able to manage them efficiently. Founded by DoorDash cofounders Ryan Broderick and Zachary Kinloch, Darwin builds proprietary property-management software, which seeks to simplify landlords’ lives with high-tech rental management.

Other property-management software, they said, assume investors have their own teams of professionals. And while some owners hire companies to run their properties, more investors manage them on their own. “We believe that people want access to this asset class, but they don’t want a second job,” Broderick, Darwin Homes’ CEO, told Insider in January. Darwin brings institutional-style real-estate management strategies — as well as the higher yields and better deals from the vendors they attract — to the single-family rental market.

Stock Market Dottid

Stock Market Kyle Waldrep, CEO and founder of Dottid Kyle Waldrep, the CEO and founder of Dottid.

Dottid


City: Dallas

Year founded: 2016, but it became operational in 2018

Total funding: $3.85 million

What it does: Makes software for owners of commercial real estate that tracks leases and offers asset-management tools, and serves the industrial real-estate segment, a first for the industry.

Why it’s hot: Led by cofounder and CEO Kyle Waldrep, Dottid parachuted into a subsector that has already minted one major proptech unicorn: VTS. The company’s software helps owners of commercial real estate quantify the performance of their assets. It enables leasing teams to track progress as leads and tenant interest turn into signed leases, and it eventually monitors lease renewals, too. Like VTS,

Dottid is useful for offices and retail spaces — but those areas of commercial real estate took a major hit during the pandemic. With e-commerce levels at record highs, warehouses, factories, and storage spaces have seen a boost over the past year. Dottid’s decision to launch an industrial platform should help the early-stage company gain market share from the investors who have their eyes trained on that asset class and will need tools to manage their purchases.

Stock Market Flyhomes

Stock Market Tushar & Steve - Flyhome Flyhomes cofounders Steve Lane and Tushar Garg.

Flyhomes


City: Seattle

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: Over $70 million

What it does: Fronts buyers cash to bid on homes and provides other brokerage and mortgage services.

Why it’s hot: Under the Trade Up program, one of the next-generation real-estate brokerage’s most popular offerings, the company gives homeowners an estimated price on their home. If Flyhomes is unable to sell the home for that price in 90 days, the firm buys it at that price. That allows the homeowners to make an offer on a new home with Flyhomes’ financial backing.

Founded by Steve Lane and Tushar Garg, the firm also has an array of traditional brokerage services and lending vehicles that simplify and digitize the homebuying process. Since launching, Flyhomes has bought and sold over $2 billion worth of real estate.

Stock Market GoFor

Stock Market gofor proptech companies The GoFor team.

Gofor


City: Ottawa, Ontario

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $23.5 million, according to Crunchbase

What it does: Same-day last-mile logistics for construction, retail, and other industries that must execute deliveries — even bulky ones — quickly.

Why it’s hot: One of the major reasons construction costs continue to rise while productivity stays flat is the coordination problem inherent in the industry. For projects to go ahead according to plan, materials need to be delivered on time and in the correct order.

GoFor was founded as a logistics partner that caters to these specialized needs. It has since expanded to become a Uber of sorts of many kinds of business, that is, a marketplace of drivers who can be called on demand by any business that needs to make a delivery. GoFor already works with Home Depot, Ikea, and a variety of other suppliers.

The company can even make same-day deliveries, rivaling Amazon’s expertise with smaller consumer retail products but instead ferrying much larger, more complicated items. It has also announced a partnership with Royale EV to deliver items using that firm’s electric vans, in an attempt to lower emissions in at least one leg of construction, which is one of the most carbon-intensive industries.

Stock Market Icon

Stock Market Jason Ballard, cofounder and CEO of ICON Jason Ballard, the CEO of Icon.

ICON


City: Austin, Texas

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $59 million

What it does: Uses 3D printing to build homes at a fraction of the price of traditional construction.

Why it’s hot: A 350-square-foot proof-of-concept home was constructed in 24 hours for just $10,000 in material costs as a model for families living on $3 a day. (A home up to 2,000 square feet takes less than three days.) Icon built the first 3D-printed home in the US in 2018, started work on the first 3D-printed neighborhood in Mexico in 2019, and constructed an entire tiny-home village of 400-square-foot properties in 2020.

Cofounder and CEO Jason Ballard considers 3D printing a way to combat homelessness and increase affordable housing. It’s a mission that is especially crucial during the pandemic, as many tenants who cannot keep up with rent fear eviction when moratoriums protecting them run out.

“Our hope is that this isn’t a novelty,” Icon cofounder Evan Loomis told Insider in 2019, “but this is actually the new way of construction for the future.”

Stock Market Juniper Square

Stock Market Alex Robinson, CEO of Juniper Square Alex Robinson, the CEO of Juniper Square.

Juniper Square


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2014

Total funding: $85 million

What it does: Software platform for real-estate investors with a customer-relationship manager specifically designed for property investment.

Why it’s hot: Juniper Square had ascended to become a leading player in the real-estate investment world before the pandemic, with a $75 million Series C fundraise at the end of 2019.

In a 2018 statement, the company touted its product as “modern, easy-to-use software that automates one of the most critical business functions for investment managers: raising and managing outside capital.” Since then, transaction and investment volumes have fallen as a result of economic uncertainty. But as ramped-up vaccine distribution promises a return to some normality, the biggest investors are raising money once again. Juniper Square, helmed by CEO Alex Robinson, is positioned to become the go-to software provider for the post-pandemic real-estate-investment boom.

Stock Market Kasa Living

Stock Market Roman Pedan, Kasa Founder and CEO Roman Pedan, Kasa’s founder and CEO.

Kasa Living


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: About $60 million

What it does: Leases out furnished apartments for short-term and long-term stays and partners with landlords by sharing rent revenue from tenants with them, instead of signing expensive and unforgiving leases to secure the apartments under its own name. 

Why it’s hot: The company had already been shifting toward a shared-revenue management partnership model before the pandemic and was able to pivot toward it quickly once the COVID-19 crisis hit. This was made easier by Kasa’s emphasis on working with institutional landlords, who are more familiar with this business model, over smaller landlords — and gave the company a large berth to grow in 2020, even as its competitors toppled.

The firm has also focused on leasing spaces in residential hubs outside major urban centers, setting up shop in places like New Haven, Connecticut, (90 minutes from New York City) and Alexandria, Virginia (just outside Washington, DC). Led by founder and CEO Roman Pedan, Kasa also targeted smaller metropolitan areas like Des Moines, Iowa, that have seen population booms over the past year.

Stock Market Landed

Stock Market Jonathan Asmis, Landed CEO Jonathan Asmis, Landed’s CEO.

Landed


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $75 million

What it does: Helps essential workers buy homes in communities where they work by providing down-payment assistance.

Why it’s hot: By splitting a down payment with homebuyers, Landed’s goal is to make homeownership affordable for essential workers like educators and healthcare providers in notoriously expensive cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

The coinvestment model, pioneered by CEO Jonathan Asmis, not only benefits Americans in need — who are especially overworked and burned out from the pandemic — but also works to keep residents with less-lucrative jobs from being priced out of their communities.

Stock Market Landing

Stock Market Landing CEO Bill Smith Landing CEO Bill Smith.

Landing


City: San Francisco and Birmingham, Alabama

Year founded: 2019

Total funding: $145 million

What it does: Operates furnished apartments in 76 cities across the US available to customers who can rent spaces for flexible amounts of time.

Why it’s hot: In the age of remote work, Landing’s offerings are particularly appealing to formerly office-bound professionals and other digital-nomad types who have to freedom to pick their geographic home bases.

Former residents of New York and San Francisco are flocking to cities like Nashville, Tennessee, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, where Landing expanded in 2020 to operate furnished rentals without restrictive 12-month leases. Customers, also called members to give the air of a private club, are also allowed to easily relocate to Landing apartments in different cities. CEO Bill Smith sold Shipt to Target for $550 million in 2017 and has recruited top hires to the C-suite, including major executives from WeWork, Airbnb, and Oyo.

Stock Market Latchel

Stock Market CEO of Latchel, Ethan Leiber Latchel CEO Ethan Lieber.

Latchel


City: Seattle, Wash.

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $4.5 million

What it does: Offers round-the-clock services for property-management companies by handling maintenance requests from tenants.

Why it’s hot: The startup, helmed by CEO Ethan Lieber, likens itself to Uber or Lyft because it responds to real-time maintenance requests made by residents by deploying available professionals in the area.

The service covers everything from simple issues like blocked drains and broken appliances to more concierge-level services like apartment cleaning and furniture assembly. By providing an as-needed service to tenants, it frees up landlords’ time and energy.

A Y Combinator alum, Latchel has lured investors like Bain Capital Ventures and is raising its Series A round. Latchel told Insider it had a $16 million valuation cap in 2019.

Stock Market LoanSnap

Stock Market Karl Jacob, CEO of LoanSnap Karl Jacob, the CEO of LoanSnap.

LoanSnap


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $31 million

What it does: Uses artificial intelligence to analyze a customer’s finances and then sorts through thousands of loan options to make payment forecasts and select the best one for their needs. 

Why it’s hot: LoanSnap is a “smart-loan” company that saves borrowers money — $35 million in 2020 alone. After users enter in their financial information, the AI tool shows them where they’re losing money, sorts through thousands of prospective loans, and makes a recommendation for the best one in just a few seconds, providing options for refinancing, home-equity lines of credit, and mortgages that help users save money.

By mostly automating the process of applying for a loan, LoanSnap has sped up the process. Loans can close in 15 days or less using its technology, which helps users get the cash they need fast. The company is led by CEO Karl Jacob and backed by top venture-capital investors, including the billionaire Richard Branson, the NFL great turned investor Joe Montana, and Mantis, a tech-investment firm founded by the DJ duo The Chainsmokers.

Stock Market Local Logic

Stock Market Local Logic cofounders: CPO, Gabriel Damant Sirois, COO Amanda Levin, CEO Vincent Charles Hodder Local Logic executives (from left) Gabriel Damant-Sirois, Amanda Levin, and Vincent-Charles Hodder.

Local Logic


City: Montreal

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: 10 million Canadian dollars (equivalent to $7.93 million)

What it does: Uses artificial intelligence to analyze data about geographic locations.

Why it’s hot: The company’s goal is to help anyone who is considering a purchase better understand any given market in the US and Canada. Developers, investors, management companies, and homebuyers use details like property history, local demographics, and walkability to make smarter real-estate decisions.

Led by cofounders Gabriel Damant-Sirois, Amanda Levin, and Vincent-Charles Hodder, Local Logic also provides AI-generated market comparisons and special information for real-estate brokers to enhance their listings. The company, which recently raised 8 million Canadian dollars ($6.35 million), has added to its offerings data points that are even more granular than previously available, from local transportation trends to noise levels.

Stock Market MeetElise

Stock Market MeetElise CEO Minna Song MeetElise CEO Minna Song.

MeetElise


City: New York City

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $8.4 million

What it does: Artificial-intelligence assistant helps owners of multifamily properties lease units faster and more efficiently by communicating with prospective renters.

Why it’s hot: Created by two MIT and Cambridge grads, “Elise” is an AI chatbot that can almost instantly answer prospective renters’ questions about apartment availability, floor plans, special rates, and more.

This digital communication frees up leasing agents’ time and can easily convert house hunters to applicants to residents. The technology — which modernizes a once tedious paper-and-people-based leasing process — is already in use at two giant property-management companies, Equity Residential and AvalonBay. The two rental juggernauts manage a combined 160,000 apartments.

MeetElise, led by CEO Minna Song, raised $6.5 million in Series A funding during the pandemic.

Stock Market Mosaic

Stock Market Mosaic cofounder and CEO Salman Ahmad Mosaic cofounder and CEO Salman Ahmad.

Mosaic


City: Phoenix 

Year founded: 2017 

Total funding: $24 million

What it does: Launched proprietary software to manage construction on behalf of homebuilders, which enables developers, property owners, and contractors to build more homes for less money.

Why it’s hot: Combining computer science with construction, Mosaic breaks down a building plan into detailed steps for each individual and trade working on the project. The goal is to reduce mistakes in the field, prevent the waste of materials like lumber, and speed up construction timelines.

Streamlining the homebuilding process and making it more efficient can result in more homes built for less money, which can contribute to affordable housing. Founder Salman Ahmad made Insider’s list of rising stars in real estate in 2019.

Stock Market Obie

Stock Market Obie cofounders Aaron Letzeiser and Ryan Letzeiser Obie cofounders Aaron Letzeiser and Ryan Letzeiser.

Obie


City: Chicago

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $2.8 million

What it does: Combines an asset-management platform with an insurance marketplace — and it’s free.

Why it’s hot: The company’s services are geared toward the underserved market of people who own commercial real estate with funds of less than $1 billion. Founded by Aaron Letzeiser and Ryan Letzeiser, Obie allows these smaller owners to keep track of the performance of their assets — and then uses that information to act as the owner’s insurance brokerage.

With the information Obie gathers from the asset-management platform, the company can often find its customers better rates than typical brokers. Acting as an insurance broker also allows Obie to offer its management platform for free, as it’s able to make revenue through the commissions from selling insurance. The company’s combination of multiple solutions under one platform is especially innovative for such an early-stage startup. And with tech adoption increasing rapidly in the world of commercial real estate, Obie’s ability to save owners money at no cost to them is a major advantage.

Stock Market OpenSpace

Stock Market OpenSpace Jeevan Kalanithi OpenSpace cofounder and CEO Jeevan Kalanithi.

OpenSpace


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $33.3 million 

What it does: Digitally catalogues visual imagery of construction projects as they progress, allowing its customers to observe and review the job.

Why it’s hot: OpenSpace aims to bring clarity and accountability to the complex business of construction by mapping projects visually. To gather data, site managers wear 360-degree cameras while touring a job site, recording visuals that are uploaded to OpenSpace’s mobile app. Builders can use the insights and imagery to monitor a development’s progress.

For instance, Tishman Speyer, a major developer, has used the app to monitor the rise of a $3 billion office tower called The Spiral it’s erecting in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. OpenSpace not only stores and compiles these visuals but also develops tools that can analyze them. Those tools can pinpoint how much drywall or other materials have been installed, identify waste, and assess whether a development is being built to its blueprint specifications.

CEO Jeevan Kalanithi said while OpenSpace wasn’t yet profitable, it was focusing on growth. Its software has been used on thousands of projects across 35 countries, he said, and has mapped about 3 billion square feet of space.

Stock Market Prevu

Stock Market Chase Marsh and Thomas Kutzman, co-founders of Prevu Chase Marsh and Thomas Kutzman, the cofounders of Prevu.

Prevu


City: New York City

Year founded: 2015, with a public launch in 2017

Total funding: $2.2 million, according to Crunchbase 

What it does: Offers a digital real-estate brokerage.

Why it’s hot: Founded by friends turned co-CEOs Chase Marsh and Thomas Kutzman, the online-only brokerage seeks to save homebuyers cash by giving them the tools to buy a home online and upending the traditional commission-based model that incentivizes brokers.

Buyers who use Prevu can negotiate sales prices themselves online, though agents can still step in to help as needed. The company even incentivizes buyers with a commission rebate up to 2%. Prevu agents work on salary rather than commission, which takes off some pressure to close deals and keeps the emphasis on customer satisfaction.

“We offer a buyer-focused experience that allows the buyer to see every step of the process online,” Kutzman told Philadelphia Magazine last year. And that starts with the “ninety-nine percent of buyers in America” who begin their home shopping online. After launching in New York, the company grew into new markets like Boston and Philadelphia in 2020, as well as Los Angeles in February.

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In completing more than $500 million in residential real estate transactions for homebuyers, the company told Insider, it achieved a $15 million gross commission run rate as of the end of 2020.

Stock Market Proper

Stock Market Mark Rojas, CEO of ProperAI Mark Rojas, the CEO of Proper.

ProperAI


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $14 million

What it does: An AI-powered property-accounting and bookkeeping service for residential and commercial real estate.

Why it’s hot: Real-estate accounting, from calculating rent rolls to paying taxes, was one of the first major areas of real-estate technology to see success, with Yardi as an early winner.

Proper deploys its own proprietary generation of software that uses machine learning to automate elements of the accounting process. The company makes money by selling its services to property owners, property managers, and asset managers. For its largest customers, it also ensures that accounting is uniform across their portfolios. Machine learning also allows Proper to offer accounting services at a discount compared with standard certified public accountants.

With housing prices and the adoption of digital tools both at peaks because of the pandemic, Proper seems poised to grow even more under the leadership of CEO Mark Rojas.

Stock Market Side

Stock Market Guy Gal, CEO and Founder 2021 Guy Gal, CEO and founder of Side.

Side


City: San Francisco 

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $70 million

What it does: A no-frills residential brokerage that eschews brand, offices, and other overhead costs to spend on talent and tech instead.

Why it’s hot: For years, star real-estate agents have begun to build brands that outstrip the residential brokerages they work for. Side has turned that shift into a business opportunity under cofounders Guy Gal, Edward Wu, and Hilary Saunders. It doesn’t rent spiffy offices for its agents, spend money promoting its own moniker, or lavish hefty sums to recruit big-name talent. Instead, it has invested in building software to help agents, streamline their work, enhance their productivity, and market and grow their own boutique brokerage businesses.

The company has taken standard tools such as customer and transaction management systems and made them more intuitive. Some of the firm’s innovations are simple yet powerful time-savers. Side’s software platform, for instance, can do everything from build flashy websites that help agents market themselves to auto-populate forms that streamline the tedious paperwork of dealmaking.

Stock Market SmartRent

Stock Market Lucas Haldeman SmartRent Lucas Haldeman, the CEO of SmartRent.

SmartRent


City: Scottsdale, Arizona

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $102 million

What it does: Provides keyless entry, letting residents vet and grant remote access for deliveries, houseguests, and even self-guided tours to prospective buyers.

Why it’s hot: During the pandemic, the company raised $60 million in a Series C round, installed nearly 500,000 smart-home devices, expanded to 14 additional states, introduced partnerships with Ring and Amazon, and hired 99 new employees. 

The company’s initial pivot from a smart-home platform for lighting to a smart-home platform for remote entry under CEO Lucas Haldeman has proved particularly relevant during an era of social distancing, as its technology makes new necessities like self-guided apartment tours easier to conduct.

In an increasingly contactless world, SmartRent’s tools help landlords ensure full-building access control and even allow residents to do day-to-day tasks like remotely admitting a food-delivery worker into the building.

Stock Market Spruce

Stock Market Spruce founders Patrick Burns and Andrew Weisgall Spruce cofounders Andrew Weisgall (left) and Patrick Burns.

Spruce


City: New York City, but with location-agnostic hiring

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: Over $50 million

What it does: Creates digital closing tools for residential transactions.

Why it’s hot: Spruce’s mission is to shift real-estate transactions from onerous in-person tasks to fast digital buys. It acts as a third-party coordinator between homeowners, their lenders, and other relevant professionals, like real-estate attorneys, through the closing process. Spruce handles all aspects of a home purchase from title searches to escrow. Its goal is to ditch the notorious opacity and complexity behind real-estate transactions for everyone from first-time buyers to seasoned pros.

Spruce’s software can even lower the amount of time it takes to close on a property by an average of 25% and reduce title-insurance costs up to 20% in some states. And it has powered tens of thousands of transactions for homebuyers. Spruce’s main product makes money through both a standard closing fee and a premium it charges as the “agent of record” in the title-insurance transaction, the traditional revenue stream for closing companies, Insider previously reported.

With SprucePowered, clients are able to pocket both those amounts. They pay Spruce a flat fee that corresponds with the volume of transactions. The company doubled its number of employees in 2020, and Spruce’s CEO and cofounder, Patrick Burns, said he expected demand for the company’s services to grow.

Spruce recorded 4.5x growth from January 2020 to January 2021, the company told Insider.

Stock Market States Title

Stock Market Max Simkoff, CEO of States Title Max Simkoff, the CEO of States Title.

States Title


City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $379.6 million

What it does: Online real-estate closings.

Why it’s hot: By bringing real-estate transactions like titles and escrows online, States Title seeks to streamline and digitize the process of closing on a home. Homeowners, lenders, real-estate professionals, and title agents use the platform’s patented machine-intelligence technology to execute more efficient, affordable closings for lenders.

The company’s mission is “to create an instant mortgage closing experience for lenders and consumers” by using data science to deliver documents with automation tools that speed up the closing process from days to just minutes, according to a press release. And it’s doing it by eliminating the added time and margin for human error a closing agent would traditionally bring to the table.

“States Title’s growth is due in part to mortgage refinance tailwinds and COVID having accelerated adoption and reliance on technology across all aspects of real estate,” the company, helmed by CEO Max Simkoff, said in a statement to Insider, “leading to usage of States Title’s core product that has far exceeded projections that were set for 2020.”

Stock Market TurboTenant

Stock Market Sarnen Steinbarth, TurboTenant CEO Sarnen Steinbarth, TurboTenant’s CEO.

TurboTenant


City: Fort Collins, Colorado

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: About $10 million

What it does: Provides free property-management software for landlords.

Why it’s hot: Property management can be intimidating for landlords, especially as their portfolios grow and units become harder to track. Led by CEO Sarnen Steinbarth, TurboTenant aims to streamline rental management and has served more than 300,000 landlords and 5 million renters in just five years with its all-in-one property-management tool.

Its software offers a simple platform for landlords to manage their units for rent, from advertising an available unit to screening a tenant applicant and collecting rent online. Users can manage everything from lease signings to tenant maintenance requests online — and for landlords, it’s totally free. TurboTenant makes money by collecting tenant application fees.

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