Breaking Property News – 21/11/2023
Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.
Wes Snow’s from Acendix’s stateside views on the big events hitting property technology in November
Many people are amazed at how much I know about everything across the plan, build, lease sale and the management of property assets and the ever changing themes and drivers of digital transformation in real estate. Key to my knowledge gained in the last seven years, is doing private research and analysis and talking daily with the brightest minds globally about what is going on, leveraging my knowledge base.
A huge example of a really great mind in the reale estate/proptech space is Wes Snow CEO and Co-founder of Ascendix Technolgies, and I asked him to give our readers here in the UK a whistlestop, top of the mind tour of what is happening, as seen through an American lens. Also if you are looking for a really compident pair of hands to help you solve some problems he really is one of the topflight people to talk to.
So Wes, what are the big trending items that are happening in the industry as you see it?
Wes Snow CEO of Ascendix Technolgies, ‘Hey folks! Well Andrew I know everyone heard about WeWork announcing its bankruptcy, I was left as speechless as you are now. So let’s start with them.’
#1: WeWork Files for Bankruptcy Amid Office Market Downturn ‘The hottest news tending, blame it on inefficient management, the pandemic, or economic downturns, but WeWork, the once high-flying desk-renting startup, has filed for bankruptcy. WeWork plans to convert $3 billion of existing loans and bonds into equity as part of the restructuring. The bankruptcy filing seeks to terminate 69 leases, emphasizing the importance of rationalizing its office portfolio.
As we can see, the bankruptcy underscores broader challenges in the office property sector, though experts note that WeWork’s locations were often in second-tier buildings and struggling locations. Who or what is to blame for WeWork’s fall of grace? Anyway, when one door closes, another opens, and that’s why we’re moving to promising proptech startups to lift our spirits.’
#2: This Proptech Startup Claims that Generative Design Can Change the Future of City Building ‘We all know how much time the housing project evaluation takes, right? But with this new proptech solution, we can finally cut down on time and resources.
We all know how much time the housing project evaluation takes, right? But with this new proptech solution, we can finally cut down on time and resources.
Cedar, a proptech company, aims to assist real estate developers in streamlining the sourcing and evaluation of new housing projects. Recognizing the prolonged processes and costs associated with acquiring, designing, and permitting housing projects, Cedar’s software uses generative algorithms to assess land or property, generating various building designs. The platform, which saves months of work and enhances evaluation times, addresses the housing crisis in urban infill development.
The company recently secured $3 million in seed funding, led by Caffeinated Capital, to further develop its technology and expand to additional cities beyond Austin. Way to go, Cedar!’
#3: US-Based Second Home Ownership Platform Raises $68M ‘From what I’ve found in my research, fractional ownership, especially second homeownership, is gaining traction again. Once started by Pacaso in 2020, second homeowhership is a hit again, all shaped by the home crisis. Go Summer, founded by two former Airbnb employees Paul Kromidas and Woods Buckley, has successfully raised $18 million in a Series A funding round and secured an additional $50 million in debt facility.
Led by QED Investors and Viola FinTech, the funding aims to streamline second home ownership by offering a “try before you buy” model, ensuring an income post-purchase to reduce ownership costs and boost equity gains. Co-founded by former Airbnb employees, Go Summer plans to expand nationally with the raised funds. Good luck, Go Summer! Now let’s move to the next piece.’
#4: Radius Raises $13M After a Year of 330% Revenue Growth ‘Radius Agent, a real estate brokerage platform, has secured $13 million in a Series B funding round led by AXA Venture Partners, along with participation from NFX, Cota Capital, Sierra Ventures, and other existing investors.
Radius focuses on supporting real estate professionals and teams with a simplified commission structure, integrated technology, mentorship, recruiting, financial services, and marketing resources. The funding will be used to scale the team and enhance services, following a year of significant growth with a 293% increase in its agent base and a 330% rise in revenue.’
#5: Zillow Acquires CRM Follow Up Boss ‘Zillow Group is set to acquire CRM system Follow Up Boss for an initial cash consideration of $400 million and a potential cash earnout of up to $100 million. Follow Up Boss, recognized for its excellence in the real estate industry, will continue to operate as an independent brand, maintaining its standalone product offering and supporting third-party integration partners.
Zillow’s President, Susan Daimler, expressed the company’s commitment to investing in technology solutions that enhance the experience for agents and clients. The acquisition includes approximately 100 full-time Follow Up Boss employees, who will join Zillow Group after the deal’s closure. Congratulations, Zillow, on a successful venture!’
#6: JLL Asks Whether Sustainability Tech Boom Can Help Decarbonize Real Estate ‘… and the answer is “Yes!” but companies will have to standardize their data across smart building systems, possibly with the help of AI. Sustainability technologies are becoming a top priority for businesses facing carbon reduction deadlines, with an increasing focus on managing and reporting sustainability progress.
JLL’s survey reveals that 45% of occupiers and 62% of investors globally plan to adopt energy or emissions management tech in the coming year. Companies are advised to clarify objectives, set benchmarks for success, and invest in training to maximize the value of sustainability tech.’
#7: Housing Market Predictions For 2023: When Will Home Prices Be Affordable Again? ‘Yeap, coming back to the home crisis again, so brace yourselves, folks. In their research, Forbes found that housing affordability is at historical lows with surging mortgage rates reaching a 23-year high of 7.79%. The 30-year fixed rate slightly eased to 7.76%, providing a brief relief after seven consecutive weeks of increases.
Despite rising foreclosure activity, a wave of foreclosures is not expected in 2023 due to a significant number of equity-rich properties. Prospective buyers are advised to focus on finding a home that meets their needs and is affordable, as timing the housing market is challenging.
Grosvenor Systems hires new Sales Director to oversee growth
Guy Wendon to lead sales growth strategy at leading property management software company
Grosvenor Systems has just announced the appointment of Sales Director, Guy Wendon, as the leading property management software company continues to accelerate its growth plans. Guy joins from Neighbourly, a leading B-Corp and corporate giving programme, where he worked closely with major businesses such as Lidl, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Co-op Food, First Rail and TSB Bank. He has over 18 years’ experience directing sales strategies across finance and SaaS industries.
At Grosvenor Systems, Guy will focus on new sales strategies to spearhead the business’ growing hosted offering, providing customers with more secure, resilient and environmentally sustainable property management software solutions. As part of the business’ growth plans, Guy will help customers across the property industry progress their digital transformation plans, in line with demand.
On his new role, Guy said: “I am thrilled to be joining Grosvenor Systems, a leading software business which has been trusted by property managers, owners, agents and investors for decades to run their properties efficiently. I look forward to helping to drive innovative sales strategies as we continue to accelerate our cloud services.”
Grant Chaplin, Managing Director, comments: “We are delighted to have Guy joining the team as a Sales Director, at an exciting time for Grosvenor Systems’ growth plans for both new and existing clients, particularly as we evolve our cloud solutions. Guy brings both energy and experience to the team and I am looking forward to working closely with him to grow the business. 2024 is already shaping up to be an exciting year.”