Prominent real estate families band together to fund tech investments

Companies are sharing info, access to portfolios

May.May 22, 2017 09:05 AM

From left: Richard LeFrak, Bill Rudin (credit: Getty Images) and Scott Wilpon

Prominent real estate families like the LeFraks, Rudins and Wilpons are teaming up to look for new opportunities in the real estate technology sector.

The families formed an informal network to streamline the investing process and provide a few promising tech companies with access to their industry relationships, customers and diverse portfolios, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We have generational assets and generational experience, and we can leverage that,” said Jeffrey Berman, vice president of real estate company Berman Enterprises LP and director of its venture arm, Camber Creek.

“Silicon Valley is running out of verticals to attack, and real estate is a big one,” said Bill Field, who manages the LeFrak family’s general investment portfolio and affiliates through LeFrak Investment Holdings.

For about a year, the group has been hosting events, sharing research and ideas and bringing in tech companies to pitch their ideas to its members, the Journal reported. The group came together after many of them invested in Latch, a startup that lets users unlock properties with their smartphones.

Global financing for real estate tech companies hit $2.7 billion in 2016, up from $451 million three years earlier, according to the research firm CB Insights. Funding for real estate tech companies in the New York metro area climbed from $73.9 million in 2013 to $227.8 million last year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

Rudin Ventures – the investment arm of the Rudin family – along with CBRE, Equity Residential and Hines have invested $212 million in a fund to target real estate, construction and hospitality startups. [WSJ]Rich Bockmann

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