Make it out to…
Blank-check companies have hauled in billions in 2021 despite the controversy surrounding the investment model. A new name, Southport Acquisition Corp., entered the SPAC arena in early December with plans to target a mortgage or other real estate-related startup.
Southport raised $230 million in an initial public offering that closed Dec. 14. It is looking to invest in a “leading financial services software of FinTech partner, with particular focus on mortgage and real estate software verticals,” between $50 million and $100 million of revenue, and a valuation of between $1 billion and $2 billion, according to an investor prospectus.
Southport is led by Jeb Spencer, co-founder and managing partner of TVC Capital. Spencer has also served on the board of Ellie Mae.
Good real estate is good real estate, whether it’s in a swank zip code or a popular corner of one of the emergent metaverses, according to Michael Phillips, president of the real estate firm Jamestown.
Jamestown, the company behind Manhattan’s Chelsea Market and San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square, has already ventured into the metaverse with investments in “programming companies and in a variety of solutions to facilitate our movement” in the virtual world, Phillips said at a proptech conference earlier this month in New York.
“It’s about where you think you’re going to aggregate people and pathways and squares in this virtual third space,” Phillips said. “It’s the same monopoly that we play in real life.”
Attendees debated the potential use cases and possible threats virtual real estate could pose to the brick-and-mortar market. Phillips described the technology as likely complementary to legacy real estate in the same way mobile technology has been.
“I don’t know how many steps forward and how many steps back it takes to get to full adoption, but it’ll be faster than we think,” he said.
The metaverse is “the same monopoly that we play in real life.”
Jupe, a San Francisco-based startup that makes quickly deployable housing units for remote terrain, raised $9.5 million in a seed round led by Initialized Capital.
Jupe wants to facilitate off-grid mobile living and, through its “short-stay-as-service land partner program,” a kind of Airbnb for camping. The startup’s customers provide the land, and Jupe delivers, installs, books and maintains the yurt-like units. The customer gets a portion of the rental income.
The company says its “beautiful and dignified” shelters can alleviate housing crises following natural disasters and scale to meet the $4 billion “glamping” market. The company will use the new funds to hire a chief technology officer, among other staff.
Y Combinator also participated in the seed round.
STAT OF THE MONTH
37 proptech financing rounds of more than $50 million in the third quarter.
Perchwell, a data and workflow platform for real estate agents, hauled in $15 million in a Series A round led by Founders Fund.
New York-based Perchwell aggregates market data and analysis, facilitates listing and transaction searches, and helps agents streamline workflows. Its interoperability — its ability to communicate with other technology products — sets it apart from competitors, the company said. Perchwell will use the funds to fill out its product and engineering teams and expand nationally.
Perchwell is already used by prominent brokerages including Sotheby’s International Realty, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Serhant. Lux Capital, Matterport and California Regional MLS also participated in the funding round.
• Ribbon, a startup that helps homebuyers make cash offers in competitive markets, expanded into Alabama. The startup focused initially on the Southeast but set its sights on Midwest and West Coast markets after raising $150 million in a Series C round in September.
Ribbon wants to offer its services in half the country by 2023, co-founder Shaival Shah told The Real Deal earlier in 2021.
• Dottid, a Dallas-based SaaS platform for commercial real estate, raised $4.5 million in new funding and entered a strategic partnership with Lincoln Property Company, a residential developer.
• Crexi, the online commercial real estate marketplace, recorded the largest single-asset online transaction ever, when an unidentified joint-venture buyer purchased an office and industrial park in Las Vegas for $205 million.