Watch: Can venture capital solve real estate’s wicked problems?

Camber Creek's Casey Berman on proptech's role in sustainability and the future of homes and offices

Chicago /
Jul.July 22, 2021 10:00 AM

Billions of venture capital dollars have flowed into real estate to improve the experience of residents, office tenants and landlords themselves. But where’s the money for the really important stuff? The climate crisis, the national housing shortage and other wicked problems?

“The largest challenge is that there’s no silver bullet,” said Casey Berman, co-founder of proptech-focused VC firm Camber Creek Partners. “You can’t say we’re going to decrease the cost of construction by 90 percent, so people can have the American dream of being a homeowner. There are a TON of step changes that are happening, that together are creating this massive change.”

In a conversation with The Real Deal‘s Hiten Samtani, Berman broke down several of those step changes, including advances in how buildings can measure and track their sustainability, which in turn leads to changes in behavior.

He also dished on the proliferation of money in the real estate tech space, and how it was important for startups to balance their capital needs with the kind of growth that different types of investors expect. The dramatic failure of construction tech startup Katerra, he said, exemplifies a failure to navigate that balance.

“With venture capital, your expectation is hypergrowth,” Berman explained. “With a company that does modular homebuilding, it is incredibly hard to grow at 100 percent per year when you have such a capital-intensive business. That’s not to say it isn’t more efficient or doesn’t use fewer resources. The challenge that we see is matching the right type of capital with the step changes that are happening to make the world a better place to get rid of the wicked problems we have.”

Watch the full interview above. — TRD Staff

(To check out more of The REInterview, a series of his in-depth conversations with real estate leaders and newsmakers, click here. https://therealdeal.com/tag/the-reinterview/ )


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