LAB Miami partners launch $50M proptech fund

LAB Fund 1 will target investors in the real estate industry

Thomas “Tigre” Wenrich
Thomas “Tigre” Wenrich

The partners behind the LAB Miami, a co-working space, are launching a proptech fund with the goal of raising $50 million, The Real Deal has learned.

Thomas “Tigre” Wenrich, CEO of the LAB Miami, and his partners, Juan Pablo Cappello, Marco Giberti and Eduardo Barco plan to announce the fund at their Future of Real Estate Tech Summit next week. Tom Roth of Grass River Property is an adviser to the fund.

LAB Fund 1 will target investors in the real estate industry to invest in technology software and products for real estate and construction. Wenrich said he expects the fund will write $500,000 checks for up to 25 companies, an amount that could grow.

It’s the first proptech fund of its kind in Florida, Wenrich said.

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Investment in real estate technology has ramped up in recent years. Venture capital investment in the real estate tech sector totaled $12.6 billion last year, up from $4.2 billion in 2016. During an earnings call in February, JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich credited his firm’s growing focus on co-working and real estate technology investments for contributing to $4.9 billion in reported revenue in the fourth quarter.

But the number of investment deals in the proptech industry fell in 2017, according to a recent report from Re:Tech.

Wenrich and his partners started the LAB, at 400 Northwest 26th Street in Wynwood, about seven years ago to support tech entrepreneurs in Miami. While there’s no shortage of collaborative co-working spaces like it in Miami today, Wenrich said startups are still challenged by a lack of access to capital and other resources.

The partners also co-founded Miami Angels, which raised over $3 million spread across a dozen companies in 2018, and LAB Ventures, a studio that develops projects internally in the real estate, travel and tourism sectors.