Last September, Brandon Weber gave up his day job as one of the leaders of commercial real estate tech’s most-hyped startup, VTS. He then decided to buy a one-way ticket and go traveling.
Weber had founded Hightower, which merged with its chief rival VTS in November 2016 to create what Weber and VTS boss Nick Romito billed as a $300 million company. But Weber was unsatisfied playing second fiddle to Romito, the CEO of the combined firm. He told The Real Deal at the time that, “long-term, I think I’m probably not going to be a chief product officer.”
Now, after a 12-month sabbatical traveling the world, and with just an extended road trip across California left on the bucket list, Weber is about to return to the New York real estate tech scene.
“I got about two weeks left,” he said by phone from Salt Lake City, Utah, before reeling off 15 countries he’s passed through.
He still works as an adviser to Romito at VTS. The company is now said to be valued at $1 billion after a $90 million Series D funding round in May, and just announced plans to launch an engineering hub in Toronto. But Weber has turned his attention to other startups. He is a board member of WiredScore, a firm that rates internet connectivity in buildings, and an advisor to CityBldr, which uses machine learning to assess underutilized investment properties.
He is also an adviser to and investor in Remarkably, a Seattle-based startup that provides marketing analytics for landlords with underperforming multifamily buildings. Last week, the firm announced that it raised $4.1 million in a Series A funding round, led by Wildcat Ventures. Remarkably, which launched in January, is now in 14 markets, including Los Angeles, Dallas and Nashville. Weber said that the funding round signals investor appetite for tech that target multifamily landlords, who deal with short lease terms and a high volume of transactions.
“We are going to see real rapid acceleration in multifamily data,” Weber said. “It’s so weird to me that we are not five years ahead and moneyballing the asset class.”
In January, CheckpointID, a firm that provides identity-verification services to multifamily landlords, raised $1.5 million. And in June, SmartRent, a firm that gives multifamily landlords the ability to control their building’s operational systems with their phone, raised $32 million in a Series B round from investors including Bain Capital Ventures and Starwood Capital.
Multifamily tech isn’t the only thing Weber says he’s working on. A year abroad has given him time to think of another project, which he said would be something “entrepreneurial.”
“A majority of my time will be spent solving another problem,” Weber said. “So stay tuned for that.”