Euro machine learning startup plans NYC rental platform, the punch list goes digital & other proptech news

New York City rentals (Credit: iStock)
New York City rentals (Credit: iStock)

Digital marketplace gets a boost

CRE digital marketplace CREXi nabbed $30 million in a Series B round led by Mitsubishi Estate Company, Industry Ventures, and Prudence Holdings. The new funds will help them build out a subscription service aimed at brokers and an analytics service that highlights trends in the industry. The company wants to become the go-to platform for every step in the CRE process, from marketing to sale.

Dude, where’s my tech-fueled hotel chain?

Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures and travel-focused VC firm Thayer Ventures have gotten behind hospitality startup Life House, leading a $30 million Series B round. The company runs a boutique hotel chain as well as a management platform, which gives hotel owners access to AI-based pricing and automated financial accounting. Life House has over 800 rooms across cities such as Miami and Denver, with plans to expand to 25 hotels by next year.

Working from home

As the deadly Coronavirus virus outbreak becomes more serious with every hour, WeWork said it is temporarily closing 55 locations in China. The struggling co-working company encouraged employees at these sites to work from home or in private rooms to keep from catching the virus. Also this week, the startup closed a three-year deal to provide office space for 250 employees of gym membership company Gympass, per Reuters. WeWork’s owner SoftBank is a minority investor in Gympass so it looks like Masa Son’s using some parts of his portfolio to prop up others.

Stat of the Week300,000

That’s how many listings rental platform/flatmate matcher Badi has across London, Berlin, Madrid, and Barcelona. Barcelona-based Badi claims to use machine-learning technology to match tenants and rooms. Badi plans on hopping across the pond to New York City within the year. It’s an interesting market for the Barcelona-based company to enter. Though most people use a platform like StreetEasy to find an apartment with a traditional landlord, few established companies have cracked the sublet game without running afoul New York City’s rental laws. In effect, Badi would likely be competing with Facebook groups such as Gypsy Housing plus wanna-be-my-roommate startups like Roomi and SpareRoom. Badi is backed by Goodwater Capital, Target Global, Spark Capital and Mangrove Capital. The firm has raised over $45 million in VC funding since its founding in 2015.

Pink slips at Compass

Uh oh, yet another SoftBank-funded startup is laying off employees. Up to 40 employees of tech brokerage Compass in the IT, marketing and M&A departments will be getting the pink slip this week. Sources told E.B. Solomont that the nationwide cuts are a part of a reorganization to introduce a new “Agent Experience Team” that will take over onboarding and training new agents from former employees. It’s a small number of cuts compared to the 18,000 employees Compass has across the U.S. but it isn’t a great look in today’s business climate.

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Getting ready to move

As SoftBank-backed hospitality startup Oyo continues to cut back, their arch nemesis RedDoorz just launched a new co-living program in Indonesia. They’re targeting young professionals and college students with the KoolKost service, dishing out shared units with flexible leases and free WiFi. Their main business, like Oyo, is running a network of budget hotels across Southeast Asia. We’ll see if co-living will help them avoid some of Oyo’s profitability problems.

Startup Spotlight

Homes on Olympus

It’s no secret that it can be a pain to figure out a place to live when work needs you to move to a new city for a bit. You can take your pick between bland corporate housing and Airbnbs designed for quick vacations. That’s where Zeus comes in (not with a thunderbolt but with a corporate housing platform.)

Zeus signs two-year minimum leases with landlords, furnishes the apartments with couches meant to look chic, and rents them out to employees for 30 days or more. They currently manage around 2,000 furnished homes with the goal of filling a newly added apartment within 10 days.

The corporate housing is a competitive space with startups like Domio and Sonder also trying to lure in business travelers. You’d think that Zeus would have to go one-on-one with Airbnb but the two companies actually have a partnership. The short-term rental giant lists Zeus properties on its platform and invested in the company as a part of a $55 million Series B round last month. They’re trying to keep competition close.

Punch lists go digital

Home renovations platform Punch List just scored $4 million in a seed round led by early stage VC funds Bling Capital and Bedrock Capital, per Crunchbase. The platform lets homeowners track project progress and gives contractors a place to send digital invoices, all on a newly launched app. They want to make as much of the frustrating process of remodeling as digital as possible.