Future City: JLL’s latest proptech play; Entrata chairman ousted
JLL bought the cloud-based “virtual engineering” platform Hank for an undisclosed sum, adding to its smart building offerings.
JLL was a major player in 2021’s record year of M&A, buying the data analytics platform Skyline AI and the building operations platform Building Engines. With Hank, the firm adds a building management platform it says can boost “tenant comfort” and save owners up to 30 percent on energy costs.
Sacramento-based Hank uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to manage lighting, heating, security and other functions. Its technology can integrate with any property management system.
Hank will be folded into JLL Technologies, the firm’s proptech arm, where Hank CEO Zachary Denning will serve as director of sustainability product.
David Bateman, chairman and former CEO of the multifamily property management platform Entrata, resigned after sending an email to tech and political leaders in which he framed the pandemic and vaccination drive as an elaborate Jewish plot to take over the world.
“I believe the pandemic and systemic extermination of billions of people will lead to an effort to consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule,” Bateman said in the message.
Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds first denounced the remarks, then confirmed that Bateman had been asked to resign his board position. “The opinions expressed by Dave were his alone, and do not reflect the views or values of Entrata, the executive team, board of directors, or investors,” he said.
Bateman, who remains Entrata’s largest shareholder, had stepped down as CEO last year as the firm raised $507 million in its first external funding round — the largest single proptech fundraise of 2021.
Splitting the difference
Hemlane, a rental property management platform, raised $9 million in a funding round co-led by Asymmetric Capital Partners and Prudence.
The average individual rental property owner manages only a few assets, and traditionally they’ve relied on expensive full-service third parties to manage them or do it themselves. Hemlane wants to split the difference and make professional property management cheaper and more bespoke.
Hemlane’s software platform automates the full rental cycle. It helps owners find tenants, address complaints, source local services and coordinate repairs. The startup wants to bring owners with only a couple properties into the fold of professional management.
Roughly 72% of individuals who buy rentals for passive income manage them themselves, and they do it reluctantly, Dana Dunford, Hemlane’s co-founder and CEO, told The Real Deal.
“Any part of the rental process that our software can automate, we will,” she said.
No valuation figure was offered with the details about the fundraise.
STAT OF THE MONTH
Venture capital poured $32 billion into real estate technology companies in 2021.
Haystacks.AI, a startup that wants to tip off investors to emerging popular housing markets before they’ve really taken off, raised $5 million in seed funding.
The startup, led by CEO Sourav Goswami, says it can give investors an edge by layering into primary structured real estate data alternative information like sentiment data, gathered from unlikely sources like Yelp reviews.
“Alternative data has never really been incorporated into real estate decision-making, largely because it was difficult to collate,” Goswami said.
For now, the platform is focused on the single-family rental market, which Goswami described as at a “unique inflection point,” where it has become more institutional but its data is still opaque.
Streamlined Ventures and Colle Capital led the funding round. Adit Ventures also participated, alongside a handful of prominent individuals within the industry.
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