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Big Real Estate Beasts From The U.S., UK And Asia Back Fifth Wall’s $500M PropTech Fund

Fifth Wall founders Brendan Wallace and Brad Greiwe

A host of the biggest names in global real estate have backed the new $503M (£405M) fund raised by specialist real estate technology venture capital firm Fifth Wall.

Los Angeles-based Fifth Wall’s first fund raised $212M from nine real estate investors, all of them from the U.S. Now, its second fund has more than doubled that, and received investment from more than 50 investors from 11 countries, highlighting how interest in adopting technologies that will change the real estate sector is rapidly spreading across the globe.

In the U.S. those investors include CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, D.R. Horton, Equity Residential, Essent, Hines, Host Hotels & Resorts, Hudson Pacific Properties, Lennar, Macerich, Marriott International, MetLife Investment Management, PulteGroup, Starwood Capital, Related Cos. and Toll Brothers, plus one slightly anomalous looking non-real estate name, media company News Corp. News Corp owns a residential real estate information company called Move in which Fifth Wall invests.

Two of the three largest UK REITs, Segro and British Land, have invested in the fund. In Europe, Paris office specialist Gecina and Spanish REIT Merlin Properties put money in.

Asian investors include Kenedix and Mitsubishi Estate in Japan and Keppel Corp. in Singapore.

Fifth Wall has made 33 investments through its funds, according to data from Crunchbase. These include investments in software company VTS, shared scooter and bike company Lime, home-selling platform Opendoorcoworking company Industrious and tech-led storage company Clutter.

Its most recent investment was in June, when it invested in a $35M Series B funding round for Cobalt, a company that builds indoor robots that work alongside human security guards to provide greater security.

A bit less than $20B was invested in PropTech in 2018, a 37% increase on 2017, according to Venture Scanner.

A big reason why real estate companies invest in Fifth Wall funds is to get advice on how technology will change the sector, and access to companies that can help them evolve their businesses. With that in mind, nine members of Fifth Wall’s 30-person team work on advising its investors on structuring tech deals and adopting new technology.

“Fifth Wall sees powerful network effects in our unique fund model as it becomes a centralized platform for the world's largest real estate companies to share insights and access new technologies to enhance their businesses,” Fifth Wall co-founder and Managing Partner Brendan Wallace said. “For our entrepreneurs, Fifth Wall efficiently opens distribution channels for their products to more than 50 corporate strategic investors globally and we have dedicated a team to support the success of those partnerships and integrations.”

“There’s no doubt that technology will have a huge impact on the property sector in the years to come, from the way we interact with our customers to how we invest in, build and manage our assets,” Segro Director of Digital and Technology James Power said. “The success of Fifth Wall shows the industry’s determination to ensure we’re fit for the future and we look forward to working with the next generation of entrepreneurs who are going to transform the built environment, particularly in the industrial space.”