The real estate business is finally getting renovated, as a new wave of startups build property-technology platforms that improve or simplify the complicated process of buying, selling, renting, or owning a home. And VCs have been more than willing to open their checkbooks: Since 2013, annual investment in U.S. proptech companies has grown at a rate five times that of investment in all U.S. businesses. In 2019, investment in U.S. proptech is on pace to exceed $10 billion. Here’s where some of this year’s money has gone.
Compass hosts real estate listings on an easy-to-use online platform. It also provides tools for agents, including real-time pricing, marketing software, and automated multiplatform listings, leaving more time for face-to-face meetings with clients.
Opendoor buys homes directly from sellers in exchange for cash, which helps them afford down payments on their new digs. The company holds DIY open houses that allow almost anybody with a smartphone to tour a home–without an agent–between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Better, a direct lender, allows homebuyers to quickly get a mortgage via a simple online application. Plus, no commissions and no fees mean borrowers pay only interest.
Nextdoor keeps people up-to-date on events in their neighborhood. The social network also helps neighbors find babysitters and pet sitters, swap safety tips, and, of course, gossip.
Clutter packs, stores, and moves its customers’ belongings–and lets them track their inventory online. A forthcoming feature will help customers decide what to move, sell, or donate with a few clicks.
Lemonade’s app lets homeowners and renters buy insurance against life’s lemons, such as losses from fire, water damage, and theft.