This is a good time to start a proptech company

This is a good time to start a proptech company

Colton Pace

Colton Pace is an investor at Fika Ventures. He beforehand held roles investing at Vulcan Capital and Madrona Venture Labs.

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Like many issues in life, constructing nice companies is all about timing. We’ve seen multibillion greenback failures from the dot-com period corresponding to and Webvan be reincarnated a decade later as Chewy and Instacart — this time as runaway successes.

The identical may very well be mentioned about actual property expertise corporations, however startups on this class haven’t gotten the identical alternative and a focus as their friends in different sectors.

For a long time, proptech has acquired the brief finish of the stick. Real property is the world’s largest asset class value $277 trillion, 3 times the overall worth of all publicly traded corporations. Still, fintech corporations have acquired seven occasions extra VC funding than actual property corporations.

These decrease ranges of funding have been beforehand attributed to the gradual fee of expertise adoption and digitalization inside the true property business, however that is not the case. Companies in actual property are adopting innovation quicker than ever. Now, 81% of actual property organizations plan to make use of new digital applied sciences in conventional enterprise processes and spending on tech and software program is rising at over 11% per 12 months. Technological adoption has even accelerated all through the pandemic as enterprises have been pressured to rapidly adapt.

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Historically, the energy or weak point of the broader economic system and the true property business have been tightly coupled and correlated. While some could level to COVID-19’s damaging impression on sure components of actual property as proof that proptech can solely thrive in increase occasions, I imagine constructing a profitable proptech firm is much less about anticipating financial upswings and markets and extra about timing and benefiting from the suitable technological tendencies. In brief, that is nearly as good of a time as any to start out a proptech firm if you realize the place to look.

History is suffering from examples of corporations which have executed simply this. Let’s check out three:


  • Founded: 2002.
  • Early traction: Used by celeb housing tasks in California.
  • Inflection level: 2012 (individuals begin utilizing iPads and smartphones on job websites).
  • Today: $5 billion valuation as of May 2020.

Procore was based in 2002 within the aftermath of the dot-com bust, nicely earlier than widespread WiFi and 5 years earlier than the iPhone. The firm noticed the aptitude for software program and expertise to remodel the development business lengthy earlier than practitioners did. Its staff faithfully and stubbornly saved at it by the monetary disaster, however solely had $5 million in income by 2012. Here’s the place the timing kicks in: At this time, iPads and smartphones had turn into extra widespread on worksites, enabling widespread adoption.

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Realizing this transformation in-market and adapting to it, Procore strategically priced its product as a subscription, somewhat than based mostly on headcount, as was typical within the business. In this manner, early clients like Wieland and Mortenson received their subcontractors and temp staff to make use of the product, which then created a flywheel impact that unfold Procore to different tasks and shoppers. Fast ahead to right now, Procore now has greater than $290 million in ARR and is valued over $5 billion.

Procore’s persistence and agility finally enabled it to capitalize on the suitable technological tendencies and shifts, regardless of what initially appeared like a poorly timed determination to start out a software program firm in a recession. Procore is now on a enterprise exit path because it continues to amass new-age proptech corporations like Avata Technologies, Honest Buildings and BIMAnywhere.


  • Founded: 2006.
  • Early traction: Launched with 1 million web site visits.
  • Inflection level: 2009 (monetary disaster mindset).
  • Today: Public — $27 billion market capitalization.
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Zillow was based by the co-founders of Hotwire and Expedia. While which may not appear related, the imaginative and prescient to deliver transparency to shoppers is the connecting line, the mission being to offer entry to siloed information and information to beforehand convoluted industries. Before Zillow, householders didn’t know the way a lot their home was value. With Zillow’s Zestimate, shoppers can put a price ticket on each roof throughout North America.


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