See the pitch decks that buzzy real estate and construction tech startups used to raise millions from top VCs

Cove.tool founders (from left) Sandeep Ahuja, Patrick Chopson and Daniel Chopson. They're smiling and wearing Cove.tool shirts and blazers.
Cove.tool cofounders (from left) Daniel Chopson, Sandeep Ahuja, and Patrick Chopson built a platform that drastically cuts down the amount of time it takes to analyze a building’s energy efficiency. They raised $5.7 million.

  • Proptech firms were already hot, but the pandemic lured more VCs to invest in them than ever before.
  • Real estate and construction tech tools became essential to many businesses once they went remote.
  • These pitch decks reveal how 16 different startups pitched their visions and products to investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The real estate and construction industries are undergoing a major tech transformation, as startups touting everything from online home-buying to interactive office management software attract millions of dollars in venture funding.

While the property technology space, known as proptech, grew in size and dollars raised year over year, it has exploded during the pandemic. Stragglers who hadn’t yet adopted digital workflows were forced to, and venture capitalists have been pouring money into the firms offering compelling new products in residential real estate, commercial real estate, construction tech, and short-term rentals and hospitality.

Insider has collected 16 pitch decks that the most successful firms have used to raise funding from VCs and private equity firms.

Check out the full collection below. And bookmark this page, because we will continue to update it with new pitch decks.

Residential real estate

Doorvest Co Founder Image
Andrew Luong (left) and Justin Kasad, who raised $2.5 million for their single-family rental startup Doorvest.

Residential real estate, more than any other segment of the market, has been on fire during the pandemic, with home prices and rents in almost every corner of the country skyrocketing. Venture investment into the tech that powers the industry – and helps take it online and streamline formerly tedious processes – has followed. Startups that help investors purchase and manage homes from afar, tools for residential brokers and leasing agents, and digital closing companies that digitize paper-heavy real estate transactions have all raised impressive sums.

Commercial real estate

Nick Gayeski, cofounder and CEO of Clockwork Analytics
Nick Gayeski, cofounder and CEO of Clockwork Analytics, which raised $8 million for its platform that monitors building ventilation.

Even though COVID-19 has left many offices partially filled and retail stores vacant, startups that help companies make their spaces virus-safe – by, say, keeping track of social distancing or monitoring building ventilation – became extremely important. Firms that promised to reduce friction (and costs) in day-to-day operations by digitizing them also attracted venture investment.

Construction tech

Mosaic cofounder and CEO Salman Ahmad
Mosaic cofounder and CEO Salman Ahmad works on ways to build homes faster and cheaper. He raised $14 million last year.

The pandemic boosted traditional construction companies’ interest in the high-tech corner of the sector. Startups that make digital tools to manage worksites from afar suddenly became indispensable, while the current housing shortage brought even more attention to companies that are developing ways to build faster and more cheaply.

Short-term rentals and hospitality

Roman Pedan, Kasa Founder and CEO
Founder and CEO Roman Pedan raised $30 million for his short-term rental startup Kasa.

Early in the pandemic, hospitality businesses stalled as travel halted across the globe. Once things opened back up, short-term rental companies with rural locations or a presence in smaller cities started to see the reservations – and funding – pour in. As a vaccinated travel boom looms, the tech-enabled companies rivaling Airbnb that enable flexible tourism, digital nomadism, and remote work are poised to benefit.

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The return to the office will be a mess, but this brand-new software could help companies manage workers’ unpredictable hybrid schedules

Nick Iovacchini, cofounder and CEO of Kettlespace
Nick Iovacchini, cofounder and CEO of Kettlespace.

  • Kettlespace announced the release of new software to manage hybrid workforces.
  • Workers can use KettleOS to reserve desks and to track their remote and in-person schedules.
  • Companies can use the software to track and monitor office usage and their employees’ experiences.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The return to the office is expected to be hybrid for most companies, with the exception of some banks and financial institutions. But what “hybrid” will look like in this brand-new world differs by company and industry.

A few companies, like Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing and software sales firm Hubspot, allowed workers to divide their time between home and the office before the pandemic. But for most, it’s uncharted territory.

Kettlespace – a New York-based flexible office space provider that turns nighttime restaurants into daytime offices available to rent by remote workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers – has developed a potential solution for companies figuring out how to manage a hybrid return to work. Today, Kettlespace unveiled software that will allow companies to manage their space and remote work protocols, while also generating data about worker habits that can be analyzed to adjust company policies over time.

Kettlespace had to shut down all of its locations at the start of the pandemic. CEO and cofounder Nick Iovacchini told Insider that the company developed the software, called KettleOS, after interviewing more than 1,000 executives about the return to work. It would be much more like an experiment, Iovacchini said, than a single, discrete event.

“First we will crawl, then walk, then fly, then run,” Iovacchini told Insider. “We built this tool to help start the process of learning, taking in feedback and data over time, and then optimizing the right blend.”

The software was first used by a major NYC university, which Kettlespace does not have permission to identify, in order to bring employers and students back to campus.

Workers can log into KettleOS to book desks – similar to making a restaurant reservation – and, eventually, nab spots in local coworking spaces or flexible offices. Employers, on the other hand, can use it to manage office permissions and schedules, communicate with employees about timeframes and protocols, and examine data on office usage. (Pricing will be determined based on the size of an organization and the depth of the features they require.)

“Other folks are looking at a slice of this,” Iovacchini said. “But we’re trying to step back and zoom out and look at the whole cycle.”

A pandemic pivot

Kettlespace was founded in 2016 by Iovacchini, a restaurateur, and Dan Rosenzweig, a former WeWork real estate associate. The idea was to turn unused restaurants into coworking space while also avoiding the high cost of office leases by sharing revenue with the restaurant owners. By 2020, the company was managing over 100 locations in the New York City area.

Dan Rosenzweig, co-founder of Kettlespace
Dan Rosenzweig, co-founder of Kettlespace

One Friday in March 2020, the company closed all its workspaces due to the coronavirus. By Monday, they had released all of their restaurant office spaces and began to downsize their team. The company has yet to reopen its Kettlespace locations but plans to begin doing so in June.

With time to explore, the founders talked to a wide range of experts and developed a hypothesis about how office work would change after the pandemic.

“The age-old power dynamics between employer and employee have fundamentally changed. And in order to attract and retain top talent, employers will have to come to the table to reach a new equilibrium balancing time in-office and time off-site,” Iovacchini said in a press release accompanying the KettleOS launch.

This led to the development of the app, which companies can customize with their own branding. The app should help companies manage the multi-step process of return, Iovacchini said. First, it will coordinate which employees work where, at what times, followed by engagement and employee culture initiatives that try to even the playing field between remote and in-person employees.

The next step, creating alternative workspaces for employees closer to their homes but not in them, could drive an upsurge of demand for the restaurants-turned-daytime offices of Kettlespace’s original business model. The company will allow users to book time in any location and will make decisions about where to open new locations based on the demand they’re seeing in the app.

Iovacchini walked Insider through a demo of KettleOS. Read more below.

Kettlespace – which turns empty restaurants into daytime flexible office space for businesses and individuals – is now helping companies manage their employees’ return to the physical workplace.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

The software platform, KettleOS, will help companies keep track of where, when, and how their employees work.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

The company is taking its expertise managing a flexible, changing portfolio of office space into the software realm. It conducted interviews with more than 1,000 business leaders to better understand the vagaries of the hybrid workplace.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

Kettlespace believes that data recorded via the app about employee habits and preferences during the early days of the return to the physical office will help businesses adjust their operations accordingly down the line.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

The KettleOS platform allows companies to separate their employees into teams, as well as set up specific procedures and schedules for each team.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

Part of the app allows employees to log their time working form home, book space in a main office, or reserve a spot in other spaces which eventually will include Kettlespace’s physical coworking locations.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

Clients can use the data Kettlespace collects to continue to adjust their remote-work policies and offerings. They might choose to add or subtract workspace options depending on employee habits. They can also monitor employee satisfaction and see how it correlates with work locations and schedules.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

KettleOS also offers a “portfolio view,” allowing companies to easily compare space utilization across their different offices.

Kettlespace Kettle OS

Other platforms offer office-space reservations and employee experience monitoring, but Kettlespace’s focus is on providing the sort of data that companies can marshal to inform strategic choices about office leasing and management.

Kettlespace Kettle OS
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These 31 startups are revolutionizing the way Americans buy homes and use offices

tech real estate vcs 4x3
The founders of “proptech” startups – firms that make various real-estate transactions or processes cheaper or more efficient using technology – are propelling a historically staid industry into the 21st century.

Real estate was long overdue for an overhaul.

Until recently, many processes that governed how physical spaces traded hands or were managed – not just buying, selling, and renting homes but also overseeing office towers and organizing warehouses – were only conducted via in-person deals or negotiations.

But a crop of companies focusing on real-estate technology, colloquially known as known as proptech, has emerged to modernize segments of the industry.

Take Beyond HQ, a San Francisco-based firm that harnesses proprietary technology to advise Bay Area companies when and where they should open new office locations. Then there’s MeetElise, an artificial-intelligence assistant (also known as a chatbot) that fields inquiries and requests from potential renters for landlords who own and operate multiple units.

Even before the pandemic, startups like these raised impressive sums. Then the coronavirus crisis hit. Social distancing made it even more essential to embrace new, virtual solutions for conducting the day-to-day essential tasks of the real-estate business. As a result, proptech startups – which made pockets of the sector faster, cheaper, and smarter – blossomed further. Beyond HQ raised $1.75 million, for example, while MeetElise pulled off a $6.5 million round in 2020.

To determine which startups are truly gamechangers, Insider reached out to venture capitalists to ask which proptech firms will continue to thrive in a post-pandemic world. We evaluated dozens of nominations for companies that are proving their relevance amid major cultural shifts in where employees live and what offices are even for. Also notable is increased digital adoption by everyday people buying or renting homes as well as industry professionals including realtors, landlords, office managers, contractors, and warehouse workers.

Weeks of careful vetting resulted in this list of the 31 hottest proptech startups right now.

Below, find two of the companies that VCs said have bright futures. Please see the full list for all 31 firms.

You can read the full story here if you’re an Insider subscriber.

Beyond HQ

Madhu Chamarty BeyondHQ
Madhu Chamarty, Beyond HQ founder & CEO.

City: San Francisco

Year founded: 2019

Total funding: $1.75 million 

What it does: Develops software to help companies figure out where and when they should open new offices. 

Why it’s hot: Two years ago, Madhu Charmaty noticed that tech companies in the Bay Area had tapped out the area’s workforce. He figured they could use a tool to explore other locations to set up operations and recruit talent, and Beyond HQ was born.

Then the coronavirus crisis prompted a mass nationwide migration of employees freed to relocate by the widespread adoption of flexible and remote work schedules. Now a year of pandemic work-from-home trends could further accelerate adoption of the company’s software, which pools data from myriad sources to calculate how firms can create a footprint that best caters to a resettled employee pool and evaluate the costs and opportunities of entering new markets.

Beyond HQ’s 2020 revenue was $200,000, Charmaty told Insider, adding that he expects to o more than double — to $500,000 — this year. The company is also close to raising another round of funding in range of $2.5 million to $3 million from venture capital backers, a sum that would bring its total fundraising to nearly $5 million. 

You can read the full story here if you’re an Insider subscriber.


MeetElise CEO Minna Song
MeetElise CEO Minna Song.

City: New York City

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $8.4 million

What it does: Artificial-intelligence assistant helps owners of multifamily properties lease units faster and more efficiently by communicating with prospective renters.

Why it’s hot: Created by two MIT and Cambridge grads, “Elise” is an AI chatbot that can almost instantly answer prospective renters’ questions about apartment availability, floor plans, special rates, and more.

This digital communication frees up leasing agents’ time and can easily convert house hunters to applicants to residents. The technology — which modernizes a once tedious paper-and-people-based leasing process — is already in use at two giant property-management companies, Equity Residential and AvalonBay. The two rental juggernauts manage a combined 160,000 apartments.

MeetElise, led by CEO Minna Song, raised $6.5 million in Series A funding during the pandemic.

You can read the full story here if you’re an Insider subscriber.

Want to see the rest of the hottest real estate tech startups? Click here to read the full list.

Read the original article on Business Insider