PropTech/Fintech Delights & Distresses

David Goldsmith

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Proptech, meet fintech: HomeLight raises $60M and gobbles up Accept​

“Extension” of Series D values firm at $1.7B​

The proptech firm HomeLight has acquired the fintech Accept.inc and raised an additional $60 million in equity financing from Zeev Ventures.
The fundraise, which the San Francisco-based startup billed as an extension of its Zeev-led $100 million Series D round last September, values the company at $1.7 billion — just above its $1.6 billion valuation last year. It also secured $50 million in debt capital.

HomeLight, which early last year was reported to be nearing an IPO, seeks to streamline the homebuying process by facilitating contingency-free, cash transactions. It has now raised $645 million in equity financing.

HomeLight said it used stock to acquire Denver-based Accept, a self-described iLender that facilitates cash offers for mortgage-ready buyers, but it did not disclose an equivalent dollar value. It now claims to be the largest “agent-focused cash offer program” in the country, having completed a combined $3 billion in referred transactions in the first quarter.

The acquisition — HomeLight’s third M&A deal in three years — and new funding comes at a tumultuous time for technology startups, which have narrowed their focus and cut costs amid macroeconomic turmoil and a more stringent fundraising environment.

Venture capital has continued to flow into proptech, but its pace has moderated, and startup valuations have come down as newly cautious investors have demanded more favorable terms, according to venture capitalists in the space.
“Flat is the new up in this market,” said HomeLight founder and CEO Drew Uher.
Recent belt-tightening has been particularly hard on later-stage startups, which during the pandemic-era investment boom raised piles of cash at ever-higher valuations in a frenzied pursuit of growth. Lately many have resorted to layoffs, including most recently at the digital mortgage lenders Tomo and Better.com, and the brokerage Side.

Founded in 2012 with investments from Google Ventures and Group 11, HomeLight says its cash offer program’s transaction volume grew six-fold over the past year (Uher declined to disclose revenue or other performance metrics.) It offers the program in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and Texas, and will expand in the next few months into Accept’s other domains, which include Minnesota and the Portland and Seattle markets.

There will be no near-term layoffs associated with the acquisition, according to Uher. But given the shift in investor sentiment, the days of rapid growth for startups like HomeLight are clearly over.
“We have reworked our hiring plan to be much more conservative through the end of the year,” he said.
HomeLight acquired Disclosures.io, a provider of listing management tools, in 2020. The previous year, it bought the digital mortgage lender Eave.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

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Zumper slashes 15% of staff​


Cuts at online rental platform add to slew of tech layoffs​


New York
Jun. 16, 2022 10:38 AM
By T.P. Yeatts and Suzannah Cavanaugh

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Zumper's Anthemos Georgiades (Getty, iStock)

Zumper’s Anthemos Georgiades (Getty, iStock)
Zumper, an online rental startup recognized last year as a top employer on multiple best-of lists, cut 15 percent of its approximate 300-person staff last Friday, The Real Deal has learned.
The majority of the cuts hit the San Francisco-based company’s sales and customer service departments, according to an axed employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. Members of the art department also were let go, per a LinkedIn post from a graphic designer who was among them.

Workers were sent notifications on Thursday for a next-day Zoom call outside of normal work hours, during which Zumper higher-ups communicated that the layoffs were budget-related, not performance-based, sources said.

“[W]hile I get the economics behind it this stings,” Casey S., a former customer service employee, said in a Tuesday LinkedIn post.
Zumper could not be reached for comment.
The cuts, the latest casualties of the ongoing tech rout, came amid a slew of layoffs at public and private real estate firms, including brokerages Compass, Side and Redfin and digital mortgage lenders Tomo and Better.com.

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Adverse capital market conditions stemming from rising interest rates have forced many companies to rein in spending, and head count is typically where cost-cutting starts.

Zumper, co-founded in 2012 by CEO Anthemos Georgiades and Russell Middleton, has raised some $179 million in equity financing through at least six funding rounds, including a $60 million Series D led by e.ventures in early 2020, according to Crunchbase. Last year the company was reported to be nearing an IPO.
A private company that operates in residential rentals, one of the more resilient commercial real estate segments, Zumper has been shielded somewhat from recent stock market volatility. But interest rates and inflation, and trepidation about a likely recession, have sapped venture capital’s appetite for risk, too.

The Federal Reserve raised a key interest rate by 75 basis points on Wednesday in a bid to stem inflation — the sharpest increase since 1994. The consumer price index, meanwhile, reached its highest level in more than four decades in May, driven by rising food and energy costs. The combination of factors pushed the S&P 500 into bear market territory.

A recent Zumper report showed rents nationally hit another all-time high in May. Higher unemployment during a recession could trigger rental defaults, creating headwinds for landlords and the proptech platforms that service them.
 
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