Dec 14, 2021
Over the past five years, MetaProp has created a reliable path to early-stage traction for PropTech startups through the MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University. The results speak to the program’s strength. This year alone our accelerator alumni LiveBy (2019), Ravti (2017) and HOM (2018) exited through acquisitions, and our 2017 accelerator company Bowery raised a $25m Series B round, bringing their total fundraising to $66 million.
Although what we’re doing works, we’re not quite satisfied by that. By taking calculated risks now and allowing ourselves to grow through experimentation, we can improve the landscape for entrepreneurs now and in the future.
Part of that is participating in emerging real estate and technology markets globally. Our 2021-2022 Accelerator cohort has welcomed two impressive startups, Spleet and Estate Intel, hailing from the fast-growing hub of Lagos, Nigeria, and another, Floorfy, from Barcelona, Spain. Of the rest of the cohort, two firms are Los Angeles based (STAY OPEN and Sugar), one is in Austin (At Ease), and three are in our home base of New York City (Peat, Skillit, Nophin.)
In the spirit of geographic diversification, this fall we took our well-established accelerator program on the road and spent one week on the ground in Austin, Texas. It’s no secret that Austin, the 4th largest city in Texas, has had explosive growth this year - much of it in the technology sector. Tech workers and pandemic migrants have flocked to the city for its warm climate, access to nature, thriving restaurant and music scene, and newly available jobs from recent big-name newcomers like Apple, Google, Tesla, and Oracle. Austin’s development is now racing to catch up.
For real estate startups and investors alike, this creates a unique cross-section of networking and business opportunities - a lightning rod of activity in an exciting cultural hub. We saw holding our accelerator in Austin as a chance to bring completely new value to our accelerator CEOs by giving them opportunities to form relationships with some of the biggest influencers in a rapidly expanding market that will continue to grow in relevance in the years to come.
In four days, we met with the real estate developers, investors, builders, and operators who are working towards Austin’s next iteration and have a vision for the city’s potential. We talked with Notley and Geyser Group about how they are integrating real estate development with a tangible positive impact on local economies, communities, and the environment. We toured Casata’s brand new community of amenity-rich micro-homes in South Austin that is addressing the rising cost of living and creating thoughtful infrastructure that encourages community and connection in neighborhoods.
The cohort had the opportunity to pitch in a closed-door meeting to the corporate strategy and technology teams at leading private equity firm PennyBacker Capital who is investing in dynamic growth markets across the country. We visited the sky-scraping downtown office of Amherst Holdings to discuss future opportunities in residential construction with panoramic views of the city. We dined at once-Laundromat-now-gourmet-restaurant Launderette and even made time for a ghostly encounter at the historic Driskill Hotel.
We were thrilled to partner with Capital Factory, the most active investor in Texas, to bring together the Texas PropTech community for Happy Hour and meet the many talented Texas founders and investors working on innovative ideas for real estate.
The unprecedented growth of PropTech is reflected in how MetaProp has been investing this year. We’re looking forward to continuing to be a beacon for the PropTech and real estate community in Austin, Texas, and beyond - and to continue to grow opportunities for our early-stage accelerator cohorts in markets across the world. Keep an eye out for the next updates on the program, our Spring 2022 Demo Day in New York City, and our next drop-in to another fast-growing tech city - this is just the beginning!