If 2018 was the year of big money for real estate tech startups, 2019 was a reckoning.
After one of the world’s largest office space companies, WeWork, saw its $47 billion valuation plunge by more than 80 percent, investors began second-guessing the eye-popping valuations being assigned to startups.
“WeWork has gone through a massive correction because the public markets didn’t believe in how it was valued,” Travis Putnam, a managing partner of venture capital firm Navitas Capital, told The Real Deal in October.
Putnam’s comments proved to be prescient for other startups as well, including residential brokerage Compass and construction firm Katerra.
Behind many of the funding rounds that have propped up these companies was SoftBank, the Japanese technology giant that oversees a $100 billion venture capital fund, one of the world’s largest.
In our ranking of 2019’s largest funding rounds for U.S. real estate tech startups, compiled by Pitchbook, SoftBank figured in four of the top 10 funding rounds. Those four alone totaled more than $12 billion, out of $16.8 billion.
The rise of iBuying is also in full swing, and investors are taking notice. OpenDoor, a San Francisco-based startup launched in 2014, almost doubled its valuation this year to $3.8 billion. Rival firm Knock also scored a huge funding round that brought its total amount raised north of $600 million. Both firms are reshaping how homes are sold, with some studies pointing to higher costs for sellers.
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