Chicago-based investment firm Waterton has taken a stake in a $165 million rent-tech fund recently closed by RET Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on technologies for the multifamily, single family rental/homebuilding asset classes.
Waterton selected RET Ventures for the investment due to its focus on the rent-tech sector of PropTech. Waterton was already evaluating a variety of these rent-tech services in the market, including several provided by RET Ventures investor companies, including SightPlan, Fernish, SmartRent, Checkpoint and Amenify.
Along with Waterton, participants in RET Ventures Fund II include affiliates of major multifamily REITs including Essex Property Trust, Inc., Invitation Homes, Inc., Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. (MAA), and UDR, Inc. and as well as private owners and managers such as BH Management, Bozzuto, Cortland, Edward Rose & Sons, Greystar Real Estate Group, Starlight Capital and Starwood Capital Group. The group collectively owns or manages approximately 2.4 million rental units and includes 9 of the top 20 multifamily owners and 9 of the top 20 managers, as ranked by the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Waterton CEO and chairman David Schwartz said he believes RET Ventures’ deep ties within the real estate industry give it the ability to gauge the market’s appetite for new technologies and help to create market leaders.
“Since we are major tech users as well as investors, this initiative ensures that Waterton has access to the best terms from providers as well as possible inclusion in beta testing and product development,” said Schwartz. “We believe this investment also enhances the vetting process for Waterton, with RET Ventures’ experts aiding our evaluation of tech companies and services.”
“Our mission at RET Ventures from the beginning has been to bring together entrepreneurs and the institutional owners and operators that power the $7 trillion multifamily and SFR industries to drive innovation and create a better, more efficient, and more sustainable housing sector. After the great success of our first fund, we are excited to more than double the size of our Strategic Investor base in this new fund, which will enable us to further shape the future of real estate technology in the years to come,” said John Helm, founder and partner at RET Ventures.
“Over 45 million US households live in rental real estate and the industry is in a rapid state of evolution, as the pandemic, the rise of remote work, rapid household formation and changing consumer preferences continue to alter where and how Americans live. As these dynamics play out, technology will play a pivotal role in reshaping the home and helping the industry adapt to a rapidly changing world,” added Christopher Yip, partner at RET Ventures.