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Vector Group launches new proptech fund

Howard Lorber’s Vector Group has launched a new proptech fund.

New Valley Ventures will invest promising PropTech startups committed to supporting transformation of the real estate industry for the benefit of the agent experience.

In connection with the launch, Vector Group also announced New Valley Ventures has acquired an ownership stake in Rechat, a lead-to-close fully-mobile technology dashboard for real estate agents. New Valley Ventures’ affiliate, Douglas Elliman, is the largest residential real estate brokerage firm in the New York Metropolitan area and the sixth-largest in the United States.

“We are incredibly excited to introduce New Valley Ventures to the PropTech industry,” said Richard J. Lampen, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Vector Group. “We look forward to putting our capital and deep industry knowledge to work to bring exciting and innovative tech-driven solutions to our colleagues at Douglas Elliman as well as the greater real estate community.”

New Valley Ventures will consider companies of all sizes, supporting their development with in-depth real estate expertise and helping them enter prime domestic real estate markets. New Valley Ventures has also invested in Camber Creek, a venture capital firm whose portfolio includes startups such as Notarize, Curbio, Flex and Darwin Homes, and MetaProp, a venture capital firm with investments in startups such as Milo Credit and Skipp.

“I am thrilled about this initiative and confident it will further enhance agent productivity,” said Scott Durkin, President and COO of Douglas Elliman. “In partnership with New Valley Ventures, our agents will now be at the forefront of emerging technologies that will make them better, faster, more productive and ultimately, more successful.”

New Valley Ventures is being spearheaded by Dan Sachar, who serves as its Managing Director as well as Vice President of Enterprise Innovation for Vector Group. Sachar works in partnership with both Vector Group’s Chief Technology Officer David Ballard and with Douglas Elliman’s Chief Information Officer Connie Mui-Reilly.

“We are witnessing a generational shift in how real estate professionals work, and with that comes a new set of expectations for innovation and experiences that provide ease, mobility and nimbleness. Our objective is to free agents to do what they do best, which is to sell real estate,” said Sachar. Ballard added, “It is not just about us being innovators, it is about being able to identify emerging technologies early and benefit from them. In turn, we provide start-ups with invaluable intelligence from Douglas Elliman’s 7,000 agents across the United States.”

“When we identify a service from an early stage business that we believe agents can benefit from, we are willing to  invest in them, aligning our interests with those of our agents, while helping these companies to innovate at start-up speed,” said Ballard. 

“We are grateful for our new partnership with New Valley Ventures and Douglas Elliman and their confidence in our transformational product,” said Shayan Hamidi, Founder and CEO of Rechat. “I look forward to welcoming them to the Rechat family.”

Rechat includes a customer relationship management (CRM) system that helps real estate professionals organize their client rosters, manage communications and prioritize responses, syncing with Google Mail and Outlook. It also allows for marketing automation for social media, email blasts and digital and printed collateral materials.

Rechat will be rolled out to all Douglas Elliman agents during the first half of 2021.

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