SmartRent Plans to Go Public Via a SPAC With Fifth Wall


  • Proptech startup SmartRent is going public via a merger with a Fifth Wall-sponsored SPAC.
  • The move includes investments from major firms Blackstone, Invitation Homes, Starwood, and Lennar.
  • SmartRent, which allows landlords and tenants to manage properties remotely, will be valued at $2.2 billion.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rental tech company SmartRent announced today that it would be merging with a blank-check acquisition company, or

SPAC
, sponsored by Fifth Wall, the largest proptech venture investor.

SmartRent, selected as one of Insider’s hottest proptech startups, will be valued at $2.2 billion. 

The SPAC has raised about $345 million since going public last year, according to a Wall Street Journal report. SPAC investors will be joined by a $155 million PIPE investment, made up of some of the biggest names in real estate: single-family rental giant Invitation Homes, real-estate investor Starwood Capital, and construction giant Lennar. The Journal is also reporting that world’s largest landlord, Blackstone, is part of the deal.

SmartRent combines smart-home technology with a software operating system that allows landlords and property managers of single-family and multifamily portfolios to remotely monitor energy use and efficiency, let prospective tenants take self-guided tours, and monitor building systems for leaks and other risks. Tenants are also able to monitor many of these things themselves through SmartRent’s apps and voice assistants.

SmartRent CEO and co-founder Lucas Haldeman was previously the chief technology officer at Colony Starwood Homes, an early single-family rental company that later became Starwood Waypoint Homes, and then merged with Invitation Homes. Both Starwood and Invitation are investors in SmartRent. The firm originally focused its software on single-family homes, but has since rolled out its technology to multifamily portfolios, touting in a statement that it has partnered with 15 of the 20 largest multifamily companies in the country.

The startup, founded in 2017 in Arizona, had previously raised $102 million in funding from Fifth Wall and Starwood as well as investors such as Bain Capital Ventures, Amazon’s Alexa Fund, and proptech specialists Nine Four Ventures and RET Ventures.

SmartRent, which currently operates in roughly 185,000 units across the US and Canada, projects it will be EBITDA-positive by 2022. Eighty percent of the company’s unit revenue projections for this year and next come from already signed deals and existing partnerships poised to expand. 

SmartRent is the latest proptech company to go public via a SPAC, joining a historic wave of other real-estate tech companies and other firms opting for that route. In the last several months, online homebuyer Opendoor, home-services marketplace Porch, smart-glass maker View, and smart-home startup Vivint have all used SPACs to go public, while other deals — for access control company Latch, digital closing company Doma, and digital imaging and virtual-tour company Matterport — have not yet closed.

SPAC fever has slowed down 90% from peak levels in March, but interest in the proptech sector remains high. Fifth Wall has two other outstanding SPACs, while more traditional real-estate firms, such as CBRE and Tishman Speyer, have also raised their own SPACs and are hunting for deals.



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