Alate Partners, a new company dedicated to supporting companies in the real estate tech market, has launched with $40 million in seed funding.
The funding came from Dream, one of Canada’s largest companies working in residential land development, housing and condominium development, and asset management and management services for four TSX-listed funds. The company has $14 billion in assets under management.
Early-stage venture fund Relay Ventures also invested in the company, and both investors will develop strategy and provide governance and insights to Toronto-based Alate.
“We see ourselves as more than just capital, we can provide expertise and advice, and connect them to customers and make introductions to help them accelerate growth.”
“With a $14 billion portfolio in real estate developments and income properties across North America and Europe, Dream is witnessing first-hand the rapid change in the real estate sector and the many challenges proptech companies face in piloting their solutions at scale,” said Michael J. Cooper, president and chief responsible officer of Dream and CEO at Dream Office REIT. “Alate will support proptech companies and offer select innovators in this market an opportunity to validate their compelling technologies and products across Dream’s large and diverse commercial, residential, and industrial real estate portfolio.”
The company is the brainchild of Relay Ventures managing partner John Albright and Cooper. However, Alate Partners will function as a separate company, with Courtney Cooper hired on as its first employee overseeing operations as director of corporate development.
“They [John and Michael] had noticed and recognized that real estate is a bit far behind in terms of the adoption of technology, and they’re starting to see the way that people live in every aspect of their life-changing, and that there is a real opportunity here to change the way real estate is managed and built and used,” said Courtney in an interview with BetaKit.
Alate Partners wants to support a burgeoning ecosystem of property technology (proptech) in several ways. The company has already made direct investments in two proptech companies, Lane and Parkwhiz. Lane, which offers a platform that enables more effective communication between commercial landlords and their tenants, already has Dream, Brookfield, and Colliers as customers.
The goal is to move beyond making direct investments and focus on supporting the development and adoption of technology.
Parkwhiz offers a smart parking solution that connects parking lot operators and managers with drivers to find, book, and pay for parking through its app, website, and distribution partners. Alate participated in Parkwhiz’s $25 million Series D round. Cooper wouldn’t disclose how much Alate invested in the company, but said broadly that its investments would span “a couple hundred thousand to a few million.”
The goal is to move beyond making direct investments and focus on supporting the development and adoption of technology. It will also facilitate connections for companies to potential real estate partners, and provide Relay Ventures and Dream with opportunities for co-investment in promising companies. Another advantage is for companies to get access to other real estate properties to pilot technologies.
“We see ourselves as more than just capital, we can provide expertise and advice, and connect them to customers and make introductions to help them accelerate growth,” said Courtney. “We’ll also be working with real estate partners to see where there might be opportunities for us to partner with them or build technologies or to own a larger stake in a company. We’re going to be investing but also building and buying where appropriate.”
While Alate will be evaluating its own startups, it expects to leverage the expertise of Dream and Relay Ventures. Both Michael and Albright sit on the board.
“We have extensive experience investing in and supporting the growth of early-stage tech companies. But we also recognize the tremendous potential for those technologies designed specifically for the real estate market. This is an industry vertical that is primed for significant global growth, but which requires the expertise of those who are deeply entrenched in that market,” said Albright. “By partnering with Dream, and other real estate partners, we are bringing together our extensive knowledge and expertise in the technology sector with one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with a global scope of expertise that includes residential and commercial property development and management.”
Photo via Unsplash.