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SmartRent To Go Public Through $2.2B SPAC Deal

The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company is merging with Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp. I, the special purpose acquisition company created by prominent proptech venture capital firm Fifth Wall.

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Smart home operating system SmartRent announced Thursday that it would go public through a SPAC in a $2.2 billion deal.

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The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company is merging with Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp. I, the special purpose acquisition company created by prominent proptech venture capital firm Fifth Wall.

“It was abundantly clear to us that SmartRent has emerged as the clear category winners,” Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall said in an interview.

SmartRent makes both software and hardware to manage smart devices in multi-family communities. Property owners use SmartRent’s technology to control things like thermostats and lights all remotely.

Fifth Wall invested in SmartRent’s $60 million Series C just about a year ago. After Fifth Wall’s first SPAC went through an initial public offering in February, the company began talking to SmartRent about merging with the blank-check company.

As for SmartRent, the company had been evaluating its options, considering a traditional IPO, before it even knew Fifth Wall was forming a SPAC, CEO Lucas Haldeman said in an interview. After seeing explosive growth, especially in the past year, the company was considering tapping into the public markets for capital to fuel its growth.

Many SPAC sponsors out there are well-respected, some considered Wall Street legends, Haldeman said. But he didn’t necessarily see how they could strategically help the company.

But after hearing that Fifth Wall was doing a SPAC, “It was just sort of this lightbulb moment that this is the perfect opportunity for us,” Haldeman said.

Fifth Wall’s SPAC in particular stood out because it doesn’t use a warrant system. Warrants attached to most SPACs are dilutive toward shareholders, Haldeman said. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently issued guidance that would categorize warrants as liabilities, and if it becomes law, both existing SPACs and deals in the works would have to recalculate their financials in regulatory filings for the value of warrants, according to CNBC.

SmartRent, which was founded in 2017, generated $53 million in revenue in 2020, and is estimated to finish 2021 with $119 million in revenue, according to an investor presentation. It’s also experienced zero percent churn with its customers–no small feat, but makes sense given that the company’s products are hardware-software hybrids. The company is expected to reach positive EBITDA by 2022, according to a statement from SmartRent.

“We’ll look back on 2020 as incredibly trying as first… we go into occupied units and install products and we couldn’t do that,” Haldeman said. “But it was also an incredible catalyst for digital change.”

Fifth Wall is among a handful of VC firms that have formed SPACs of their own, along with Khosla Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, and Advancit Capital. You can read more about the VC firms joining the SPAC rush here.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

“It was abundantly clear to us that SmartRent has emerged as the clear category winners,” Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall said in an interview.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/smartrent-to-go-public-through-2-2b-spac-deal/

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Exclusive: Boston’s Aryeo Raises $3.65M Seed Round

The Boston-based startup aims to streamline content in the real estate industry, helping agents get photos and other types of content where it needs to go.

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Real estate content platform Aryeo has raised $3.65 million in seed funding, the company told Crunchbase News.

The Boston-based startup aims to streamline content in the real estate industry, helping agents get photos and other types of content where it needs to go. Hyperplane Venture Capital and Amplo led the seed round.

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Aryeo co-founders Brendan Quinlan, Matt Michalski, and Branick Weix.

If you’ve bought or sold a home before or done any late-night Zillow surfing, you know how important photos and videos are to a home listing. Photos and 3D tours are essential to selling a home, especially now, according to Aryeo CEO Branick Weix, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing guidelines that have come with it.

“It’s very similar to a Dropbox system, but it’s more tailored to the real estate industry,” Weix said in an interview.

Aryeo goes a step further than Dropbox. When content is uploaded into the system, Aryeo automatically makes promotional materials for the property, such as flyers, Facebook ads and a website.

One of Weix’s first jobs in high school was as a photographer taking photos for real estate agents. Most people don’t even realize that’s a job or industry, he added.

The idea for Aryeo came about when drones became more popular and real estate agents were interested in using drone footage to market homes. Aryeo’s co-founders Weix, Brendan Quinlan, and Matt Michalski began a drone photography business in Minnesota, but it wasn’t long before agents began asking for more content, and the team realized all of the pain points involved with getting content where it needed to be.

“How things normally work for many of these agents, they just have content emailed to them and they have to download it to their computer and then they have to go to all these sites separately,” Weix said.

Consolidating content in a “highly fragmented marketplace with multiple data sources” is a pressing need in the real estate industry, and Aryeo’s platform can universally solve the problem, Hyperplane VC managing partner Vivjan Myrto said in a statement.

The company was founded in 2019, and Aryeo processed more than 50,000 homes last year, or about 1 percent of the total annual home sales in the United States. The company works with more than 40,000 real estate agents and photographers and operates in all 50 states and countries including Canada, Belgium, Australia, and South Africa.

The company, which currently has around 15 employees, plans to use the funding to hire, especially in sales and customer support, Weix said. Most of its work so far has been with photographers, but the company is expanding and building out tools to work more with agents and brokers.

Aryeo bootstrapped for the first 1.5 years and grew through word of mouth before raising $3.6 million in outside funding.

Other investors in the company include Contrary, Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer, and WePay founder Bill Clerico.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Photo courtesy of Aryeo.

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

If you’ve bought or sold a home before or done any late-night Zillow surfing, you know how important photos and videos are to a home listing. Photos and 3D tours are essential to selling a home, especially now, according to Aryeo CEO Branick Weix, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing guidelines that have come with it.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/exclusive-bostons-aryeo-raises-3-65m-seed-round/

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Mimicking A Hospital At Home: Huma Brings In $130M Series C

Huma Therapeutics

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Huma Therapeutics is creating digital “hospitals at home” across different disease areas so that the pharmaceutical and research industries can run decentralized clinical trials.

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“Our mission is to create a world where everyone lives longer and has a fuller life,” Dan Vahdat, founder and CEO of Huma, told Crunchbase News. “By using technology, we can do better research, which enables new treatments to come to market faster through virtual clinical trials.”

To continue to do this, the company, based in London, closed on $130 million in Series C financing co-led by Leaps by Bayer and Hitachi Ventures. The firms were joined by Samsung Next, Sony Innovation Fund, Unilever Ventures and HAT Technology & Innovation Fund, as well as from individual investors, including Nikesh Arora and Michael Diekmann.

In addition, the company received a further commitment of $70 million in equity funding that can be exercised at a later date. It brings the total funding raised to more than $200 million since Huma was founded in 2011, Vahdat said. Goldman Sachs acted as lead placement agent, while HSBC Bank and Nomura acted as joint placement agents.

Huma’s digital hospital at home was co-created with clinicians and independently shown to almost double clinical capacity, reduce hospital readmissions by over a third, and has patient adherence levels of over 90 percent, Vahdat said. The service supports governments’ pandemic responses on a not-for-profit basis and is now used for a range of patients including those going through knee- and hip-replacement surgery.

Huma app

The company works with four national governments, including England’s NHS, Wales, Germany and United Arab Emirates. The new funding was driven by its plan to go after additional government contracts and 10-year strategic partnerships with clinical research organizations, health care providers, payers, research organizations and technology companies. However, the company didn’t need the money — Huma still had most of its $25 million Series B funding in the bank, Vahdat said.

“We wanted to bring together strategic investors in the areas and geographies where we want to expand,” he said. “We ended up having more interest, but put certain conditions on the $70 million equity for the investors to achieve so that they would help us get where we need to be. For us, we are selective with partners, and it is most important what we can do with the company, but also how their reach can accelerate the impact for patients.”

Over the past few years, Huma grew 3x, Vahdat said. The new investment will be invested in growth in new markets, including the U.S., Asia and the Middle East. In the last year, Huma was able to build a solid team, and plans to double and triple down in this market. It will also work on R&D with technology aimed at collecting patient data in real-time to make it possible for new insights, predictive care and to make sure the right patients are prioritized, he added.

Juergen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer, said in a written statement that Huma’s mission to improve health outcomes will be accelerated by those and future new partnerships.

“Aligned with the vision of Leaps by Bayer, Huma’s expertise and technology will help drive a global paradigm shift towards prevention and care and may boost research efforts using data and digital technology,” Eckhardt added. “We invest into the most disruptive technologies of our time that have the potential to change the world for the better. As an early investor into Huma we know how perfectly the company fits into that frame as one of the leading digital innovators in health care and life sciences.”

Feature photo of Huma’s Dan Vahdat and inset screenshot courtesy of Huma.
Blogroll illustration: Dom Guzman

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In addition, the company received a further commitment of $70 million in equity funding that can be exercised at a later date. It brings the total funding raised to more than $200 million since Huma was founded in 2011, Vahdat said. Goldman Sachs acted as lead placement agent, while HSBC Bank and Nomura acted as joint placement agents.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/mimicking-a-hospital-at-home-huma-brings-in-130m-series-c/

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The Briefing: Ada Lands $130M, Anebulo Prices IPO, And More

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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Ada raises $130M for chatbots

Toronto-based Ada, a provider of chat bots used in customer support, reportedly raised $130 million in a funding round led by Spark Capital.

Founded in 2014, Ada previously raised $60.6 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data. In 2020, the company says it automated more than 1.5 billion customer interactions for hundreds of global companies, including Zoom, Facebook and Square.

— Joanna Glasner

Public offerings

Anebulo prices IPO: Austin-based Anebulo Pharmaceuticals, a biotech developing treatments for cannabinoid overdose and substance addiction, announced that it raised $21 million by offering 3 million shares at $7, the midpoint of its projected range of $6 to $8.

— Joanna Glasner

Health care

Vori Health secures $45M: Vori Health, a San Francisco-based musculoskeletal condition treatment startup, raised $45 million in Series A funding from New Enterprise Associates. The funding will be used to expand product, services and data offerings, as well as grow its clinical and support teams. Vori is the latest example of investment flowing into musculoskeletal. New York-based Kaia Health raised $75 million in Series C funding in April for its platform that provides real-time exercise feedback via a smartphone app to care for musculoskeletal, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and osteoarthritis conditions.

Expressable inks $4.5M: Online children’s speech therapy practice Expressable, based in Austin, closed on a $4.5 million seed round co-led by Lerer Hippeau and NextView Ventures. The company’s platform combines one-on-one teletherapy with its proprietary education platform.

— Christine Hall

Fintech and e-commerce

Nøie lands $12M for skincare platform: Copenhagen-based Nøie, a customized skincare platform, raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Talis Capital.

— Joanna Glasner

DappRadar banks $5M: Lithuania-based DappRadar, a global app store for decentralized applications, also known as dapps, secured $5 million in a Series A funding led by Prosus Ventures, Blockchain.com Ventures and NordicNinja VC. DappRadar said it will invest the funds into technology development and to promote widespread dapp adoption.

Caplight inks $1.7M: Caplight, a San Francisco-based startup founded in 2021, brought in a $1.7 million funding round led by Fin VC. The company’s platform enables institutional investors to buy and sell derivatives of private equity and close on transactions up to 85 percent faster than the average secondary-market deal, according to the company.

— Christine Hall

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Founded in 2014, Ada previously raised $60.6 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data. In 2020, the company says it automated more than 1.5 billion customer interactions for hundreds of global companies, including Zoom, Facebook and Square.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-5-7-21/

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