Real EstateTechnology

Amazon among companies helping apartment platform SmartRent raise $60 million

Fifth Wall, Amazon Alexa Fund, RET Ventures take part in capital raise

SmartRent, a smart home automation platform for property managers and renters, already featured some of the biggest names in multifamily real estate among its backers, but the company got a big boost last year when Amazon invested in the company.

And now, all of those companies, Amazon included, have invested even more money in SmartRent, aiming to continue the company’s growth.

SmartRent announced Wednesday that it raised $60 million in its Series C funding round. According to the company, the funding round was led by Spark Capital with participation from Fifth Wall, Energy Impact Partners, the Amazon Alexa Fund, Bain Capital Ventures and RET Ventures.

This is Amazon’s second investment in SmartRent through the Amazon Alexa Fund, an Amazon venture capital arm that invests in companies that use voice and other technology, as well as new contributions to the science behind those technologies.

Beyond Amazon, several of the investors in SmartRent’s latest funding round are big names too.

RET Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that is backed by AimcoBoardwalkEssex Property TrustMAAUDRStarwood Capital GroupCortland and GID. The firm first invested in SmartRent in 2018.

Fifth Wall is a venture capital firm backed by real estate titans like CBRELennarD.R. Horton, PulteGroupHinesEquity ResidentialPrologisMacerichHost Hotels and Lowe’s Home Improvement.

As for why these big names are investing in SmartRent, the company’s offerings have taken on an even greater importance in a COVID-19 world.

SmartRent offers a range of connected devices designed to help multifamily property owners, managers and residents utilize smart home features. SmartRent’s solutions allow landlords to lower their expenses and provides a new way to monitor and protect their units through sensors that detect water leaks, smoke, fire or carbon monoxide.

Beyond that, SmartRent enables landlords more control over vacant units, through remote access control to all doors, fully digitized locks that don’t need to be rekeyed every time someone new moves in, and helps to reduce utility consumption via remote access.

And in the current climate, features like those are becoming more important than ever.

“With COVID-19 ushering in an era where digital, contactless experiences are required to address the needs of multifamily property owners/operators and their residents, real estate companies are turning to smart home and smart access technologies to meet the new reality,” SmartRent said in a release. “The explosive growth of package shipping, product and food delivery, combined with the need for self-guided tours and contactless entry, is driving demand for SmartRent.”

According to the company, SmartRent saw 600% growth in the number of connected units last year.

Amazon and the other companies investing in SmartRent see that potential too.

“We see the potential for multifamily residential to be one of the next growth opportunities for smart home technology,” said Paul Bernard, director for the Alexa Fund.

“Since becoming an investor in the Series B, we have been impressed with the SmartRent team’s approach to bringing smart home automation tools to renters, property owners and managers through a solution that easily integrates with existing property management workflows,” Bernard said. “Further, we share a common view on the role of contactless solutions such as Alexa-enabled devices in the smart apartment of the future and look forward to continuing to support them on the execution of their vision.”

And the company isn’t expecting to slow down any time soon.

“This round of funding will enable our next phase of growth as we expand our portfolio to ensure more homes can benefit from a seamless smart home experience,” said Lucas Haldeman, CEO and co-founder of SmartRent.

“The tailwinds of e-commerce, food and grocery delivery, and the broader digital economy were already significant entering 2020, resulting in widespread demand for hardware-agnostic smart home and access technology platforms like SmartRent,” said Will Reed, general partner at Spark Capital.

“That demand has only accelerated as property owners and operators look for ways to make property tours contactless and handle deliveries in a seamless manner,” Reed added. “We’re thrilled to partner with Lucas and the entire SmartRent team as they continue to help an entire segment of the economy digitally transform their operations and resident experiences.”

Beyond the capital raise, SmartRent also announced that it hired Darian Hong as the company’s new chief financial officer, and CJ Edmonds as chief revenue officer.

“With this latest funding round and new executive hires, we will continue to evolve our offerings to support the multifamily and housing industry amid a challenging economic period and an increasingly digital society,” Haldeman added.

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