UrbanTech News Roundup


Our UrbanTech News Roundup is one of the features in our bi-weekly newsletter.


On Cities 

  • The crowded field of building certification companies like LEED, WiredScore, Delos, and Fitwel are prompting building owners to wonder which are necessary and which are just marketing gimmicks, according to the NYT

  • Sidewalk Labs is facing a number of lawsuits over privacy and data issues related to the Waterfront Toronto project. 

  • Micromobility scooter docking startup Charge is betting that a boom in e-scooters and electric bikes will increase the need for charging stations around cities

  • Big buildings contribute to carbon emissions which cause global warming and extreme weather events. The city of New York is planning to pass legislation which would set emissions caps for skyscrapers

  • Self-driving car startup Optimus Ride will deploy self-driving vehicles in the enclosed campus of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. 

On Real Estate Tech

  • Zillow rolled out a 3D home touring feature across all of North America that allows agents to use iPhones or more advanced cameras to create a more robust listing. 

  • Some investors question whether WeWork can survive a downturn in the commercial real estate market and wonder why IWG, a company with about 100k more work stations than WeWork, is valued at ~$40 billion less than the coworking startup.

  • Related: IWG is the leading flexible office space provider in the world, with significantly more locations than WeWork. Now, IWG is turning to franchising to beat back challenges from other coworking companies.   

  • The President of JLL Property Management discusses the company's "curae approach" and bringing hospitality ideas into their property management practice. 

  • Investors are also beginning to question whether companies like Zillow and Redfin can realistically increase margins and make money on iBuying, which is labor intensive and comes with large inventory risk. 

  • Co-living rents can produce operating margins that are 30 to 50 percent higher than conventional multifamily properties, but the sector is facing challenges in markets like NYC, including "a lack of supply constrained by high land costs, strict zoning laws and a relatively shallow, though growing, pool of financing options." 

Laser scans & spatial maps will be  critical  to restoring Notre Dame

Laser scans & spatial maps will be critical to restoring Notre Dame

On Construction Technology

  • Over 1.5 million projects have been built using PlanGrid (recently acquired by AutoDesk). The company is now launching a new product called PlanGrid BIM, which allows users to view 3D BIM data on mobile devices while in the field. 

  • Marriott is planning to build the tallest modular hotel in the world in the NoMad neighborhood of NYC. 

  • In 2015, a professor named Andrew Tallon painstakingly used laser scanning and spatial mapping technology to document Notre Dame. He passed away soon after, but now, his work will be critical in rebuilding the cathedral. 

On Fundraising News

  • Prefab construction startup Dvele raised $14M to build single family homes. 

  • Bowery Valuation raised a $12M Series A for their tech-enabled real estate appraisal platform. 

  • Smart home security startup Kangaroo raised a $10M Series A from Greycroft Ventures. 

  • The Well, an upscale healthcare and online marketplace, raised $14M in Series A funding from NEA and others. 

  • Co-living startup Ollie is in talks to raise $50M in new funding, making it the most capitalized co-living startup.  

  • PadSplit, which turns single family homes into more affordable multi-unit housing, raised a $4.6M seed round. 

  • Lyric, a premium hotel operator for short term stays for business travelers, raised $160M in debt and equity from Airbnb and other investors. 

Upcoming Events 

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