The property industry -- covering people and businesses that invest in, build, purchase or rent and maintain property -- is hugely fragmented when it comes both to data sources and the companies that work within it. Today, a New York-based startup that is building a database that helps bring all of that together is raising a round of growth funding to help it expand outside of the U.S.
Reonomy -- a startup that ingests some 100 sources of data, including multiple public and proprietary data feeds and crowdsourced information, and then uses artificial intelligence to crunch it to provide market intelligence that is used by developers, investors, acquirers and anyone else who works in the area of commercial property (otherwise known as commercial real estate, CRE, ranging from buildings zoned for business through to multi-dwelling units, but not single private homes) -- has closed a Series D round of $60 million.
Today, the company has more than 100,000 customers -- with single customers sometimes covering multiple users -- along with a database covering some 50 million properties, accounting for some 99% of the commercial inventory in the country. In all, the database also has 80 million companies, 300 million people (those affiliated with the properties), 38 million mortgages and 68 million property sales.
It's also continuing to add more data sources: along with this round, Reonomy is announcing new partnerships with CoreLogic, Black Knight and Dun & Bradstreet.
The money comes from a mix of financial and strategic backers -- underscoring both the company's potential, and also the calibre of its current customers. Led by Georgian Partners, the funding also included Wells Fargo Strategic Capital and Citi Ventures (both Reonomy users, as part of its property financing activities), Untitled Investments and previous investors Sapphire Ventures, Bain Capital and Primary Venture Partners.
Reonomy is not disclosing its valuation, but Rich Sarkis, the founder and CEO, said that it is "definitely an up round." The startup, founded in 2013, has raised $128 million to date, and according to PitchBook data, it was valued at $153 million post-money in its last round (in 2018). This likely means the valuation is well above $200 million now.
The expression "safe as houses" was born out of the idea that property is a strong bet, because the price eventually always goes up. But the wider development of the market in modern times has shown that it can be a significantly more volatile area -- where arcane algorithms created by quants, a lot of greed and a dose of corruption and world economics can have much stronger impacts, resulting in huge booms and crushing busts of global proportions.
In that context, Reonomy positions itself both as a tool not just to get a better picture of what is going on now, but to better predict what might happen. Given the many disparate sources of information that are compiled into its bigger database, the pitch is that this is a must-have, but the alternative way to get it -- building on your own -- might otherwise require many man-hours and dollars of investment to achieve and understand.
While some database platforms require technical knowledge to shape and query, the idea here is to "lead users to the water" and make the proposition very non-technical.
The potential usefulness of Reonomy's insights can have many endpoints, Sarkis said. While one obvious area is in sales, it's also just as used in areas of research and more. Its customers include not just mortgage lenders and property acquirers, but those who work in the property industry in a more hands-on way, such as roofers who might want to get a list of buildings developed in a certain range of years as a way of building a list of leads for properties that might need a roof replacement.
"What our customers have in common is that they are looking for a solution to understand something about the property market," he said. "We take the mess of data out there and make sense of it, whether the person using Reonomy is an investor or a roofer or someone that is underwriting loans."
The company today, Sarkis said, covers about 99% of all commercial real estate in the U.S., and the plan is now to take that concept to international markets, including Canada, Asia, Australia and the U.K. and Europe, markets that are more similar to the U.S. than they are different, he added.
“Reonomy has developed a powerful platform to integrate and resolve sources of commercial real estate data into a single, unique identifier for every CRE asset in the United States,” said Emily Walsh, principal at Georgian Partners, in a statement. “This unique identifier is being leveraged by some of the largest enterprises in the world to tie together their public, proprietary and 3rd party data sources and to create a level of visibility into real estate assets that was previously unattainable.”