SEC probing Better as SPAC deadline looms

UPDATED, July 15, 2022, 3:30 p.m.: Things keep getting worse for Better. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is probing the digital mortgage lender, according to a regulatory filing reported by Inman. Better and Aurora Acquisition Corp., the SPAC formed to take Better public, are cooperating with the voluntary request for documentation. The examination came out of a lawsuit filed by Sarah Pierce, the former executive vice president for sales and operations. Pierce accused the

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Is innovation dead? These real estate disruptors say no

Innovation. Innovation, innovation, innovation. Did you feel that? As the word “innovation” has migrated from Silicon Valley into marketing materials worldwide, it may have entered the realm of triteness. The ex-buzzword triggers eye-rolling because of how much has been promised under its banner relative to what it has actually delivered. Few sectors love innovation as much as real estate. WeWork promised innovation of the office (and later schools, apartments, banks and life itself); infused with

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Zumper slashes 15% of staff

Zumper, an online rental startup recognized last year as a top employer on multiple best-of lists, cut 15 percent of its approximate 300-person staff last Friday, The Real Deal has learned. The majority of the cuts hit the San Francisco-based company’s sales and customer service departments, according to an axed employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. Members of the art department also were let go, per a LinkedIn post from a graphic designer who

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Better.com accused of misleading investors

Just when things seemingly couldn’t get worse for Better.com, they just did. Former executive vice president for sales and operations Sarah Pierce accused the company of misleading investors in financial filings and other statements, the Wall Street Journal reported. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Pierce claimed she was forced out of the digital mortgage lender earlier this year after raising concerns. The alleged misrepresentations came as Better.com was pursuing a SPAC merger in an effort

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Mynd over matter: Startup founder on cracking the single-family rental sector

“Do you have to live in Atlanta to invest in Coca-Cola?” Doug Brien is making a point about how provincial single-family rental investing is, with people tending to buy within driving distance of where they live. That’s because the market, unlike those for stocks and bonds, is messy and opaque. Things we take for granted in debt and equities — reliable data, smooth portfolio management — are hard to come by in single-family rentals. Brien

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Real estate tech is coming for your business

Ignore proptech’s advance at your own peril. That central message emerged from an afternoon panel discussion at The Real Deal’s New York City Showcase + Forum Thursday, where the real estate industry was said to be undergoing its most profound transformation in decades. “I think we are actually in the midst of one of the most significant shifts in and around the real estate industry than we have probably been through since the Industrial Revolution,”

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Single-family rental platform Appreciate to go public in SPAC deal

Defying investors’ waning interest in risky proptech stocks, the sponsor pair behind Porch’s 2020 rocky SPAC merger are taking another firm public — this time are targeting the hot single-family rental sector. PropTech Investment Corporation II, the second special-purpose acquisition company launched in 2020 by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority veterans Joseph Beck and Thomas Hennessy, will merge with Appreciate, the parent company of single-family rental marketplace and management platform Renters Warehouse, the companies said Tuesday.

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Construction-tech firm Buildots raises $60M in Series C round

Buildots, a Tel Aviv- and London-based startup that builds software to help construction site managers track work and accurately pay subcontractors, raised $60 million to grow its business in the U.S. Israel-based Viola Growth and Eyal Ofer’s O.G. Tech led the Series C, announced Tuesday. Buildots did not disclose a valuation with the round, which brings its total equity funding to more than $100 million. The startup raised $30 million in a Series B round

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How we make cement isn’t set in stone: Brimstone raises $55M in huge pre-revenue round

Brimstone Energy is taking on a challenge of biblical proportions: producing mass-market, zero-carbon Portland cement, a key building material. If it succeeds, the implications for the real estate and construction industries are so enormous that investors have poured $55 million into the startup before it has made a single dollar. Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and DCVC co-led the Series A round, with participation from Fifth Wall’s climate tech fund, Amazon through its Climate Pledge

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“Prudent and necessary”: More layoffs at Better.com

Better.com tried to convince some of its employees to leave earlier this month. So it likely wasn’t a surprise when the company ended up pushing those who didn’t jump. The online mortgage startup sent around a memo on Tuesday announcing a “substantial cut” to the company’s workforce, the Wall Street Journal reported. The exact number of employees to get the ax couldn’t be confirmed, but employees affected by the layoffs include members of the sales

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