MetaProp Taps Nine Companies for 2021 Accelerator Program

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Venture capital firm MetaProp has selected nine companies — ranging from firms that virtually map real estate properties to a company creating composting networks for cities — for its 2021 hybrid accelerator program at Columbia University, Commercial Observer has learned.

The cohort, slightly larger than the usual six to eight companies MetaProp selects, is attending the 22-week program both in person and virtually, in a new move for MetaProp’s accelerator. It’s been going swimmingly, MetaProp co-founder Aaron Block told Commercial Observer.  

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“It feels right for today’s environment and culture. I’m not sure we’ll ever go back to 100 percent New York-centricity for the program,” Block said. “It’ll always be a really important part of the program, but I think making it a requirement to actually be on the ground here, now that we all know how to work and function remotely and thrive in virtual environments, is really just not that necessary.”

MetaProp, which has invested in every company that graduated from the program in the near-decade it has run, requires that its attendees be vaccinated or tested for the coronavirus prior to attending the in-person aspects of the accelerator, which include an orientation kick-off, presentations to potential real estate investors, local conferences and more, Block said.

While the virtual aspect has made the program easier to attend for international start-ups  — which make up three of the nine companies selected — being in New York is always good for business, said Block.

“MetaProp is known to invest in tomorrow’s property technology companies — the real tip of the spear,” Block said. “Everybody’s got business in New York, especially in the proptech space.”

Peat, one of the companies MetaProp selected this year, creates a decentralized composting network for landlords and tenants who want to compost food waste, while fellow cohort member Floorfy creates virtual tours of apartments for real estate agents and potential tenants, with 360-degree photography and video, according to its website. The program had already brought Floorfy interest from investors, said Floorfy Chief Operating Officer Javier Biosca Ruiz de Ojeda in a statement.

Another of the nine companies selected was Estate Intel, a startup that provides data to companies interacting with the African real estate and construction industry, including companies and development projects in Lagos, Nigeria. 

Estate Intel isn’t the only real estate startup operating in Nigeria that MetaProp selected.  ​​Spleet allows users to rent or book fully furnished homes in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, according to its website. The rental service headed by CEO Akintola Adesanmi has amassed more than 100 hosts since October 2017 with more than 200 listings.

At Ease is another booking platform in the cohort, but it enables government employees and their families to book accommodations in seven states across the U.S., according to its website. Cohort member Stay Open is similarly in the hospitality industry, and lets users book beds for short-term stays, according to its website. 

The early-stage proptech investor also selected Nophin, a company that says it allows landlords to convert their monthly rental income to cash without taking on any debt or losing equity, and Skillit, a carpenter hiring platform. Lastly, ​​Sugar creates building software that helps build communities in residential spaces.

MetaProp’s program offers participants up to $250,000 in fundraising each, along with mentoring and a 22-week course in how to grow their business. The firm also helps advise more established, traditional companies looking to expand their know-how of the world of real estate tech, CO reported. 

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.