MetaProp’s Latest ‘5 Borough’ Cohort Launches With $1M, City Support

2024 startups focus on urban sustainability and AI — and could become office tenants in a New York that needs them

reprints


The MetaProp Accelerator @ Columbia University announced Tuesday that it has committed a total of $1 million in funding for seven proptech startups selected for its 2024 cohort.

The Manhattan-based early-stage investment firm launched what it calls its “5 Borough” program earlier this month for its ninth annual cohort with support from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

SEE ALSO: Proptech Firms Find Their Niches, Including Senior Housing

MetaProp’s aggregate initial commitment of $1 million comes out of its latest $150 million venture capital fund, whose investors include global industry giants AECOM, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Ivanhoe Cambridge, JLL, Mitsui Fudosan, PGIM and RXR.

“The startups selected present a diverse mix of founders looking to solve big problems in timely and challenging areas of proptech, including sustainability issues of decarbonization and climate risk, as well as in artificial intelligence,” Aaron Block, co-founder and managing partner at MetaProp, said in a statement to PropTech Insider. “Buildings account for two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions in New York City. After Local Law 97 was passed in 2019, it became imperative for MetaProp to identify and help grow emerging technologies in the decarbonization sector. We’re excited to have such proptech innovators dealing with these challenges included in our 2024 class.”

New York City combines a unique ecosystem of real estate, proptech, academia and government to support and grow tech startups that could in turn become new and growing tenants in the city, Block added. “Offices in New York City are struggling with high vacancies, low occupancy, lender repossessions, distressed funds being raised, and more,” he said. “This is one interesting example of local ecosystem leaders helping to stimulate inbound interest in our city through support of growing, innovative tech businesses.”

“New York City is a global leader in real estate and climate technology, and the MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University is an important partner to scale new products and approaches that decarbonize our built environment,” said Melissa Román Burch, chief operating officer for the NYCEDC. “We look forward to the kickoff of the 5 Borough program, which will enable entrepreneurs to grow their companies right here in NYC, create jobs, and develop new technologies to help the city meet its ambitious climate goals.”

Chosen from among more than 150 applicants worldwide, the latest accelerator cohort includes companies from Calgary, Dallas, Las Vegas, New York and Stockholm, with 57 percent of the founders women or people of color. The founders include a NASA and SpaceX rocket scientist, a former FBI special agent, and a serial entrepreneur who exited to Dell.

The cohort’s technologies address issues like natural disasters, risk assessment technology, AI-powered construction data, and business-to-business (B2B) software as a service aimed at helping lower carbon emissions from offices.

The cohort is composed of EcoClaim, a Calgary-based platform that insurers use to measure, verify, and reduce operational emissions; Faura, a Las Vegas-based climate and property risk analytics startup that helps insurance companies and homeowners reduce their natural disaster risk; Light RFP, a New York City-based procurement platform that empowers property managers and commercial real estate developers to quickly identify the best vendors for their projects; Palazzo, another New York-based company that uses an AI-powered interior design tool to help homeowners create realistic and high-quality visuals for their designs; PinPoint Analytics, a Manalapan, N.J.-based AI-powered construction platform that analyzes data and trends to ensure bid accuracy; Spacemaze, a Stockholm-based B2B software company that tries to optimize savings, reduce waste and lower carbon emissions for workplace teams; and Verfico, a Dallas-based company that analyzes workforce data, promotes diversity on job sites, and monitors for wage theft..

The cohort’s 22-week, 5 Borough program features tech talks, workshops, education sessions, real estate property tours and events in cooperation with top industry players. Events will take place throughout the city, including Roosevelt Island.Fifty companies have participated in MetaProp’s acceleration program since its launch in 2015. Graduates have raised more than $200 million in combined venture funding and have exited to industry leaders like Alarm.com, Comcast, JLL and Realtor.com.

Philip Russo can be reached at prusso@commercialobserver.com