Yesterday, RET portfolio company SmartRent rang the bell on the New York Stock Exchange, marking the beginning of its journey as a public company (NYSE:SMRT). RET led SmartRent’s seed and Series A rounds in large part because of the unparalleled leadership team led by Lucas Haldeman — and it was the executive team’s product innovation and excellent execution that enabled SmartRent’s rapid growth.
But we’d also like to think that RET’s unique approach to real estate technology investment helped make this milestone possible.
Our relationship with SmartRent goes back to our earliest days as a venture capital firm in 2017, when one of the immediate problems we observed was the demand for scalable enterprise-grade smart home technology for institutional multifamily owners and operators.
For some time, homeowners were the core adopters of smart home innovations, from thermostats to doorbells and lighting. Meanwhile, enterprise-scale solutions lagged, leaving multifamily owners and operators without a centralized platform to connect and manage devices across a portfolio, in either vacant or occupied apartments.
That was the problem we hoped to solve when we invested in SmartRent.
From the outset, we were thrilled to support SmartRent, providing resources and introducing development partners that facilitated the company’s growth. Three-plus years after our initial Seed investment, SmartRent is now live in more than 160,000 units across roughly 3,200 apartment and single-family home communities. Notably, as of the end of last year, over half of the units leveraging SmartRent technology were owned or managed by RET’s LPs.
Considering the scope of the problem SmartRent addresses and the quality of its solution, we were always confident in its prospects for success. SmartRent now going public via merger with FWAA is clear validation of our continuing confidence in the company.
SmartRent will be using the new capital raised in the SPAC transaction to expand globally. We are excited to continue our strategic partnership as SmartRent further solidifies its position as the leading smart home automation platform for the enterprise market.
SmartRent serves as the prime example of RET Ventures’ model in action – we are uniquely able to translate firsthand feedback about the multifamily industry’s technology needs into identifying products and services that can bring actionable change and tangible value to early adopters, and revolutionize the market in turn. As the global proptech industry builds on the momentum of the past year, we are excited to replicate the success RET’s partnership model has brought to SmartRent with the rest of our existing and future investments; we anticipate a growing number of successful exits for our portfolio companies in the months and years ahead.