Convene’s top design exec steps down

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Joyce Bromberg (Convene via Twitter)
Convene’s top design executive is stepping down after more than 10 years with the firm, the company announced Thursday.
Joyce Bromberg, Convene’s chief design officer, is resigning, just as the flex-space company braces for a gradual reopening of its 30-plus locations.
The reason for her departure was not immediately clear, but according to a press release, she described her time at Convene as “the best part of my career and truly a privilege for me to help design great spaces, create strategies, and to allow work to be about love.”
According to Convene, Bromberg came out of retirement to join the firm in 2010, where she eventually led a team that designed Convene’s locations and created the company’s workplace strategy.
Read more
Brookfield-backed Convene lays off fifth of its workforce
The office startup’s new look: Fewer desks, shuttered conference rooms
Convene, along with other flex-office companies, has grappled with a dramatic drop in business due to the coronavirus pandemic. In March, the firm laid off a fifth of its workforce, or about 150 employees.
Workplace design will likely play a large role in how businesses navigate a return to their offices. Earlier this month,夜网论坛 the firm revealed plans to reduce office capacity by 50 percent and to reconfigure its spaces to allow workers to maintain social distancing.
Convene — backed by investors including RXR Realty, the Durst Organization and Brookfield Asset Management — has locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Write to Kathryn Brenzel at .
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The MIPIM conference will now be held in September — in Paris

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The MIPIM conference will now be held in September — in Paris
This year’s conference will include a virtual element organizers say
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Ronan Vaspart, Director of MIPIM (Credit: Reed MIDEM)
Organizers of the annual MIPIM conference have notified attendees that the event will now take place in September, after the coronavirus curtailed plans for two earlier dates.
The event will also be moved to Paris and span two days as opposed to the planned four. A virtual component for attendees — MIPIM Connect — will launch in April.
“It is clear that holding a large MIPIM tradeshow in Cannes in June is not feasible given the rapid spread, devastating impact and uncertain evolution of the virus,” said Filippo Rean of organizer Reed MIDEM, in an email to attendees.
The conference was originally slated for March, however several major real estate players including Blackstone Group and Cushman Wakefield, started pulling out in February as concern mounted over the fast-moving virus.
The conference was later postponed until June, only to be rescheduled again for September.
It is one of many conferences and events that have been canned in light of concern over the coronavirus and the risks posed by mass gatherings. In March, the International Council of Shopping Centers notified members that it was postponing its annual REcon convention until later in the year. The event draws tens of thousands of people to Las Vegas every year.
In an email to MIPIM attendees, director Ronan Vaspart said the event would return to Cannes next year.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Cannes in March 2021 for an excellent MIPIM and, in the meantime, we hope people stay connected and, above all, safe,” he said. [Commercial Observer] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan
Read more
ICSC suspends real estate’s biggest trade show due to coronavirus
MIPIM postponed until June as coronavirus spreads
Coronavirus exodus: CRE bigwigs ditch MIPIM
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The best apps for residential brokers, according to LA agents

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The best apps for residential brokers, according to LA agents
As resi brokers traverse the city for showings, client meetings and the like, these apps help them get the job done —or disconnect entirely
New York Los Angeles Subscriber /
(Illustration by Tim Peacock)
Brokers in Los Angeles are constantly on the move, which means they rely on their phones for everything, perhaps even more than the average civilian. Below, agents review the apps that have been lifesavers in the line of duty.
To start the day
Mindfulness is the buzzword of the moment. Everyone from billionaire investor Ray Dalio to Jerry Seinfeld tout the benefits of creating stillness in the mind. It’s no surprise, then, that L.A.’s agents are on top of it.
Compass’ Courtney Smith, for one, said she uses the Headspace app every morning to meditate, something she’s been doing for the past three years to stay focused.
“Any meditation, anytime, will help you keep your head screwed on straight,” she said. “Pick an app, any app — as long you use it.”
Similarly, Stacy Gottula, part of the Eklund-Gomes team at Douglas Elliman, said she uses the Gaia app on her TV, which offers five-minute meditations, documentaries and lectures on empowerment and personal healing. It’s part of her routine to sta夜网论坛y grounded, which also includes yoga and regular sound baths.
“You have to be 100 percent within to perform 100 percent out in the world,” she said.
Other brokers get started with some tunes. Tami Halton Pardee of Halton Pardee + Partners gets up between 5 and 6 a.m. every morning to walk the beach. When she does, she said Spotify provides the soundtrack with some uplifting songs that will “set the tone for the day.”
To stay plugged into real estate
The apps brokers find the most essential are, naturally, those that have to do with the work itself. Dropbox, DocuSign, Salesforce and zipForm were all mentioned as vital to daily operations. Apps that offer stats on listed homes, too, are helpful in understanding what information buyers and sellers may already have in their hands.
Pardee uses Zillow throughout the day, looking at a property’s Zestimate before going on a listing appointment to understand their expectations.
“Owners and buyers really look at these estimates, and it’s important to know what they’re thinking,” she said. “Often Zillow will have inaccurate information, so it’s important to really look at and analyze the information.”
Azy Farahmand of The Agency said her favorite app is Homesnap, which she uses at least 10 times a day. She prefers Homesnap to Zillow because it pulls directly from the Multiple Listings Service. She also takes advantage of its CRM capabilities to send listing and comps to his clients. “It really helps me help my clients on the spot.”
Unsurprisingly, many brokers are big fans of their own apps. For Rochelle Maize of Nourmand Associates, that’s the Beverly Hills Home Finder, which she created in 2017 to give clients a focused way to search fo[……]

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This blockchain-based real estate startup just raised $3.1M

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This blockchain-based real estate startup just raised $3.1M
RealBlocks allows investors to purchase micro-shares in private equity funds
New York /
RealBlocks founder Perrin Quarshie
Crypto s no longer white-hot, but its underlying blockchain technology continues to attract investors. RealBlocks, a blockchain-based startup for real estate fundraising and investing, just snagged $3.1 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Science Inc. — and other investors included Morgan Creek Capital, Zelkova Ventures, Ulu Ventures and Cross Culture Ventures, the company said in a statement Friday.
RealBlocks allows global investors to purchase micro-shares in private equity funds using either government-backed currency or cryptocurrency. Investors receive an asset-backed token or share that represents ownership of an offering. And they have the ability to trade that token on a peer-to-peer platfo夜网论坛rm.
Blockchain is a public distributed ledger system. That means, unlike with centralized ledgers often maintained by one entity, multiple copies exist and each participant within the system retains their own copy of a blockchain that updates as new transactions occur. Through the technology, low-cost peer-to-peer transactions can be made between anyone, anywhere in the world, circumventing established banking systems. The exchanges are best known as trading hubs for cryptocurrencies.
RealBlocks argues that using blockchain for its platform creates a more efficient process for investors based outside the U.S.
“With the support of our strategic investors, we re accelerating development of our product and adoption of blockchain technology for real estate, an industry that previously hasn’t seen much innovation, CEO Perrin Quarshie said in the statement.
RealBlocks is the latest among companies applying blockchain to the real estate industry. Last year, imbrex launched what it said was the first blockchain-based multiple-listing service. The firm said it was creating a global MLS — which would be a decentralized, open-source system as an alternative to traditional MLS networks.
Meanwhile Brooklyn-based Meridio sought to disrupt building ownership using the technology. The experiment involved introducing a cryptocurrency token for the eight investors of a Bushwick property — who could then sell, buy and document all aspects of their investment through the token thanks to the underlying blockchain platform.
Co-working company Knotel also embraced blockchain with plans for an online office listing data platform dubbed KnotelKoin. On the platform, participants can add and verify information about office spaces through a peer-to-peer ledger system.
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City squeezing startup Guesty for info in Airbnb crackdown

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City squeezing startup Guesty for info in Airbnb crackdown
De Blasio administration accuses software startup of aiding illegal rentals
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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Guesty CEO Amiad Soto (De Blasio by Noam Galai/Getty Images; Viola)
Guesty, a software startup that services property managers who use Airbnb and other sites for short-term rentals, is in talks with the city to resolve a dispute about illegal listings.
The city accused the company in a March court filing of “providing services to those that actively choose to flout New York’s laws by facilitating multiple illegal short-term rentals.”
The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement demanded records and testimony from the startup.
According to a July 28 court filing, Guesty and the city have since negotiated a confidentiality order “to allow for the production of agreed-upon records at this time, acco夜网论坛mmodating both the city’s investigative needs and Guesty’s confidentiality concerns.”
A spokesman for the Office of Special Enforcement said the agreement “ensures that the city will obtain evidence in its investigations into illegal activities endangering New York City residents and its housing stock.”
But a spokesperson for Guesty said the talks were ongoing.
“With the goal of ultimately resolving this matter, Guesty has engaged in discussions with New York City about local short-term rental regulations and to make clear our role” as a software provider, the spokesperson said. “As a step in these ongoing discussions, we entered into a standard confidentiality agreement to ensure that any information provided is protected.”
The case is part of a wider effort from Mayor Bill de Blasio to crack down on illegal short-term rentals across New York City, where hosts are prohibited by state law from renting dwellings for fewer than 30 days without a resident present. Critics say such rentals make apartments unavailable for tenants — exacerbating the housing shortage — and provide unfair competition to hotels.
In June, the city settled a major lawsuit with Airbnb that dated back to 2018 and was a roadblock in Airbnb’s path to a public offering. Under the settlement agreement, Airbnb agreed to hand over listing information about its hosts on a quarterly basis, including names, phone numbers, addresses and other details.
The move, designed to help the city weed out illegal short-term rentals, could cost the startup tens of thousands of listings, according to Bloomberg.
Founded in Israel in 2013, Guesty had raised $60 million in funding as of last March. While the startup is not a rental provider itself, its software integrates with short-term rental websites and helps commercial operators manage networks of rental properties across multiple platforms, including Airbnb, Booking.com and HomeAway.
“You’re not using Guesty in New York City if you’re renting out your own home occasionally, Christian Klossner, the executive director of the Office of Special Enforcement, told Wired in Ma[……]

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Opendoor lays off 35% of staff

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Opendoor CEO Eric Wu
Opendoor, perhaps the most prominent and well-funded startup in the instant-homebuying business, just laid off about 600 employees, a month after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to abort home purchases.
“Though this was difficult news to deliver, our focus here at Opendoor remains the same, Eric Wu, the company s co-founder, told The Information, which broke the news. The layoffs equate to about 35 percent of the company s staff.
The company was valued at $3.8 billion after a $300 million funding round led by SoftBank s Vision Fund last March, and has also raised funds from the likes of homebuilding giant Lennar and Fifth Wall Ventures.
In October, Wu told Recode that he has discussed the possibility of going public with his board. His company, he said, looks to at least 夜网论坛partly replace agents, and lets buyers “get a personal open house without a realtor.”
The coronavirus pandemic, however, has dealt a crippling blow to the iBuying business, which also includes players like Redfin, Realogy, Zillow and Keller Williams. Many of these firms have suspended their iBuying activity during the pandemic. Since Opendoor s main source of revenue is home-selling fees from iBuying, it has been forced to make cuts. The suspended activity also leaves Opendoor with a number of homes that the firm may have to sell for a loss, or spend money to maintain before sales resume, according to The Information.
Other SoftBank-backed companies that have made major layoffs or furloughs during the pandemic include residential brokerage Compass and hotel startup Oyo. [The Information] — TRD Staff
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Compass launches West Coast tech campus in Seattle

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Compass launches West Coast tech campus in Seattle
The residential brokerage, still in expansion mode, is looking to double its tech staff at new office
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Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Credit: iStock)
Compass is launching a technology campus in Seattle geared toward building “real estate’s first-ever end-to-end platform,” and plans to hire at least 100 engineers.
The SoftBank-backed brokerage, which has been in expansion mode, announced the West Coast Product Engineering Campus in a Facebook post this week, according to Geekwire. The move came about two weeks after Compass brought on former Microsoft and Amazon executive Joseph Sirosh as its new chief technology officer.
The firm s Seattle office, at co-working space Industrious, will house company engineers. They will work on marketing technology, web and mobile, security, image and artificial intelligence, with a focus on enhancing Compass’ existing agent platform, Geekwire reported.
Compass, which has been expanding quickly across the country, also leased more space in downtown Seattle. It will end the year with 150 offices, afte夜网论坛r starting with 30. But next year, Compass plans to have 300 offices.
It raised $400 million from Softbank and Qatar Investment Authority in September, which valued the brokerage at $4.4 billion.
The Seattle campus is the company’s first tech hub outside its New York City headquarters. That means Compass is now knocking on the door of Redfin and Zillow, both based in Seattle. [Geekwire] — Katherine Kallergis 
Related Articles arrow_forward_ios Eric Gordon on the evolution of the residential data game — and how to stay competitive in the new world Eric Gordon on the evolution of the residential data game — and how to stay competitive in the new world
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Reonomy is signing “exclusive” partnerships with data providers, but it’s not clear what that means for competitors

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Reonomy is signing “exclusive” partnerships with data providers, but it’s not clear what that means for competitors
The CRE analytics firm’s latest deal with data giant Black Knight offers a glimpse into its strategy
National /
Reonomy s Rich Sarkis (Credit: iStock)
In the commercial real estate data industry, access is key. With this in mind, one firm is attempting to secure what it calls “exclusive” partnerships with the biggest data providers — a move that has befuddled competitors.
Reonomy, a New York-based analytics firm that pools public data from other sources and repurposes it for its portal, has over the past three months announced a trio of “exclusive” or “preferred” partnerships with commercial real estate data providers including CoreLogic and Dun Bradstreet.
On Monday, the company announced its latest agreement with Black Knight to use its property-record data.
But the partnerships have stirred confusion among Reonomy’s competitors, who have standing data sharing agreements with these data providers, and are unclear on whether they will be able to continue to access their commercial real estate data offerings.
“We reached out to [CoreLogic] about it and didn t get much clarity,” Bob White, the founder and chief executive of commercial real estate data firm Real Capital Analytics, told The Real Deal.
White downplayed the significance of CoreLogic’s agreement with Reonomy, and said that his own firm relies on many other data sources.
“I have a long term deal with them, so I’m not particularly worried,” he said.
Many other commercial real estate data firms including Attom Data Solutions, Credifi, CoStar Group and Moody’s Analytics Reis Network use data from the three providers that Reonomy has partnered with.
But the providers have been vague when it comes to explaining what their partnerships with Reonomy mean for others.
CoreLogic did not respond to a request for comment before deadline, and Black Knight said in a statement that “all current Black Knight commercial real estate data data customers will continue to receive and/or access our data as they do today. In short, there will be no change for our current clients.”
With the exclusive partnership with Dun Bradstreet in May, Reonomy is the only firm where the data provider’s commercial real estate company information and insights will be available. Dun Bradstreet pointed to an earlier press release, which stated that Reonomy will become the “exclusive data redistribution partner of Dun Bradstreet content for the North American commercial real estate market.”
Richard Sarkis, Reonomy’s co-founder and chief executive, told TRD that the exclusives are merely an effort to protect Reonomy’s proprietary information from being reshared with customers of its data providers.
“We ve had to expose the crown jewels,” Sarkis said. “We don’t want them to show every Tom, Dick and Harry how this is done.”
He said that his firm provides data-as-a-service that standardizes commer[……]

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10 biggest proptech funding rounds of 2020

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10 biggest proptech funding rounds of 2020
Investors poured nearly $2B into top real estate tech deals
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Procore s Tooey Courtemanche, REEF Technologies s Ari Ojalvo, Pacaso s Spencer Rascoff and Sonder s Francis Davidson (Procore, CoMotion Miami, Getty, Sonder, iStock)
Some got bailouts, others got boosters — but across the board, proptech firms continued to reel in cash in 2020 as the pandemic forced the slow-to-adapt real estate industry to fully embrace technology.
As tech stocks led Wall Street’s recovery this spring, private investors also pulled out their checkbooks to fund hospitality startups and companies looking to digitize the home-buying process, from searches to securing titles.
SoftBank continued to double down on real estate tech. Other prolific investors included proptech-focused funds such as Navitas Capital and Zigg Capital, as well as generalist investors like Founders Fund and Greycroft.
All told, investors poured nearly $2 billion into the top 10 deals of the year, according to data compiled for The Real Deal by Pitchbook an夜网论坛d the Center for Real Estate Technology and Innovation. Many were late-stage investments, and the average deal size was $198.7 million, according to the data.
Here’s the breakdown of the biggest deals:
1. REEF Technologies | $700 million
The biggest funding round of 2020 went to REEF Technologies, a Miami startup that turns empty parking lots into logistics hubs. In November, a syndicate including SoftBank and Mubadala Corp. invested $700 million, fueling REEF’s planned expansion from 4,800 to 10,000 locations. Founded in 2013, REEF provides hardware, software and management services to parking lot owners; more recently, it added cloud kitchens, healthcare clinics, last-mile delivery and experiential retail to its portfolio. Similar to WeWork, REEF leases real estate itself.
2. Pacaso | $267 million
Spencer Rascoff revolutionized the way people search for homes with Zillow. Now, he’s helping people find second homes with Pacaso, a startup he launched in September with CEO Austin Allison. Pacaso, which lets people buy from one-eighth to one-half of a vacation home, raised $17 million in equity and $250 million in debt, which it will use to purchase homes before quickly re-selling them. Investors include former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Amazon exec Jeff Wilke and former Zillow exec Greg Schwartz.
Read more
Spencer Rascoff’s next idea: second homes for all
States Title nabs $123M at $623M valuation
Sonder raises $170M despite hospitality apocalypse
3. Better.com | $200 million
Buoyed by heightened demand for digital home loans, Better.com raised $200 million at a $4 billion valuation in November, setting off rumors of a potential IPO in 2021. But behind the scenes, CEO Vishal Garg was ensnared in several lawsuits alleging financial mismanagement, Forbes reported. Garg’s former business partner, Raza Khan, also claimed that the CEO threatened to burn him alive. A Better.[……]

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“Our HQ will be in the cloud”: What if remote-first work is an opportunity, not a compromise?

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Our HQ will be in the cloud : What if remote-first work is an opportunity, not a compromise?
Founder of social network Quora explains why the firm is done with the office as the center of interaction
National /
Remote-first work could lead to greater employee wellbeing, lower housing costs and a fairer company, according to the CEO of Quora When it comes to the future of remote work, everyone and their landlord has weighed in.
Owners of prime office buildings have dismissed remote work as serviceable at best (SL Green Realty s Marc Holliday), having a shelf life (Rudin Management s Bill Rudin) or not sustainable (Empire State Realty Trust s Tony Malkin). Even owners who have acknowledged that more remote work is a reality and that productivity hasn t plummeted in its wake have framed it as a compromise — an experience that is doomed to be a lesser version of the office experience.
But what if removing the office from the center of a company s experience unlocks a host of benefits? That s the scenario the CEO of Quora envisions.
In a piece he published on the popular Q-and-A-style social networ夜网论坛k Thursday, Adam D Angelo argues for a radical reframing of remote-first work. He doesn’t see it as the middle stepchild of office parents, but as a pathway to a happier workforce, greater labor mobility, a broader pool of talent to recruit from and a more just company.
Remote work will be the primary orientation of our company — the default for all choices, D Angelo wrote. All employees will have the opportunity to relocate to wherever they wish, all meetings will be held via video, the firm s current headquarters in Mountain View will be converted into co-working space to accommodate those who want to come in, and D Angelo himself plans to be in the office no more than once a month.
In this, D Angelo distinguished Quora s approach from the hub-and-spoke model many companies have been advocating for, one in which the main office remains the cultural and power base of the company, while clusters of people work from home or in flex spaces in satellite locations.
(Related: The REInterview: How flex space could upend supply-demand dynamics in the office market)
In most companies, it is a significant career advantage to work from the headquarters rather than to work remotely, he wrote. People in positions of power have a tendency to bias toward giving out opportunities to those whom they are familiar with. That then leads to a cascade where the work at headquarters tends to be more successful, the most important projects and roles tend to be at headquarters, and the people who really care about their career move to headquarters.
Office landlords in core markets such as New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles have long made this point – it s part of how they justify the pricey rents in their buildings. Even Facebook, which shook the office market with its announcement that it would be a distributed-workforce company, is maintaining its po[……]

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