CHICAGO, IL – Obie, a cloud-based commercial real estate platform, announces it raised $2.8M in venture capital from investors including Y Combinator, MetaProp, FundersClub, Liquid 2, Soma Capital, JD Ross (Opendoor), Matt MacInnis (Inkling), and Justin Alanis (Rentlytics), among others. The seed round closed in the fall of 2019. The company plans to use the funds to support continued growth, strengthen the feature set on the platform, and build out the staff and infrastructure required to meet the demands of a growing user base.
Additionally, the startup publicly released their free cloud-based insurance and portfolio management platform for small-to-medium size commercial real estate funds and managers.
In an antiquated industry, the Obie platform gives owners a place to consolidate all of the information about their assets and, at the same time, invite and collaborate with any of the key stakeholders like property managers, leasing brokers, or LPs who need access to that data on a daily basis. The result is a dramatic increase in efficiency for their customers.
Obie is 100% free to customers because it uses the underlying data to streamline the sale of products their customers are required to buy anyway, starting with commercial property insurance.
“The silent majority of commercial real estate owners and funds in the US have largely been ignored by advances in technology. I spent countless hours in my previous life on time-consuming tasks that could easily be automated and consolidated in one place,” says Ryan Letzeiser, CEO of Obie, who founded the company with his brother, serial entrepreneur Aaron Letzeiser, after almost a decade working in real estate private equity.
By combining the portfolio management data with the insurance process, Obie has been able to save customers 15% or more on insurance premiums and in many cases, within 72 hours or less—compared to the industry average of 2-3 weeks. When every dollar saved while operating an investment property instantly increases the value of the asset, cutting insurance premiums by 10-15% can sometimes add millions to the value of a portfolio overnight.
"Commercial real estate is plagued with frustrating processes and frequent delays because of how disconnected the parties are. If you bring the people and data together on one platform, you can streamline almost every aspect of owning or acquiring a property." says, JD Ross, Co-Founder of Opendoor and an investor in Obie. "At Opendoor we recognized the power of streamlining residential real estate on a vertically integrated platform. I think Obie can have a similar impact in the commercial market."
In the last year, Obie has seen explosive growth while operating as an invite-only platform:
- An average of 35% month-over-month growth, with a yearly total growth of over 2,000%
- Over $2M in gross annual insurance premiums closed—up over 100% alone since Y Combinator’s demo day in August
- Brokered insurance for over $1B worth of real estate
- An average insurance premiums savings of 18% (compared to customers’ previous policies) in 72 hours or less, as opposed to the industry average of 2-3 weeks
- Over 100M sq. ft. of property now managed on the Obie platform
“When I was a landlord, procuring property and casualty insurance was an inefficient, opaque, and time-consuming process. Obie’s platform brings a refreshing data-driven approach to the process that provides unprecedented speed and efficiency to the process. MetaProp has been looking at this space for a long time, and are very excited to back this talented team”, says Zach Aarons, Co-Founder and General Partner at MetaProp.
Obie is building the next generation commercial real estate platform, consolidating and democratizing technology while connecting the community to intelligent and seamless insurance and portfolio management tools. This is a huge, important part of our economy yet Commercial Real Estate operates in the same way it has for decades — through opaque systems. That’s why Obie is re-engineering the CRE asset lifecycle from the ground up. We’re using technology to make it faster and more efficient, and humans to help make it friendly and enjoyable.
About MetaProp VC
MetaProp is a New York-based venture capital firm focused on the real estate technology (“PropTech”) industry. Founded in 2015, MetaProp’s investment team has invested in 115+ technology companies across the real estate value chain. The firm manages multiple investment funds for both financial and strategic real estate investors representing a pilot- and test-ready sandbox of 15+ billion square feet across every real estate asset type and global market. The firm’s investment activities are complemented by pioneering community leadership including the PropTech Place innovation hub, MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University programs, global events NYC Real Estate Tech Week and MIPIM PropTech NYC, and publications Global PropTech Confidence Index and PropTech 101.