Vector Group, the parent company of New York-based broker Douglas Elliman, has launched an investment vehicle for new proptech startups called New Valley Ventures, the company said on Monday.
New Valley Ventures will, according to a press release, aim to invest in proptech startups specifically designed to support a “rapid transformation of the real estate industry for the benefit of the brokerage experience.”
At the same time as the launch, the diversified holding company announced that New Valley Ventures had acquired a stake in the Rechat workflow platform for agent-to-close agents.
“We are very excited to introduce New Valley Ventures to the proptech industry,” said Richard J. Lampen, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Vector Group, in a statement. “We look forward to using our capital and deep industry knowledge to bring exciting and innovative technology-driven solutions to our colleagues at Douglas Elliman and the wider real estate industry.”
New Valley Ventures is open to investing in companies of any size, the press release said. New Valley Ventures has already invested in Camber Creek, a venture capital firm with a portfolio that includes startups like Notarize, Curbio, Flex, and others.
The new investment vehicle will be led by Dan Sachar, who is the managing director of New Valley Ventures and vice president of business innovation for the Vector Group.
“We are witnessing a generation change in the way real estate professionals work, and with that there are new expectations for innovations and experiences that offer ease, mobility and maneuverability,” Sachar said in a statement. “Our goal is to free brokers to do what they do best, which is to sell real estate.”
David Ballard, Vector Group’s chief technology officer, also noted that the company’s relationship with Douglas Elliman will enable startups working with New Valley Ventures to gain critical agent insights.
“It’s not just about being innovators, it’s also about recognizing new technologies early on and benefiting from them,” said Ballard. “In return, we provide startups with invaluable information from Douglas Elliman’s 7,000 agents in the US.”
With Rechat’s CRM, agents can organize customer lists, prioritize responses, synchronize with Gmail and Outlook, and create automated social media posts, emails, and digital and printed marketing material. It also has features that agents can use to create a “modern open house experience” by designing marketing templates, managing listings, online registration pages, and more. The company’s fully mobile platform also makes it easier to process forms and documents for signing, among other things.
Rechat will be available to all Douglas Elliman representatives until the first half of 2021.
Email Lillian Dickerson