SmartRent to go public in $2.2bn merger

US: SmartRent, a smart home operating system for residential property owners and managers, homebuilders, home buyers and residents, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp. I, a special purpose acquisition company [SPAC] sponsored by an affiliate of Fifth Wall, the largest venture capital firm focused on the global real estate industry and proptech.

Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be publicly traded.

Founded in 2017, SmartRent is a proptech company that is designed to provide the real estate industry with deeply integrated, brand-agnostic hardware and software solutions.

SmartRent’s IoT operating system enables property owners, operators, and developers to decrease the complexities of property management, lower operating costs, and increase revenue.

Before SmartRent, the real estate industry “lacked an integrated software management platform that could deliver a smart home experience for real estate operators”, according to the company.

Using its breadth and depth of experience as real estate operators, SmartRent’s founding team members pioneered an open-architecture, hardware-agnostic operating system for residential owners while also launching a fully employed national field services team to execute installations for both new construction and retrofitted properties, making SmartRent’s product highly attractive to real estate owners across all property types, segments, and regions.

SmartRent claims to have more residential units installed and states served than all of its competitors combined. In addition, the company says that it intends to leverage Fifth Wall’s investor base of international real estate owners as the company expands into Western Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia, and more.

Residential real estate is the single-largest consumer of electricity in the United States and accounts for 21 per cent of total US energy consumption. If all rental buildings adopted SmartRent systems, it is claimed that US energy consumption would decrease by up to four per cent.

The sustainable model not only saves electricity by rationalising energy consumption based on property usage, it can also reduce maintenance costs by monitoring for issues such as water leaks. As a result, owners deploying SmartRent technologies can both reduce carbon emissions and prevent catastrophic water leaks and damage to residential assets.

SmartRent expects to achieve positive EBITDA by 2022, and is poised to penetrate the multibillion-dollar smart home management market on a global scale across all asset classes in both retrofit and new development. From existing customers alone, SmartRent has an opportunity to generate up to $1.5 billion in annual revenue.

Lucas Haldeman, founder and CEO of SmartRent, said: “We started this business as frustrated real estate operators looking for a comprehensive smart home solution. We understood the deficiencies of the enterprise smart home industry and knew that if we could build a fully integrated platform that met the needs of operators and their communities, we would have an impact not just on their business, but on society at large.

“Today we offer the most robust and deeply integrated platform on the market, validated by its rapid adoption and 100 per cent customer retention.

“SmartRent’s comprehensive platform has a clear technological edge on competitors and significant growth potential; and Fifth Wall, through its extensive investor and partner network, is uniquely positioned to help us expand our capabilities globally.

“Fifth Wall is a trusted investor and visionary. With its track record of supporting and investing in leading proptech companies, the Fifth Wall team understands technology, markets, and real estate—including what the real estate industry will adopt next,” he added.

As the largest proptech investor in the world, Fifth Wall intends to support SmartRent’s growth strategy of deepening its relationship and applications with existing customers; pursuing an ambitious global growth strategy with new customers and geographic markets; and evaluating an ongoing M&A strategy.

Brendan Wallace, CEO of Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp. I, said: “Alongside Fifth Wall’s strategic LPs in multifamily and homebuilding, as part of its initial investment in SmartRent, Fifth Wall evaluated every company in the smart home ecosystem. It was clear to Fifth Wall that SmartRent has emerged as the category leader in smart home tech, with customers that include 15 of the 20 largest residential owners in the US, with a larger install base than all of its competitors combined.

“Through a consistent stream of early investments in category-leading real estate technology companies, Fifth Wall has identified a pattern of technology adoption in the real estate industry that is playing out to SmartRent’s benefit. As an early winner in the eyes of some of the largest national real estate owners, SmartRent has rapidly become the industry standard solution.

“FWAA is also thrilled that some of the largest residential owners, many of whom are investors in Fifth Wall’s funds, have voted so decisively in favour of SmartRent. Starwood Capital Group, Lennar, Invitation Homes, and Koch Real Estate Investments participating as financial investors in this transaction only increases our excitement and confidence in SmartRent,” he added.

Barry Sternlicht, chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, the third largest owner of multifamily units in the United States, said: “I’ve known Lucas since he served as our CTO at Colony Starwood Homes and have been impressed by his leadership, vision and execution. The opportunity to partner with Fifth Wall on this transaction made it all the more compelling.

“Starwood is excited to anchor the PIPE and look forward to continuing to roll out SmartRent in Starwood Capital Group’s expansive multi-family portfolio,” he added.

Eric Feder, President of LENX, the technology, innovation and investment arm of Lennar, one of the nation’s leading homebuilders, said: “As one of the nation’s leading homebuilders, with a growing presence in single family and multifamily rental communities, Lennar is deploying SmartRent’s solutions to provide model home tours to prospective homebuyers and renters using self-guided touring technology.

“As a current investor in Fifth Wall and direct investor in SmartRent, we are delighted to signal our confidence in SmartRent by being a major investor in this transaction’s PIPE,” he added.

Dallas Tanner, president and CEO of Invitation Homes, the largest owner of single-family homes in the US, said: “Invitation Homes has begun to roll out SmartRent technology across our portfolio of more than 80,000 homes. We carefully chose SmartRent because we are impressed with their team and believe them to have the best technology in the space.

“We look forward to continuing to build out the product across our portfolio, and we are equally excited to continue our partnership with Fifth Wall by re-investing in the SmartRent team and technology,” added Tanner.