Vector Group, the parent company of New York-headquartered brokerage Douglas Elliman, has launched an investment vehicle for new proptech startups called New Valley Ventures, the company announced on Monday.
New Valley Ventures will aim to invest in those proptech startups specifically focused on supporting a “rapid transformation of the real estate industry for the benefit of the agent experience,” according to a press release.
In tandem with the launch, the diversified holding company also announced that New Valley Ventures has acquired an ownership stake in lead-to-close agent workflow platform Rechat.
“We are incredibly excited to introduce New Valley Ventures to the Proptech industry,” Richard J. Lampen, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Vector Group, said in a statement. “We look forward to putting our capital and deep industry knowledge to work to bring exciting and innovative tech-driven solutions to our colleagues at Douglas Elliman as well as the greater real estate community.”
New Valley Ventures is open to investing in companies of any size, the press release stated. New Valley Ventures has already invested in Camber Creek, a venture capital firm with a portfolio inclusive of startups like Notarize, Curbio, Flex and others.
The new investment vehicle is being led by Dan Sachar who is serving as New Valley Ventures’ managing director, while also serving as vice president of enterprise innovation for Vector Group.
“We are witnessing a generational shift in how real estate professionals work, and with that comes a new set of expectations for innovation and experiences that provide ease, mobility and nimbleness,” Sachar said in a statement. “Our objective is to free agents to do what they do best, which is to sell real estate.”
Vector Group Chief Technology Officer David Ballard also noted that the company’s relationship with Douglas Elliman will allow startups that work with New Valley Ventures to gain crucial, on-the-ground agent insights.
“It is not just about us being innovators, it is about being able to identify emerging technologies early and benefit from them,” Ballard said. “In turn, we provide startups with invaluable intelligence from Douglas Elliman’s 7,000 agents across the United States.”
Rechat’s CRM will allow agents to organize client rosters, prioritize responses, sync with Gmail and Outlook and create automated social media posts, emails and digital and printed marketing materials. It also has features that enable agents to create a “modern open house experience” through designing marketing templates, managing listings, online registration pages and more. The company’s fully mobile platform also helps facilitate the processing of forms and documents for signature, among other features.
Rechat will be available to all Douglas Elliman agents by the first half of 2021.