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Fifth Wall Invests $20 Million in Proptech Start-Up Knock CRM


[Updated: Feb 18, 2021] Feb 18, 2021 by Jeff Piltch
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Knock, a start-up that has built a CRM and performance management platform for the multifamily industry, has raised $20 million. The deal was led by the largest real estate technology, or proptech, venture capital firm, Fifth Wall. Other investors in the deal include Madrona Venture Group, Lead Edge Capital, Second Avenue Partners, and Seven Peaks Ventures.

Knock's total funding is now at $47 million. The company says that the funding will fuel team growth and "product scale to accelerate leasing outcomes and improve performance visibility for owners and operators" in the multifamily sector.

More on Knock

Knock's platform is mainly designed to deliver value to multifamily owners and operators with larger portfolios. At a high level, Knock is offering a tool to centralize sales and leasing, fraud prevention, virtual and self-guided tours, AI communication, applicant screening and leasing, and forecasting.

Knock claims operators experience a 20% increase in lead-to-lease rates when switching from "bundled products that don't focus on CRM and performance management." The company says customers consistently outperform industry benchmarks on occupancy and rent growth, ultimately delivering greater net operating income (NOI).

What customers are saying

Melanie Stiles, vice president of Highmark Residential, said, "In our four years working with Knock, we've been able to transform our leasing teams into high-performance sales teams and more effectively meet and serve our renters across the entire renter journey."

Company traction

Knock has over 1.5 million apartment units on its platform and has quadrupled its revenue over the last two years. Users of Knock include groups like Starwood Capital Group (NYSE: STWD), ZRS, FPI, and Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) (formerly Pinnacle).

Vik Chawla, partner on the Real Estate Technology Investment Team at Fifth Wall, says the macroeconomic environment has accelerated investment, especially institutional capital, into multifamily, which is expected to continue.

Chawla added:

With asset prices increasing in response, operators need to improve yield and maximize operational efficiencies. As the preeminent CRM solution for multifamily real estate, Knock helps owners and management companies do both. Its platform optimizes the entire tenant relationship -- from marketing to retention -- and serves as a workforce management solution for training and tracking productivity. As operators face escalating challenges, we believe Knock is positioned as the ideal partner to help their businesses thrive.

More on the lead investor, Fifth Wall

Fifth Wall is the largest venture capital firm focused specifically on start-ups touching the real estate industry. The firm has roughly $1.3 billion in commitments and capital under management.

Limited partners across Fifth Wall's funds include industry leaders like CBRE (NYSE: CBRE), Cushman & Wakefield, Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), and more.

Fifth Wall has its own SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) too.

The Millionacres bottom line

At the end of the day, it's all about NOI. Tools like Knock are helping to equip property and leasing teams with the tools to be a high-octane salesforce. With an asset class that continues to draw interest from institutional investors, it will be crucial moving forward to get any competitive edge you can as a multifamily owner.

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The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.