Proptech

Amid supply constraints, proptech Lessen achieves unicorn status

Proptech Lessen, a marketplace platform that connects property owners and service professionals, achieved unicorn status after announcing a $170 million Series B round led by Fifth Wall. Additional capital by Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst and Navitas Capital also helped boost the Arizona-based startup to its billion dollar valuation.

According to Lessen CEO Jay McKee, Tuesday’s Series B was oversubscribed; however, it will supply the “rocket fuel” the startup needs to continue to scale.

Lessen’s client base, spanning over 30 markets and 2,000 service provider connections, helps property owners source necessary services like plumbers, roofers and general contractors among others. The platform then allows users to manage activity, communications and payments via the Lessen tech.

While the company hasn’t released a client list, it has reported working with real estate investment trusts (REITs) – an area of expertise for Mckee who founded American Homes, a company that later merged with Starwood Waypoint Homes. That merger would eventually become part of Invitation Homes, now the largest publicly traded single-family rental operator.

Lessen’s lead investor Fifth Wall previously lead the charge on its $35 million Series A round in June. The venture capital firm has made real estate moves in the past, pumping funds into the Knock CRM and Neighbor, a self storage startup, alongside its own three real estate-focused SPACs.

Following that round, Fifth Wall partner Dan Wenhold joined Lessen’s board of directors.

For a company just under three years of age, Lessen arrived on scene at a pivotal time for housing, as supply chain shortages reared their ugly head amid the pandemic’s heightened desire for home improvement and repairs. Whether it was new homeowners wanting to open up their floor plan or aging-in-place owners looking to tear out that 1970’s bathroom, the market is ripe for contract services.

In August, the company snagged a number of industry veterans including Chris Bee as its newest chief technology officer. At real estate juggernaut Zillow, Bee led product and engineering teams focused on core real estate shopping experiences and search. Lessen also welcomed Candice Bradley as executive vice president of marketplace operations after holding a number of leadership positions at Opendoor, an operator of an online real estate marketplace.

“Lessen is uniquely positioned to leverage deep operational knowledge to build technology solutions that will fundamentally change the way property services are performed at scale,” Bee said. “Our data also is allowing us to automate many of the painful parts of property service work and create a more optimized and lucrative world for service professionals and property owners.”

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