Bellingham, Washington-based PLACE is the latest proptech to achieve the industry’s coveted unicorn status after it raised $100 million in a Series A round led by Goldman Sachs, the company said Wednesday. Additional funding support from 3L Capital brought the real estate agent business-services platform valuation to over $1 billion.
The proptech operates as a business and software solution for real estate agents – taking the heavy lifting of accounting, hiring, training and digital advertising off of real estate professionals so they can focus on the transactions side. The company, founded by Ben Kinney and Chris Suarez in 2020, supports and partners with agents and teams from brokerage brands in over 100 markets across the US and Canada.
However, PLACE emphasizes it is not a brokerage. Its model focuses on establishing real estate persons as business owners, with Suarez citing its design as “long overdue in the industry.” In reality, PLACE doesn’t want to compete with brokerages either, Kinney told Crunchbase, and instead works with agents from all kinds of brokerages. Most brokerages don’t provide accounting, bookkeeping and legal help for agents, while PLACE is focused on providing tech and services.
Prior to this financing, PLACE reported it had not raised any external capital; however, 2020’s profits showed success as PLACE’S top line revenue exceeded $85 million with more than $11 million in profit. The company’s press page is rife with partnerships, hirings and expansion news for 2021 and remarks that more than 10,000 agents use its technology.
Its targeted user: the top 20% of agents in any market.
“Those top agents are our customers. We help them solve the problems that are holding their businesses back: finding and hiring talent, retaining their top producers, implementing technology and systems, increasing per-agent productivity, and driving business growth and profitability,” said Ben Kinney, Co-Founder, PLACE.
With new funding in the bank, PLACE said it plans to expand its products and services, accelerate the onboarding of thousands of top real estate teams, and continue investments in PLACE’s technology.
“We were attracted to PLACE by its battle-tested technology and leadership team that has dedicated their careers toward helping high-performing agents and teams succeed,” said Paul Pate, Vice President, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “Ultimately, the performance of PLACE’s operators speaks for itself.”