Bowery Valuation raises $12 million more to automate the real estate appraisal process

Bowery Valuation, a New York-based company that we told you about last year, has raised $12 million in Series A funding for its tech-enabled real estate appraisal platform. The 3.5-year-old company raised the capital from Corigin Ventures, Camber Creek, Navitas Capital, Fika Ventures and Builders.

Bowery caught our attention initially because, like a lot of real estate technology companies, it’s tackling some clunky processes that you might imagine would have been solved long ago. For example, its mobile app enables appraisers to tick off items, rather than write everything down. It automatically pulls in public record data so that appraisers needn’t surf the web to find what they need. It enables passive databasing, meaning that rental and sales comps that are often lost today can be found via a map-based search. It also uses natural language generation to help its appraiser clients produce reports.

What has changed since we last talked: the company was beginning to sell a white-label version of its app to customers, and it has since shifted toward focusing its entire product and engineering team on its own internal software.

It has also expanded its footprint more slowly than it thought it might. Though the company is currently licensed and working throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, it hasn’t reached numerous farther-flung cities that continue to remain in its sights, including L.A. and Chicago.

Both are “still our first two choices for expansion,” says co-founder Noah Isaacs, adding that Bowery’s goal is now to “be in at least one of those two markets within the next nine to 12 months, with the other to follow shortly. We held off on expanding into new geographies prematurely, as we felt we had a lot more room to grow just in the tri-state area.” (Isaacs says the company has more than tripled its customer base and revenue since we last talked with the company last March.)

Though Bowery today focuses on multi-family and mixed-use assets, it also plans to expand to other commercial properties this year, says Isaacs.

Isaacs and his best childhood friend, John Meadows, founded Bowery in 2015 after working together at the same appraisal firm in New York and seeing plenty about the business on which they could improve. After bringing aboard as CTO Cesar Devers, a Princeton grad who’d studied economics and worked on several startups after graduating, the three got to work, applying and gaining acceptance shortly afterward to MetaProp NYC, a local accelerator program that focuses exclusively on real estate.

Bowery, where Meadows and Isaacs are co-CEOs, has since raised $18.8 million altogether, including from real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield.

Report: Self-driving car startup Aurora is raising capital at a $2B valuation

Early last year, LinkedIn co-founder and prolific venture capital investor Reid Hoffman called Chris Urmson “the Henry Ford of autonomous vehicles (AV).” The vote of confidence and big check from Hoffman, coupled with a team of deeply knowledgable AV entrepreneurs, has catapulted his company, Aurora Innovation, squarely into “unicorn” territory.

Aurora, the developer of a full-stack self-driving software system for automobile manufacturers, is raising at least $500 million in equity funding at more than a $2 billion valuation in a round expected to be led by new investor Sequoia Capital, according to a Recode report. A $500 million financing would bring Aurora’s total raised to date to $596 million and would provide a 4x increase to its most recent valuation.

The company, founded in 2016, raised a $90 million Series A last February from Hoffman’s Greylock Partners and Index Ventures . Hoffman and Index general partner Mike Volpi joined Aurora’s board as part of the deal. Greylock and Index are Aurora’s only existing investors, per PitchBook data. The young business has a lean cap table often characteristic of startup’s led by experienced entrepreneurs able to secure financing deals briskly from top VCs.

Aurora’s C-suite is chock-full of veteran AV workers. Urmson, for his part, formerly headed up the self-driving vehicles program at Google, now known as Waymo. Chief technology officer Drew Bagnell was head of perception and autonomy at Uber and Sterling Anderson, Aurora’s chief product officer, directed the autopilot program at Tesla from 2015 to 2016.

“Between these three co-founders, they have been thinking and working collectively in robotics, automation automotive products for over 40 years,” Hoffman wrote in a blog post announcing Aurora’s Series A funding.

In addition to the high-caliber of the founding team, Aurora’s collaborative approach to building self-driving cars has attracted investors, too. The company has partnered with a number of automotive retailers to integrate its technology into their vehicles and make self-driving cars a “practical reality.” Currently, Aurora counts Volkswagen, Hyundai and Chinese manufacturer Byton as partners. 

2018 was a banner year for VC investment in U.S. autonomous vehicle startups. In total, investors poured $1.6 billion across 58 deals, nearly doubling 2017’s high of $893 million. Around the world, AV startups secured $3.41 billion, on par with the $3.48 billion invested in 2017, per PitchBook.

Though we are just days into 2019, LiDAR technology developer AEye has completed a previously announced $40 million Series B. The Pleasanton, Calif.-headquartered company raised the funds from Taiwania Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Airbus Ventures and Tychee Partners. And last week, Sydney-based Baraja, another LiDAR startup, brought in a $32 million Series A from Sequoia China, Main Sequence Ventures’ CSIRO Innovation Fund and Blackbird Ventures.

The best and worst of CES 2019: Monster displays, VR in cars and crazy personal gadgets

CES 2019 is here and there has been a lot of technology announced at the show. From the latest autonomous vehicle technology to the coolest personal gadgets, here’s a roundup of the best from the show so far.

Autos

Smart home

Personal gadgets

The worst

CES 2019 coverage - TechCrunch

See you tomorrow in Las Vegas

We will be holding a small event during CES in Las Vegas and we want to see you! We’re looking to meet some cool hardware and crypto startups, so the good folks at Work In Progress have opened up their space to us and 200 of you all to hold a meetup and pitch-off.

We’ll have some pizza and beer and we can hit a bar after the event for some one on one time with the TC folks.

The event will be held at Work In Progress, 317 South 6th Street on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 between 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM PST.

The meetup is sold out but please attend if you’ve picked up a ticket. Thanks!

See you in Vegas!