The newly established Canadian arm of the REACH real estate technology accelerator is accepting applications for its inaugural program through the end of July.
REACH offers education, mentorship and exposure for technology companies aiming to launch into the real estate industry, accelerate their businesses and expand into adjacent markets such as insurance, mortgage and financial services.
“We’re a growth program as opposed to an incubator program or an ideation program,” REACH Canada managing partner Lynette Keyowski told RENX.
“We want folks who are willing to learn and grow, but also to share and help others grow as well. It goes back to creating a virtuous circle of synergies within our cohort and our founder group.”
Keyowski, who has bachelors and masters degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Saskatchewan, started her new position in February.
Keyowski began her real estate career in 2009 as the property information services manager for the Association of Regina Realtors. In 2014, she was appointed chief executive officer of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board, a post she held until last year.
She was most recently principal of Eclipse Real Estate Solutions Group.
The REACH program
Keyowski said she’s always had an interest in learning about and bringing technological solutions to the Canadian real estate industry.
Through her exploration, she was introduced to people at Second Century Ventures, who invited her to be a mentor for some REACH classes in the United States and then to head REACH Canada.
“Technology really has no borders,” said Keyowski. “There’s a lot of great technology being developed all around the world that can benefit the real estate industry.”
REACH was created by Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the Chicago-headquartered National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The largest trade association in the U.S., NAR represents more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
As part of REACH’s recent global expansion, REACH Canada is offering a select group of entrepreneurs access to a worldwide network of peers, mentors and investors in conjunction with its sister programs in the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom.
REACH participants receive mentorship from more than 350 real estate and technology thought leaders and executives from major real estate brokerages and brands, technology companies and venture capitalists.
On average, participants meet with more than 50 of these advisors in one-on-one sessions throughout the program.
Participating in REACH
Keyowski said companies REACH works with are generally looking for access to markets and capital. REACH’s role is to act as a conduit and support network.
Keyowski said there are three primary factors REACH considers during the selection process. It’s looking for:
* companies offering long-term solutions that add value;
* companies already generating revenue of between $1 million and $10 million annually, though that’s not a hard-and-fast rule;
* and what it believes is a good fit between the company’s founder or executive team and REACH.
Companies pay a $50,000 fee up front to participate in REACH and help fund the program, but are expected to be compensated through future investment.
“We’ll also be partnering with entities and organizations whose interest in accelerating real estate technology aligns with ours (to secure further financing),” Keyowski explained.
REACH’s curriculums are tailored to the participants and include workshops or information sessions held about once a month.
Before the pandemic, these have often been held to coincide with more than a dozen top real estate industry conferences, trade shows and networking events.
“When the event structure comes back up, we’ll be insuring that we have the opportunities to bring our companies there,” said Keyowski. “In the meantime, we will deliver the curriculum virtually.”
Benefits of REACH
REACH has attracted technology startups developing solutions for multiple aspects of the real estate industry, including marketing automation, pay-at-close renovation, agent safety, leasing, lending, transaction management and tokenization, among others.
REACH participants become part of a global network of like-minded entrepreneurs, including more than 100 REACH alumni companies and curated program sponsors.
REACH participants have in aggregate raised more than $350 million of follow-on financing and have secured key partnerships with the likes of DocuSign, Google, Facebook, Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
Graduating REACH companies have seen revenue, customer and/or user growth rates increase between 50 and 2,000 per cent.
Other proptech accelerator programs
Keyowski said she admires the Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars and views that program (which isn’t affiliated) as a parallel to REACH. She said REACH participants are free to be involved with it and any other proptech accelerator.
“We’re happy to have a conversation about how we can help elevate each other’s portfolios, not just ours. There’s no competition, because a company may be right for our program right now and might be right for another program at another point in time.”
Applications for REACH Canada will be accepted through July 31 via its website.
The eight-month virtual and event-based program will kick off in October and run through May.
“The eight months that you’re in our program is really about getting you ready to get out there and scale and grow, but we’re going to be along with you for your entire journey,” said Keyowski.