Modern Ventures closes second fund with $ 200 million and targets digital transformation of industry – TechCrunch
Since 2015, Constance Freedman, founder and managing partner of Moderne Ventures, and her partner Liza Benson have built a network of more than 700 executives in the real estate, finance, insurance and home services sectors.
Today, their early-stage venture capital firm has set up a second oversubscribed fund, this time raising $ 200 million, to inject capital into startups in and around these industries. Moderne’s latest fund includes new top strategic partners such as AvalonBay Communities, Camden Property Trust, Greystar, JBG SMITH, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management and Realogy. The Chicago-based company now has $ 350 million in assets under management.
Freedman’s background is in real estate, technology, and business, spending three years in sales and leasing before the dot-com era. After earning her MBA at Harvard, she turned to investing, launching a fund in 2008 focused on information and media, as well as working with the National Association of Realtors, which wanted to invest in the real estate technology. That $ 20 million fund became the predecessor fund for Moderne Ventures and where much of what the company does now comes from, Freedman told TechCrunch.
In fact, a big part of their strategy is to look for outside companies and bring them in, Freedman said.
“Sectors like real estate are cyclical, so you don’t want to be beholden to just one sector,” she added. “If a company has that as a bridgehead, but can expand into other industries, the bigger the market, the greater the returns on investment for investors. We will also have a stronger fund as a result. “
Modern Ventures wrote the first checks between $ 4 million and $ 7 million, and its strong point was companies with sales between $ 2 million and $ 10 million. Most of his investments are from late seed to early B series.
To date, the company has invested in more than 100 companies, including five unicorns, three IPOs and dozens of accretive fundraising events over the past year, Freedman said. Notable investments in the portfolio include ICON, Porch, Better Mortgage, Hippo Insurance, Homesnap (acquired by Costar), MotoRefi, Super, EasyKnock and Kaiyo. For its new fund, Moderne Ventures has so far invested in seven companies.
In addition to its fund, Moderne runs an industry immersion program called Moderne Passport, to connect startups with this network of over 700 industry leaders and business partners who can benefit from their services.
The program includes about 80 companies, and Freedman said Moderne “will make significant investments in about a third of them.” There is one course open right now, and the company will have another in seven to ten months.
The firm offers a hands-on approach to influencing the growth of a business, including go-to-market strategy. Moderne facilitates more than 1,000 meetings each year between companies and its network, often turning into pilot programs.
Speaking about the ton of artificial intelligence tech applications in his core business lines, Freedman said more than $ 30 million is spent on marketing to people who aren’t real buyers, but just do to look at. On the contrary, Moderne Ventures uses AI and data analytics to help companies market to the right people.
“We are creating a less expensive or free way for partners to try before you buy to eliminate sales friction,” she added. “In return, companies get exposure opportunities that they cannot buy to accelerate their growth.”