Business

Essential City + Tech Stories 6.23.22

UrbanTech is Back, 7 Stories to Know

John Thomey
John Thomey
Jun 22, 2022
Essential City + Tech Stories 6.23.22
🔒 Member-only content. 🔒
OR

Hi Everyone! 🏙

John, here. Know it’s been a while since we sent out a free edition. After working on growing UrbanTech as a paid community, we’ve decided to pivot back to a free model.

We are doing this for several reasons, but mainly because I want UT to live on and didn’t have the time with a day job to dedicate to a paid model — yet.

Also, building an online community is hard. I will be writing about the community experience in an upcoming edition and share learnings from my time trying to launch the community for UT.

But, here’s what you can expect from UT moving forward:

  1. One curation newsletter a week (like today’s edition) and;
  2. Occasional company deep dives and interviews with executives, leader and investors in the space. As we have time, we will provide you with these special editions. The first one will be published next week.

A quick reminder of the company that you’re in as a UT reader:

One thing we are keeping from the community is our slack group which is continuing to grow.

If you’re interested in networking with other urban tech professionals, staying up to date on jobs, and sharing insights outside the newsletter, please join using this link.

See below for the types of people in the group.

Join UT Slack for Free

And If you’re interested in being featured in UrbanTech, or chatting with me for an upcoming newsletter, send me an email at John@urbantechnews.net.

Now onto today’s edition.

Subscribe now

UrbanTech Archives

  1. 🏛Insights from a Govtech Founder Part 1/2
  2. 🗺 UrbanTech Market Map Series #2: Zooming into Energy Tech
  3. 📦 The opaque systems and processes of global trade

Essential City + Tech Stories: 6.23.22

🏡Fortune: The housing market 'correction' intensifies as layoffs hit Redfin and Compass. This interactive map explains why

  • Real estate startups have been hit hard as the market has cooled off. From Fortune:

On Tuesday, layoffs hit two of the biggest names in real estate. First, Redfin announced it’s laying off 8% of its staff. Then Compass, one of the nation’s largest residential brokerages, announced it’s cutting 10% of its workforce.

  • These companies were highly focused on growth, and as the residential market cools down and with higher interest rates, it makes sense they are consolidating their employee base.
  • Keep in mind: They aren’t the only tech firms to be experiencing layoffs; Coinbase announced layoffs of up to 18% of its staff.

💰TechCrunch: Amid real estate tech industry layoffs, HomeLight raises $60M and acquires lending startup Accept.inc 

  • As mentioned above, there is still excitement in the space, from Mary Ann Azevedo at TechCrunch:

HomeLight’s latest $60 million equity raise is an extension of the company’s $100 million Series D that was announced last September. At that time, HomeLight was valued at $1.6 billion. With the extension, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company has raised a total of $645 million since its 2012 inception and is valued at $1.7 billion. Notably, existing investor Oren Zeev contributed the whole $60 million.

“This fundraise and acquisition allow us to play both offense and defense — expanding our business while also positioning the company to weather uncertainty this year and into next year,” Drew Uher, HomeLight’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch. 

  • Companies like HomeLight showcase that there is still a hunger to bring more innovation into residential real estate.

FYI: HomeLight taps into a network of pre-approved cash buyers who compete to buy your home. 

🚗The Washington Post: Teslas running Autopilot involved in 273 crashes reported since last year

Some not so great news, but a win for transparency in the sector, about the current state of autopilots by The Washington Post:

According to regulators, Tesla vehicles running its Autopilot software have been involved in 273 reported crashes over roughly the past year, far more than previously known and providing concrete evidence regarding the real-world performance of its futuristic features.

🏠The New York Times: ​​How Houston Moved 25,000 People From the Streets Into Homes of Their Own

  • Homelessness and housing insecurity remain major issues in urban areas around the country. This piece from Michael Kimmelman and Lucy Tompkins at The New York Times shares what my hometown Houston has done to impact the trends in its city.

🍔Bloomberg: Fast-Delivery Startup Jokr Cuts Back US Operations to Focus on Latin America 

  • Rapid fast delivery continues to see consolidation and companies beginning to run out of money. From Bloomberg on Jokr cutting back its operations in the U.S.:
  • Rapid delivery startup Jokr is pulling back from its US operations to focus on its core Latin America business, joining a growing number of similar companies that are paring down and prioritizing profitability amid fading investor enthusiasm.
  • The U.S. and its urban areas are a massive market to service making it difficult for companies to compete in this expensive landgrab for space.

💵  The Wall Street Journal: Marc Lore's Food-Delivery Startup Wonder Is Valued at $3.5 Billion After Capital Raise

  • While Jokr is pairing back, Jet.com’s Marc Lore is investing new capital into the space:

Wonder Group, a food-delivery startup led by Jet.com founder Marc Lore, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the business at a time when the venture-capital market is cooling.

New York-based Wonder closed a $350 million funding round last month, according to company officials, bringing the total amount raised in debt and equity to $900 million.

The latest funding values the company at roughly $3.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Previously it was valued at $1.4 billion, the people said.

🛠  LinkedIn: Construction workers in short supply

Keep in mind as we enter into a recession the state of construction labor in the U.S.:

A shortage of workers in the construction industry is forcing companies to turn to "creative" incentives to lure contractors, says The Wall Street Journal. While some companies use their states' warmer climates, others are dangling all sorts of bonuses to attract contractors. Some are even offering accommodation allowances. The lowest unemployment rate in decades, combined with a post-pandemic rebound, has worsened labor shortages across most industries, just as $1 trillion in federal infrastructure money comes into effect.

Several Interesting Tweets 

Twitter avatar for @arpitrage

Arpit Gupta @arpitrage

The single family REITs, as a guide to the residential housing market, are down 23-34% year to date, and moved a lot over the last week.

Image
Image
Image
Image

June 14th 2022

52 Retweets332 Likes

Twitter avatar for @StreetsblogNYC

Streetsblog New York @StreetsblogNYC

So we need to do 18 months of review to install a toll booth in Manhattan, but every car maker can turn the dashboard into a movie theater without so much as a question from regulators?

The Verge @verge

Apple announces next generation of CarPlay with widgets, climate control, and a customizable instrument cluster at #WWDC22 https://t.co/iPEE2VV4tr

June 7th 2022

34 Retweets250 Likes

Twitter avatar for @jayparsons

Jay Parsons @jayparsons

Here's one of the biggest drivers of rent growth over the last year, and arguably the biggest question mark going forward: Renter household incomes. Wage growth is part of inflation, and among market-rate apartment renters, household incomes have kept pace with asking rents...

apartment renter incomes vs rent

June 21st 2022

20 Retweets117 Likes

Twitter avatar for @david_perell

David Perell @david_perell

Austin is one of America's quirkiest and fastest-growing cities.Since moving here, a bunch of people have asked me: "What's up with Austin?" After saying the same thing a million times, I collected my answer into an article and this Twitter thread.

What’s Up with Austin? - David PerellAustin is a mediocre city, but a great place to live.perell.com

June 21st 2022

22 Retweets194 Likes

Twitter avatar for @hollley

Grace Holley @hollley

He’s a 4 and he also thinks he is a housing genius because he read one book on housing (there are many of him)

June 21st 2022

7 Retweets53 Likes

That’s all for today! Please share UT with your networks.

Talk soon,

JT

Thank you for reading UrbanTech. This post is public so feel free to share it.

Share

Hi Everyone! 🏙

John, here. Know it’s been a while since we sent out a free edition. After working on growing UrbanTech as a paid community, we’ve decided to pivot back to a free model.

We are doing this for several reasons, but mainly because I want UT to live on and didn’t have the time with a day job to dedicate to a paid model — yet.

Also, building an online community is hard. I will be writing about the community experience in an upcoming edition and share learnings from my time trying to launch the community for UT.

But, here’s what you can expect from UT moving forward:

  1. One curation newsletter a week (like today’s edition) and;
  2. Occasional company deep dives and interviews with executives, leader and investors in the space. As we have time, we will provide you with these special editions. The first one will be published next week.

A quick reminder of the company that you’re in as a UT reader:

One thing we are keeping from the community is our slack group which is continuing to grow.

If you’re interested in networking with other urban tech professionals, staying up to date on jobs, and sharing insights outside the newsletter, please join using this link.

See below for the types of people in the group.

Join UT Slack for Free

And If you’re interested in being featured in UrbanTech, or chatting with me for an upcoming newsletter, send me an email at John@urbantechnews.net.

Now onto today’s edition.

Subscribe now

UrbanTech Archives

  1. 🏛Insights from a Govtech Founder Part 1/2
  2. 🗺 UrbanTech Market Map Series #2: Zooming into Energy Tech
  3. 📦 The opaque systems and processes of global trade

Essential City + Tech Stories: 6.23.22

🏡Fortune: The housing market 'correction' intensifies as layoffs hit Redfin and Compass. This interactive map explains why

  • Real estate startups have been hit hard as the market has cooled off. From Fortune:

On Tuesday, layoffs hit two of the biggest names in real estate. First, Redfin announced it’s laying off 8% of its staff. Then Compass, one of the nation’s largest residential brokerages, announced it’s cutting 10% of its workforce.

  • These companies were highly focused on growth, and as the residential market cools down and with higher interest rates, it makes sense they are consolidating their employee base.
  • Keep in mind: They aren’t the only tech firms to be experiencing layoffs; Coinbase announced layoffs of up to 18% of its staff.

💰TechCrunch: Amid real estate tech industry layoffs, HomeLight raises $60M and acquires lending startup Accept.inc 

  • As mentioned above, there is still excitement in the space, from Mary Ann Azevedo at TechCrunch:

HomeLight’s latest $60 million equity raise is an extension of the company’s $100 million Series D that was announced last September. At that time, HomeLight was valued at $1.6 billion. With the extension, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company has raised a total of $645 million since its 2012 inception and is valued at $1.7 billion. Notably, existing investor Oren Zeev contributed the whole $60 million.

“This fundraise and acquisition allow us to play both offense and defense — expanding our business while also positioning the company to weather uncertainty this year and into next year,” Drew Uher, HomeLight’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch. 

  • Companies like HomeLight showcase that there is still a hunger to bring more innovation into residential real estate.

FYI: HomeLight taps into a network of pre-approved cash buyers who compete to buy your home. 

🚗The Washington Post: Teslas running Autopilot involved in 273 crashes reported since last year

Some not so great news, but a win for transparency in the sector, about the current state of autopilots by The Washington Post:

According to regulators, Tesla vehicles running its Autopilot software have been involved in 273 reported crashes over roughly the past year, far more than previously known and providing concrete evidence regarding the real-world performance of its futuristic features.

🏠The New York Times: ​​How Houston Moved 25,000 People From the Streets Into Homes of Their Own

  • Homelessness and housing insecurity remain major issues in urban areas around the country. This piece from Michael Kimmelman and Lucy Tompkins at The New York Times shares what my hometown Houston has done to impact the trends in its city.

🍔Bloomberg: Fast-Delivery Startup Jokr Cuts Back US Operations to Focus on Latin America 

  • Rapid fast delivery continues to see consolidation and companies beginning to run out of money. From Bloomberg on Jokr cutting back its operations in the U.S.:
  • Rapid delivery startup Jokr is pulling back from its US operations to focus on its core Latin America business, joining a growing number of similar companies that are paring down and prioritizing profitability amid fading investor enthusiasm.
  • The U.S. and its urban areas are a massive market to service making it difficult for companies to compete in this expensive landgrab for space.

💵  The Wall Street Journal: Marc Lore's Food-Delivery Startup Wonder Is Valued at $3.5 Billion After Capital Raise

  • While Jokr is pairing back, Jet.com’s Marc Lore is investing new capital into the space:

Wonder Group, a food-delivery startup led by Jet.com founder Marc Lore, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the business at a time when the venture-capital market is cooling.

New York-based Wonder closed a $350 million funding round last month, according to company officials, bringing the total amount raised in debt and equity to $900 million.

The latest funding values the company at roughly $3.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Previously it was valued at $1.4 billion, the people said.

🛠  LinkedIn: Construction workers in short supply

Keep in mind as we enter into a recession the state of construction labor in the U.S.:

A shortage of workers in the construction industry is forcing companies to turn to "creative" incentives to lure contractors, says The Wall Street Journal. While some companies use their states' warmer climates, others are dangling all sorts of bonuses to attract contractors. Some are even offering accommodation allowances. The lowest unemployment rate in decades, combined with a post-pandemic rebound, has worsened labor shortages across most industries, just as $1 trillion in federal infrastructure money comes into effect.

Several Interesting Tweets 

Twitter avatar for @arpitrage

Arpit Gupta @arpitrage

The single family REITs, as a guide to the residential housing market, are down 23-34% year to date, and moved a lot over the last week.

Image
Image
Image
Image

June 14th 2022

52 Retweets332 Likes

Twitter avatar for @StreetsblogNYC

Streetsblog New York @StreetsblogNYC

So we need to do 18 months of review to install a toll booth in Manhattan, but every car maker can turn the dashboard into a movie theater without so much as a question from regulators?

The Verge @verge

Apple announces next generation of CarPlay with widgets, climate control, and a customizable instrument cluster at #WWDC22 https://t.co/iPEE2VV4tr

June 7th 2022

34 Retweets250 Likes

Twitter avatar for @jayparsons

Jay Parsons @jayparsons

Here's one of the biggest drivers of rent growth over the last year, and arguably the biggest question mark going forward: Renter household incomes. Wage growth is part of inflation, and among market-rate apartment renters, household incomes have kept pace with asking rents...

apartment renter incomes vs rent

June 21st 2022

20 Retweets117 Likes

Twitter avatar for @david_perell

David Perell @david_perell

Austin is one of America's quirkiest and fastest-growing cities.Since moving here, a bunch of people have asked me: "What's up with Austin?" After saying the same thing a million times, I collected my answer into an article and this Twitter thread.

What’s Up with Austin? - David PerellAustin is a mediocre city, but a great place to live.perell.com

June 21st 2022

22 Retweets194 Likes

Twitter avatar for @hollley

Grace Holley @hollley

He’s a 4 and he also thinks he is a housing genius because he read one book on housing (there are many of him)

June 21st 2022

7 Retweets53 Likes

That’s all for today! Please share UT with your networks.

Talk soon,

JT

Thank you for reading UrbanTech. This post is public so feel free to share it.

Share

Essential City + Tech Stories 6.23.22

John Thomey

John Thomey is a founder of Urban Tech, a newsletter and podcast. He’s a graduate student at the University of Southern California, studying Public Policy and Urban Planning.

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