Venture Capital: REEF Technology’s “Proximity-As-A-Service” Model Attracts $700M

November 4, 2020 | News, Real Estate, Venture Capital
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Investors include SoftBank, Oaktree, UBSAsset Management, and Target Global.

REEF Technology, which operates North America’s largest parking network, said in a Facebook post on March 28 that it was working to transform its network of 5,000 parking locations into testing sites, delivery hubs for essential goods & services, and much more in the fight against COVID-19.

Fast forward to November, and REEF’s business pivot to these “neighborhood hubs” has landed it $700 million in funds.

In effect, the firm is transforming its distributed real estate network of parking lots and garages into hubs that connect people and neighborhoods to locally curated goods, services, and experiences. Calling it a “proximity as a service” platform, REEF hopes it will help develop more sustainable and neighborhood-centric economies.

Marquee investors

REEF’s recent $700 million growth equity round was led by Mubadala Investment Company’s financial investment arm, Mubadala Capital.

SoftBank Vision Fund, funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., UBS Asset Management, and Target Global also participated in the round.

REEF businesses

The parking lot business is REEF’s bread-and-butter. However, it has branched into other activities that address the economic changes and business trends triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Cloud/neighborhood kitchens to support virtual kitchen chains
  • Tie-up with DHL for micro-fulfillment and last-block e-cargo bike delivery
  • National COVID testing and pop-up clinics with Carbon Health and BioReference
  • Vertical urban farming with Crate to Plate

“Whether a growing local business or a global brand, REEF provides the platform entrepreneurs and businesses need to deliver their products locally and at scale,” the company said in its announcement.

Ghost kitchens

According to Euromonitor, ghost kitchens could be as much $1 trillion in size by 2030.

“Neighborhood kitchens will be a significant part of non-parking revenue,” said Ari Ojalvo, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, to Tech Crunch. (Tech Crunch broke the news of the funding).

It is interesting that various entities of founder and former chief executive of Uber (NYSE: UBER) Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens startup have spent over $ 130 million on the acquisition of more than 40 properties in about two dozen cities across the U.S.

REEF and Oaktree launch $300 million property fund

Separately, REEF also launched a $300 million fund in partnership with Oaktree Capital Management.

According to Bloomberg, the two companies set up the Neighbourhood Property Group to acquire strategic real estate assets.

Neighbourhood Property Group has a similar brief. It will augment parking infrastructure with technology and convert them into alternative use cases such as food delivery, micro-mobility, same-day parcel delivery, essential groceries, and electric charging infrastructure.

Related Story:  Ordermark Scores $120M In SoftBank-Led Series C Round

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