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first_imgFrom left: Lionheart’s Ophir Sternberg, Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace, Chamath Palihapitiya, Supernova Partners’ Spencer Rascoff and Proptech Acquisition II’s Tom Hennessy (Getty, LinkedIn, iStock) It’s a good time to be a startup aspiring to go public.Investors plowed more than $83 billion into blank-check companies last year — and 11 days into 2021, they’ve invested $7.2 billion more.More than a half-dozen of those entities, also known as special-purpose acquisition companies, are targeting proptech startups. The VC firm Fifth Wall Ventures was the latest to jump into the fray, and other big firms — including CBRE and SoftBank — have recently hopped on the SPAC bandwagon.It’s proven to be a successful vehicle for proptech firms: Opendoor went public by merging with a blank-check company formed by investor Chamath Palihapitiya, one of the most prolific SPAC sponsors this cycle. Porch.com also went public in a SPAC deal, and SoftBank-backed View, a smart glass maker, is set to launch its IPO with a SPAC sponsored by Howard Lutnick’s Cantor Fitzgerald.With no underlying assets, SPACs raise money from investors betting on the sponsor’s track record and ability to strike a deal. After the company goes public, sponsors typically have 24 months to secure a merger, or the investors get their money back.Given the influx of cash into SPACs right now, raising money isn’t the hard part. But in an increasingly crowded environment, sponsors need to have an edge when it comes to deals, said Evan Ratner, a securities analyst at asset management firm Levin Easterly. “You’re not looking for the also-ran,” he said.Read moreFifth Wall to launch proptec SPAC Porch valuation soars to $1B after IPO HEADLINE Full Name* TagsIPOopendoorProptechResidential Real Estatesoftbank Email Address* And with so many SPACs out there, it may become harder to find merger partners at a good price. “The seller is going to be able to say, ‘Hey, seven SPACs want to buy us, we’ll sell to the highest bidder,’” said Jay Ritter, a University of Florida finance professor who collects IPO data.For SPAC investors, however, there’s little downside. At the time of a merger announcement, investors can sell shares or tender the stocks for what they paid plus interest. “It’s like a cash return on the downside,” said Patrick Galley, CEO of RiverNorth Capital Management, an investment firm with $4.4 billion in assets under management. “On the upside, it’s an equity option to whatever company they do a reverse merger into.”These are SPACs hunting for proptech deals, and approximately how much they’re looking to invest:Fifth Wall Ventures (size TBD)Los Angeles-based Fifth Wall was co-founded in 2016 by Blackstone alumni Brendan Wallace and Brad Greiwe. Previously, Greiwe co-founded Invitation Homes, the investment firm’s single-family rental platform; Wallace started as a real estate analyst at Goldman Sachs. A prolific fundraiser, the firm closed a $503 million proptech fund in 2019, the largest of its kind. It has a total of $1.2 billion in commitments and capital under management, and prior bets include VTS, Opendoor and States Title.SVF Investment Corp. ($525 million)Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank already has investments and relationships with 100+ growth-stage companies, including Compass and Lemonade. With a blank-check company, the Japanese telecom giant will take one public. Its SPAC plans to merge with a company SoftBank hasn’t previously invested in, Bloomberg News reported.CBRE Acquisition Holdings ($350 million)CBRE, the world’s largest real estate services firm, is targeting companies with a track record in outsourcing, digitization and data proliferation with its SPAC, according to regulatory filings. The blank-check firm is led by Bob Sulentic, president and CEO of CBRE Group, and William Concannon, its global group president.Supernova Partners Acquisition Co. ($350 million)Spencer Rascoff co-founded Zillow, one of the most significant real estate startups. He and Alexander Klabin, executive chairman of Sotheby’s Financial Services, launched a SPAC in September, with ex-Blackstone exec Robert Reid joining as CEO. No word yet on whether it will be real estate-focused, or just tech.TS Innovation Acquisitions Corp. ($300 million)Tishman Speyer is one of the country’s biggest commercial landlords with 78 million square feet of real estate. It’s also dabbled in proptech: Over the past few years, it has “selectively invested” in 11 tech startups, including VTS and Latch. The SPAC is its biggest bet yet.Property Solutions Acquisitions Corp. ($230 million)Jordan Vogel and Aaron Feldman co-founded Benchmark Real Estate Group, an active multifamily player in the 2010s. After selling off $400 million worth of properties, they formed a blank-check company in February. https://therealdeal.com/2017/12/22/benchmark-has-now-sold-over-400m-worth-of-its-holdings-since-2015/Proptech Acquisition II ($200 million)Co-CEOs Tom Hennessy and Joe Beck were previously investment managers at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Their first SPAC raised $173 million and merged with Porch.com, a home-services startup that started trading Dec. 24. Porch is now valued at $1 billion, up from $523 million in July. https://therealdeal.com/national/2020/12/24/porch-valuation-soars-to-1b-after-ipo/Lionheart Acquisition Corp. II ($230 million)CEO Ophir Sternberg’s Lionheart Capital is the developer of Miami’s Ritz-Carlton Residences. The SPAC, which seeks to acquire “one or more” proptech companies, is being led by Sternberg and Lionheart CFO Paul Rapisarda. Another Sternberg-led SPAC acquired burger chain BurgerFi last month.Contact E.B. 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You’re more laid back? I’m way more laid back. I’m like, “Just let it brush off your shoulders; nobody is trying to take advantage of you.” When a costume wasn’t working, my attitude was that I’ll make it work. And she’s like, “Say something. This is your show and you need to be comfortable, or you’ll be thinking about it the whole time you’re on stage.” And she’s right. I said something the next day, and it was fixed for me. She takes the initiative and I pull back. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 17, 2014 Related Shows Were you a boxing fan going in? Not so much, although my stepfather is big fan, so he was excited when I got this job. I spent some time training in the fundamentals, and it made me realize how much character and dignity and heart goes into it. Boxing is not just physical. You have to stand up against your own fears and rely on your inner heroism. It comes from your soul, and that makes for great theater. How do you feel about becoming famous? Is that something you’ve always wanted? No, no! I see a lot of young actors who get famous very quickly and then it burns out, or they don’t know how to handle it. I just need work that feels good, like Rocky. I love being on stage, and if fame comes with that, I won’t shy away from it. Could you last a few rounds now against a pro boxer? I would never be that stupid. Never! [Laughs.] How intense has it been to prepare for this role? Do you feel like a different person? Oh, absolutely. A trainer at Crunch basically transformed my body, and I’ve been eating a low carb, high-protein diet with lots of veggies—all the healthy stuff I hate to do! Half of the show is spent in physical activity, and I’m only off stage for about 15 minutes, so it’s important to build the right muscles and sustain the energy for eight shows a week. How do you stay safe while making the fight scenes exciting? Steve Hoggett, our fight director, has been incredible about staging the boxing like a three-act play. It’s choreographed lightly because there are some moments when we just go for broke and hit each other. Rocky is the guy who takes all the punches. I got a black eye the second week of rehearsal, but that was an accident with a different boxer. We’re riding a fine line, but it’s safe and there’s a lot of trust. You and Orfeh recently celebrated your lucky 13th wedding anniversary. Are you the real Rocky and Adrian? She is definitely my real-life Adrian. We met on Saturday Night Fever, dated for six months, got engaged, and got married in Miami a month after that. 13 years later, we’re going strong. Would you get in the ring with Sylvester Stallone? Not a chance. You two have always been so supportive of each other. I come home with aches and pains and sweaty clothes, and she takes care of me and Boo-Boo, the lovely dog we adopted from Legally Blonde. And I totally trust her to give me feedback on Rocky because we have a wonderful working relationship. What’s great about us is that we are opposites in the way we look at certain things, so we can help each other see situations a different way. Rocky Speaking of riding a fine line, what’s the secret to portraying Rocky without veering into a parody of Sylvester Stallone? I’m taking on some of the mannerisms Sylvester Stallone created, but I also have to let it be truthful to me. The music is character-driven and I am naturally a baritone, so the score fits right in my sweet spot. It’s actually pretty simple—for me, and for most of America, Rocky is a living, breathing person, and I’m honoring the character enough that I don’t have to rely on Stallone’s take on everything. He picked me; he’s trusting me with this, and that’s a huge honor. You’re finally playing Rocky on Broadway! What has the response been like? There’s nothing like knowing the audience is losing their minds, from the beginning to the final fight. We give so much of ourselves, and it’s all worth it when the audience gives it back. The only thing that could make them completely lose control is if Sylvester Stallone came up on stage—and he did, after the first preview! It was so much fun. Star Files See Andy Karl in Rocky at the Winter Garden Theatre. Think of the most athletically demanding role you’ve ever seen in a Broadway musical, multiply it by three, and you’ll have some idea of what Andy Karl is doing in Rocky. Before the title character’s thrilling boxing match with Apollo Creed, Karl has already survived one onstage fight, delivered a song while doing pull-ups and jogged for 10 minutes after downing raw eggs. On top of that, the actor woos Margo Seibert as Adrian, pounds on sides of beef and juggles ballads and show-stopping anthems. For Karl, playing Rocky Balboa is the culmination of 15 years of steady but often low-profile roles on the New York stage. As his chat with Broadway.com makes clear, however, he is more than ready for the star-making challenge of carrying a musical he describes as “the perfect blend of intimate scenes and spectacle, powerful music and script, nostalgia and something beautifully new.” View Comments You’re getting this break after years of stage work in New York. Do other actors tell you “It’s about time”? Yes, and it’s a weird compliment because I’m proud of the success I’ve had. I loved playing opposite my wife [Orfeh] in Legally Blonde, and I’ve never laughed so hard as when I was in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. But I’m happy this is happening with a character I trust myself to be good at. There are some leading roles around town I would never want to play, but I feel very comfortable in this. Doug Sills [Tony-nominated star of The Scarlet Pimpernel] and I did a reading a few months ago, and I was saying, “[Rocky] is a huge role. There’s so much involved, with the Tonys and all that stuff.” And he said, “You’ve been preparing for this your whole life.” Get ready for this show to open doors for you! Last summer, I did a Rob Reiner film with Michael Douglas, And So It Goes, about real estate agents. My first day of shooting with Michael Douglas was the day after I performed the opening number on the Tonys with Jersey Boys, and I got the call about Rocky the same day. I thought, “What is my life?” I’m living the dream right now, and it feels so good. Andy Karl read more

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