From 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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Are you planning to build a new website or improve your current one?How will you use content marketing and marketing automation?Do you have a digital marketing plan to guide you along your journey?Where Are You on Your Digital Marketing Journey?We understand every credit union is at a different point in their digital marketing journey.But after working with more than 420 financial institutions over the past 14 years, we have identified ten specific areas of focus that help banks or credit unions leap ahead of their competition.And I want you to leap ahead of your competition in 2016. That is my hope for you.If you are one of the more than 70% of banks and credit unions who d o not have a digital marketing strategy, ask yourself the following ten questions:How does your digital marketing compare to other banks and credit unions?Have you established an appropriate budget required to achieve your digital marketing goals?How do your consumer personas and market segments go beyond basic demographic data?How do you differentiate yourself from others who promote “great rates and services?”What staff and processes are needed for you to achieve your goals for growth?What digital journeys have you documented to guide consumers through their buying cycle?What marketing technology platforms do you need to achieve your goals for growth?What process do you use to produce digital stories that emotionally connect with consumers?What distribution channels do you need to communicate with your key consumer segments?How do you quantify digital marketing success with KPIs tied back to your goals for growth? Don’t worry you find yourself struggling with these questions. You’re not alone.But you don’t have to be like everyone else.You can be better.What’s Your Digital Marketing Score?The first step to becoming better is to gain an understanding and awareness of where you are now and where you should be.The Quick Digital Marketing Assessment will help you quickly identify your digital marketing growth areas. So far, over 50 banks and credit unions have taken the assessment. And the average Digital Marketing Score is 24 out of a possible 100.There is obviously much room for improvement and growth.For example, a VP of Marketing for a financial institution in Florida saw this opportunity. She reached out to us ahead of her strategic planning session hoping to gain guidance as a new website along with digital and content marketing were key strategic items for her.But she needed a more formalized plan to help overcome her Board of Directors’ and executive team’s fears about digital marketing to gain support and buyin to move forward.We recommended a D igital Marketing Blueprint to help her along the way, and she recently shared, “We just went over the final slides for the strategic planning session and I used several from your presentation – our CEO is very happy. Our CFO also stated marketing needs more people and everyone agreed we may adjust budget for digital marketing so all good stuff!”Just as we have helped guide this VP of Marketing and many others along their digital marketing journey towards success, a D igital Marketing Blueprint provides clarity and confidence.This VP of Marketing did not let her Board of Directors’ and executive team’s fear of the digital marketing unknown, fear of change, and fear of failure stand in her way. 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jonathan Lay As Senior Advisor at CU Grow, Jonathan Lay helps banks and credit unions use digital marketing to tell stories that sell. He brings over a decade of digital marketing experience … Web: www.cugrow.com Details We are now less than a few weeks away from 2016.A year that I believe is full of hope and opportunity, especially for credit unions who focus on using digital marketing to grow as consumer shopping behavior for financial services continues to evolve.As the end of the year approaches, it’s natural to reflect on how this past year went.Yet, many times, and I’m just as guilty of this, we sprint right into the new year without much introspection. We hurdle forward without reevaluating where we are headed.We may have the best intentions to change and improve ourselves and our credit unions. But life happens, and we continue reactionary living and as a result, make no real progress.Promises and Resolutions to Change Are Not EnoughIt is good to have a resolve to change.It is good to set goals.And it is good to have a plan.But we need to take action to change, achieve our goals, and turn that plan into reality.However, three things often cripple our resolve to change as they stand in our way to take action.In fact, we have seen the same three traits show up in credit union executive teams time and again through our D igital Marketing Blueprint engagements:The fear of the unknownThe fear of changeThe fear of failureAs you continue to plan for 2016, take a moment to consider the following questions and think about what might be standing in your way: And neither should you.By facing these fears head on with knowledge and insight, you will have confidence to seize an opportunity to make 2016 your credit union’s best year ever.
Press Association Managers’ boss Richard Bevan admitted he was caught cold by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea exit. Guus Hiddink is in the frame to replace Mourinho as an interim boss until the summer, when Chelsea could move for Italy manager Antonio Conte. “If they change the manager nothing’s going to really change, they’re going to finish mid-table perhaps, so why change the manager?” Curbishley told talkSPORT. “It’s extraordinary given he signed a new four-year deal in August. “There’s lots of people talking about why it’s happened: it’s results. “Some people are saying they weren’t shocked by this decision – I was. “Jose Mourinho with what he’s done at Chelsea, he had earned the right to have a bad season.” Bevan called on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to usher in an era of managerial stability at Stamford Bridge, despite the Russian boss’ preference for interim appointments while chasing long-term targets. “I was actually too (shocked) on this occasion,” Bevan also told talkSPORT. “He’s an absolute iconic manager, he put Chelsea firmly on the map, the most important manager in their history. “He was last season’s manager of the year. He’s a passionate man with a magnificent work ethic and immense knowledge. “I spent some time watching him in training during his time at Real Madrid and I was really impressed with his work and his man-management. “I’m really disappointed he won’t be there to take on Sunderland, Watford and Manchester United in the coming weeks. “Chelsea have had nine managers since 2008, so I think the fans should hope that the next manager can be there for a good three-plus years, in order to try to build on the legacy that Jose’s left them.” Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas offered a warm tribute to Mourinho on Instagram, while cricketer Kevin Pietersen lambasted the Portuguese’s exit. “Thank you for all you have done for me. I owe you a lot and we will all miss you. Good luck in the future,” said Fabregas. Pietersen was far less politic, posting: “Guus Hiddink better than Jose?!?! Filthy sacking? Just absolute filth! #CFC. Former Holland midfielder Bolo Zenden, who has worked under Hiddink in the past, backed the veteran Dutchman to raise spirits quickly if called into action at Stamford Bridge. Hiddink held a similar caretaker role in 2009 after the exit of Luiz Felipe Scolari, and could yet be primed to repeat that feat. “We all know he’s a great manager with people skills, I’m sure he’s capable of getting their heads right,” Zenden told TalkSPORT. “If he comes in we’ll have to wait and see, he’s available, there’s not too many managers available that have certain qualities to get into the hot seat.” Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp said that all has not been well in the Chelsea camp this term. “There’s something not right at Chelsea, let’s be honest,” Redknapp told BBC Five Live. “I’ve seen them get beat in games and felt it’s not about getting a decision, a penalty…. It’s got tedious. “Players listen, it’s been about Jose, when they won the league it was about him; there’s something wrong there and there’s a feel of all not being well but at the end of it you’re only as good as your players.” Former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino believes the Stamford Bridge hierarchy had little option but to replace Mourinho. “It was a question of when. Was I surprised? Yes, on how quickly it developed into a sacking,” Cascarino told Sky Sports News. “It has been a strange time and I really felt there was no alternative after Monday night in the way they lost the game. “I don’t believe he should have had more time. Chelsea Football Club is an empire, they have won so many things, and Jose has been a big part of this success and Jose earned the right to stay at the football club longer than most and he did. “Roman had backed him and backed him and it was defeat after defeat. “There was no alternative. As great a manager as I think Jose is, even the greatest have to fall some time. “The final weeks have been such a fall, I don’t think anyone could have imagined at the start of the season that Chelsea could fall from grace as much as they have done.” Former Liverpool and England midfielder Jamie Redknapp said on Sky Sports News: “I wasn’t that surprised. “After Monday’s result when words like ‘betrayal’ were used, unfortunately you felt like there was going to be an ending where the manager has to leave. You can’t get rid of players obviously because they have long contracts. “It’s always light and shade with Jose but it just feels this year there’s been a lot more shade. “It’s unprecedented what’s happened to Chelsea after winning the title seven months ago. “A lot of players who have fallen out with him will be pleased to see the back of him. “This is a wonderful opportunity for someone coming in because make no mistake whoever comes in, that club is going to fly now. They’re going to win a lot of games and in a way prove it’s not just about Jose Mourinho. “I think he needs a break from the game. He’s looked very stressed this season and has pretty much had fights with everyone. That can’t be healthy for him. “A lot is going to be said about Jose Mourinho but he’s been fantastic for our league. He’s a brilliant manager and is obviously very talented but every now and again he has these moments when he really finds it hard that players aren’t performing to the level he wants and it always seems to be the same outcome – him leaving the club. “Someone will be thinking that Mourinho is the manager to win them trophies.” League Managers Association chief Bevan and former Charlton boss Alan Curbishley both expressed huge surprise at Mourinho’s departure from Chelsea, that was confirmed on Thursday. Mourinho paid the price for Chelsea’s limp title defence, with the Blues suffering nine defeats in their 16 Barclays Premier League matches so far this term.
Megan McCormick / The Badger HeraldSomething about Senior Day just doesn’t feel right.The notion of honoring players who are indeed playing their last games in front of the home crowd is honorable and perhaps even necessary, but what about those conference tournaments and that shindig the NCAA puts on each March?Depending who you ask, “legacy” talk is one of the most tired and overindulged in sports. But for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson will be playing their final games in the Kohl Center Sunday afternoon against Illinois, ushering in the conclusions to two wildly different but nonetheless interesting careers at UW.Start with Taylor. After ending his high school career at Benilde-St. Margaret’s by averaging 22.3 points and 7.1 assists per game, as well as being named the 2008 Minnesota Mr. Basketball, Taylor crossed enemy lines and accepted a scholarship at Wisconsin.He appeared in all 33 games his freshman season, averaging 13.2 minutes of playing time and scoring 1.6 points per game. Taylor’s sophomore season saw him start 17 of the Badgers’ 33 games behind point guard Trevon Hughes, and his averages rose to 29.5 minutes, 10.0 points and 3.6 assists per game.Once Hughes graduated following Taylor’s sophomore season, the Bloomington, Minn., native became a key contributor alongside Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil. In his junior year, Taylor bloomed into a star, averaging 18.1 points and 4.7 assists per game in 36.5 minutes per game.He also developed a penchant for thriving in huge moments, sending a raucous flock of Badger fans storming onto the Kohl Center court after he scored 27 points (21 of which came in the second half) in Wisconsin’s 71-67 upset of then-No. 1, then-undefeated Ohio State. The Buckeyes led by as many as 15 points – with 13 minutes remaining in the game, no less – before Taylor set forth his signature Superman performance, having a hand (by way of scoring or dishing out an assist) in 34 of the Badgers’ final 39 points.Six days earlier, Taylor had scored 30 points in an 82-56 thrashing of Michigan State. Nearly a month later, he put down 39 points in a 77-67 road victory at Indiana. The Badgers ultimately petered out in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament against Butler, but Taylor’s legacy as an all-time UW great was forged.The question remains, though, how “great” is that legacy?This season, Taylor’s numbers are down from last year in nearly every regard – points, assists, rebounds and all 3-point shooting percentages. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound point guard is also averaging slightly more turnovers per game (1.6, up from 1.2).But last year, Taylor had Leuer (currently averaging 5.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in just 13.4 minutes of playing time per game for the Milwaukee Bucks) and Nankivil (playing in Germany) at his side, co-anchoring this team. This year? Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren have had nice breakout seasons as frontcourt starters, and Josh Gasser continues to be a reliable shooting guard, but the new starting five hasn’t come close to replicating the production of Leuer (18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game) and Nankivil (9.7 and 4.2).Collectively, these facts and statistics muddy the perception of Taylor’s legacy more than they elucidate it. Simply put, Taylor has done less with less this season, though he has kept his team – and there is no doubt that it is his team – close to last season’s record (UW finished 23-7 overall and 13-5 in Big Ten play last year; entering Sunday, this year’s Badger team is 22-8 and 11-6, respectively).Wilson’s UW career, meanwhile, takes significantly fewer words to recount, though it remains just as up-for-grabs as Taylor’s. After graduating from Garfield Heights High School as a second-team All-Ohio selection by The Columbus Dispatch and averaging 18 points per game in his senior year – Scout.com also had him pegged as a 4-star recruit, 25th among the 2008 class of shooting guards – Wilson committed to Wisconsin.Wilson played in a combined 58 games his first two seasons, though he didn’t start any and averaged just 2.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 9.2 minutes per game. However, his sophomore season totals (3.1 points, 1.6 rebounds and 12.2 minutes) were all nearly double those of his freshman campaign, indicating an upward trend toward becoming a potentially solid role player.Last season, though, Wilson played only 7.2 minutes per game and averaged just 1.6 points and 1.0 rebounds per game. This year, he’s back up to 10.2 minutes, and scores 2.9 points and grabs 1.3 rebounds per game.More importantly, Wilson’s been one of the Badgers’ most valuable contributors off the bench lately. After being held scoreless in three of UW’s first four games in February, Wilson scored 11, nine and four points in the last three, respectively. Those 11 were critical in keeping Wisconsin close at Iowa Feb. 23, though the Badgers ultimately fell 67-66. Wilson’s nine were even more important in allowing Wisconsin to pull out a road upset at Ohio State three days later in a back-and-forth affair.When the Fighting Illini invade the Kohl Center Sunday afternoon seeking revenge for the 67-63 win Wisconsin pulled out at Illinois Jan. 22, Wilson figures to continue seeing more minutes on the floor. Since gaining 17 minutes against Iowa, he played 21 at Ohio State and 12 against Minnesota.Taylor, of course, will also factor heavily in determining whether UW enters the Big Ten Tournament riding a three-game winning streak.Individually, however, both Wisconsin’s star point guard and its unheralded role player have more at stake. The duo really couldn’t be more humble, so it will likely keep their focus team-centric as March begins.But make no mistake – lying at the end of the final month of the college basketball season are the final chapters to the UW careers of both players.A solid showing, if not more, at the Big Ten Tournament will kickstart plenty of “legacy” talk.A deep NCAA Tournament run? Who knows how we’ll view Taylor and Wilson once it’s all over.Mike is a senior majoring in journalism. How do you think Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson will be remembered as Badgers? Let him know on Twitter @mikefiammetta.