Seattle appraisal startup Aloft lands $20M from real estate heavyweights

The Aloft team in Seattle. (Photos courtesy of Aloft/Zack Phillips Photography)

The news: Seattle-based real estate startup Aloft raised $20 million to grow its software platform used for home appraisals.

The gist: Founded earlier this year, Aloft aims to make the appraisal process more efficient and accurate with the help of technology. It gives appraisal quotes in two minutes, and facilitates the actual home inspection, which is done by its appraisers.

The company has annualized revenue in the millions of dollars and is working with dozens of large national lenders, as well as smaller regional lenders, offering direct integration into their existing systems. It is operating in Seattle and Portland, with plans to expand.

The founders: Aloft is led by CEO Travis Soukup, a former Facebook manager who spent time at moving and storage company Clutter, and more recently at real estate startup Modus (acquired by Compass). Soukup co-founded the 45-person company with Yongxing Deng, a former engineering manager at Slack.

Aloft co-founders Travis Soukup (left) and Yongxing Deng.

The quote: “Aloft improves the overall accessibility of the industry, removes transaction bottlenecks, and further digitizes the home-buying transaction process,” Soukup said.

The backers: Real estate-focused VC firm Fifth Wall led the Series A round. Other backers include Andreessen Horowitz, which led the company’s seed round in March, and real estate heavyweights such as former Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff, Built CEO Chase Gilbert, and MetaProp, a VC firm focused on real estate tech. Gokul Rajaram, a DoorDash exec and board member at Coinbase and Pinterest, is also an investor. Total funding to date is $25 million.

“The appraisal industry is in deep need of evolution and Aloft is the company that can get the job done,” Dan Wenhold, partner at Fifth Wall, said in a statement.

The take: Aloft is tackling a big opportunity — it estimates the real estate appraisal industry to be $10 billion. It’s is one of many up-and-coming startups using technology to digitize various parts of the trillion-dollar real estate sector. Earlier this week GeekWire reported on a relatively unknown Bellingham, Wash.-based company called Place that raised $100 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion. However, as Zillow Group’s surprising decision to shut down its iBuying business earlier this month shows, using technology has its limitations in the real estate industry.

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