- On Sept. 19, Cupertino, California-based Poplar Homes acquired Chicago-based 33 Realty’s property management, maintenance and leasing divisions, according to a release shared with Multifamily Dive. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
- The acquisition gives the single-family rental operator a springboard to expand into multifamily and new areas of the country. Poplar Homes managed a few apartments before the sale, but this transaction allows it to enter the business on a broader scale.
- 33 Realty, which did not include its investment brokerage and distressed assets divisions in the sale, will remain based in Chicago. The company operates in four states and has 4,500 units under management. In addition, it leases more than 1,500 units yearly and has more than 175 employees and independent contractors.
The SFR manager, which operates in California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina and Missouri, provides a full-service property management online platform that provides 24/7 support and support for “mom-and-pop” single-family rental owners. The company doubled its size to 14,000 doors under management this year, aiming to hit 20,000 units.
Poplar was attracted to 33 Realty’s platform and the principal team of Eric Weber, Drew Millard and Sean Connelly.
“Poplar's product development team is relying on 33's expertise in multifamily property management to build out its current platform to support multifamily investments,” Mok, who serves as chief technology officer, told Multifamily Dive. “The goal is to work together to create a product that will allow investors to diversify their portfolios and manage them from one centralized location on Poplar's system.”
33 Realty will transition operations gradually over the next three years with the current leadership remaining at the helm and running the business. Eventually, 33 will be rebranded as Poplar Homes.
For 33 Realty, the acquisition gives the company financial backing to expand into other markets across the country. “Poplar's national reach is allowing 33 to expand its existing model into new markets across the U.S., opening up economies of scale for 33 Realty,” Mok said.
Proptech eyes apartment management
Poplar isn’t the only proptech provider to target apartment management firms. Owning an apartment management company allows for broader adoption of a tech innovator’s products, which range from apps that allow operators to manage resident communication, on-site operations and maintenance to programs around payments and amenities and allowing residents to book apartments and request services.
In January, tech-driven hospitality startup The Guild acquired CREA Management, the property management division of Cypress Real Estate Advisors, which operates 5,000 units in four major markets. Then, in March, proptech provider Alfred reeled in Charlotte, North Carolina–based RKW Residential and its 30,000 units across nine markets in the Southeast.
“This [RKW acquisition] is an important move that allows us to expand both footprint and offerings,” Marcela Sapone, the New York City-based company’s co-founder and CEO told Multifamily Dive earlier this year. “We’re going to learn a lot in the coming months.”
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