A SaaS company that helps real estate professionals visualize and run scenarios on development potential based on zoning has announced a $2 million round of financing by investors from the highest levels of the real estate and tech industries. The startup, Envelope, will use the funds to accelerate product development and launch its sales and marketing efforts in New York City and beyond.
This financing is the culmination of a remarkable 17 months for Envelope, which spun out from SHoP Architects in late-2015; hired a team of top-tier executives and engineers; undertook a major product development effort; and launched in private beta in Q3 2016 with over 50 of the largest companies in NYC real estate. Envelope’s vision was recognized when it won the MIPIM Global Startup Competition in March 2017. The company will launch publicly later this year.
“The real estate industry is just starting to grasp how powerful analysis – coupled with 3D visualizations – can help executives make major investment decisions,” says Zach Aarons, Project Manager at Millennium Partners, an early client, and Co-founder at MetaProp NYC. “Envelope is breaking new ground in this area. We use their software all the time, and I can’t wait to see them become the de facto spatial analysis tool for anyone who works in real estate, architecture, and city planning.”
“Envelope allows real estate professionals to run complex, multi-lot development analyses based on previously- inaccessible zoning rules, and visualize the results in 3D – instantly,” says Cindy McLaughlin, CEO of Envelope. “For developers, architects, brokers, zoning attorneys, appraisers, and city officials, it’s a major advance in the state of the art, and a powerful competitive advantage.”
According to McLaughlin, zoning and development analyses used to take days or weeks and thousands of dollars, but can now be done in seconds, at a fraction of the price, and with greater flexibility using Envelope’s software. She says that future products will build on the company’s sophisticated model to search for and visualize potential at a neighborhood or urban scale. Cities will also be able to run re-zoning scenarios and approve permit requests with minimal effort.
“Envelope is going to be foundational civic and industry infrastructure; we’re thrilled to have such strong support from our backers who see the value for their companies and their cities,” adds McLaughlin.