First American Financial Corporation, a title, settlement and risk solutions provider for real estate transactions recently launched Parker89, a new brand and website for its venture capital arm. The company, which has also been at the forefront of the digital transformation of the real estate industry, has seen its venture capital division invest more than $350 million in more than 20 high-growth property technology (proptech) companies. Many of those companies have become strategic partners and customers of First American Financial. Indeed a record $4 billion was invested in proptech in the first quarter.
“Our venture investment portfolio is an important contributor to our leadership of the digital transformation of the title and settlement industry, positioning us at the forefront of real estate innovation,” said Paul Hurst, chief innovation officer at First American and managing director at Parker89. “In addition to financial returns, our venture investments and relationships with early-stage companies and startups provide unique insights into how we can enhance the experience for our customers and all parties involved in real estate transactions today and in the future.”
New brand named after founder
The new brand is named after C.E. Parker, who founded the company that would eventually become First Title American Company, First American Financial’s largest subsidiary. The “89” refers to 1889, the year First American started.
“The new brand reflects our connection to First American, while giving an identity to our role as one of the most active venture investors in proptech,” said Nate Levin, managing director at Parker89. “As a strategic investor hyper-focused on proptech, we bring deep real estate transaction expertise and a nationwide industry network to our investments. It’s important that our portfolio companies feel they have a market advantage through our investment, and that they view us as long-term, supportive partners.”
Parker89’s investment strategy will continue to focus on early-stage companies and entrepreneurs that are reimagining residential and commercial real estate. This will include tech-enabled brokerages and marketplaces, agent tools, lenders, mortgage software, and fractional homeownership.
“We believe that the future of real estate will be built upon new technologies and business models that make the transfer of property simpler and more seamless,” the company says on its website.
Some of Parker89’s high-profile investments include Offerpad, an iBuyer that went public last year, Side, a tech brokerage, Roofstock, a company focused on the single-family investment marketplace, and Pacaso, the second home co-ownership business. Parker89’s investments have been largely in series A, B, and C stage companies, although it will back earlier- or later-stage businesses as well.
“As the venture capital arm of First American Financial, we’re in a unique position to leverage the balance sheet, network and assets of one of the most influential companies in real estate to accelerate our partners’ growth,” the company said.