Your Dream, My Mission!

Interview with Andrew Ackerman from Dreamit Urbantech

We get asked frequently by founders what the available funding options are.

One such option is Dreamit. We had the chance to ask Andrew Ackerman, the managing Director of their UrbanTech program, a few questions about their upcoming accelerator class.

What are some of the things that startups can gain by going through the program?

Dreamit is specifically designed for the pre-series A startup with traction. The benefits startups get from the program can really be broken out into 3 categories: customers, capital & coaching.

Most VCs and accelerators talk about the customer introductions they can make for startups in their portfolio. Dreamit takes it to the next level with our two-week, multi-city “Customer Sprint” process. These are curated, one on one, sit down at a conference table meetings with C-suite decision makers at over 70 top players in Construction, Development, Property Management, et. al. that can shave 3-6+ months off the typical 9-12 month enterprise sales cycle.

Demo days may (arguably) still work for some pre-seed accelerator programs but if you are raising a $5M-$10M Series A round (or even a $2M-$4M Seed extension), raising it in $50K increments from angels is just not going to cut it. So instead of Demo Day “startup theater”, Dreamit takes the startups in our program on a two-week, bi-coastal “Investor Sprint” where they meet the institutional VCs who can lead these rounds, in their offices, for 20-minute, one-on-one meetings.

In terms of coaching, each of Dreamit’s 3 verticals are run by Managing Directors with successful exits under their belts and who have deep experience in their respective industries. But don’t take our word for it; ask our alumni… many of who have gone through traditional pre-seed accelerator programs in the past and can talk to the Dreamit difference.

What are some of the big successes that you guys have had with startups in the program?

Dreamit has worked with over 300 startups since our founding in 2008. In the past 6 months, we’ve had 4 high profile, successful exits including LevelUp (acquired by Seamless), Adaptly (acquired by Accenture), Trendkit (acquired by Cision), Houseparty (fka, Meerkat, acquired by Epic Games). We were also early investors in SeatGeek.

What trends in real estate are you most excited about?

The single biggest trend is completely unrelated to tech: it is the increased willingness on the part of the traditional real estate community to embrace rather than resist innovation. The increased recognition of the necessity of piloting with startups to gain an edge in the increasingly competitive real estate environment has, quite literally, changed everything.

On the tech side, improvements in speech recognition and natural language processing are changing everything from finding an apartment, to booking showings, submitting maintenance requests, controlling your smart apartment and much, much more. Equally impactful but much less flashy is the increasingly interoperable data layer underpinning the industry. There has never been more real estate data available and it is finally in a form that, with more than a little bit of effort, can be combined with other data sources in ways that unlock insights and business models that could not have existed a mere 2 years ago.

What kinds of startups are you searching for your upcoming program?

Good ones. Allow me to elaborate: Really, good ones.

Kidding aside, we look for what I call “corporate ready” startups with solid, demonstrable traction selling unique solutions to large and extremely painful problems. Is that too much to ask?

What are your customer partners looking for in proptech startups? How have their needs changed over the past couple of years?

One of the reasons our 70+ partners make the bi-annual Customer Sprints a regular part of their innovation calendar is that they know that the startups we bring them already have “product-market fit” and are run by founders who understand what it takes to successfully sell to and work with large corporate clients. Nothing reassures a multinational construction firm like Skanska that a startup is ready to work with them like a traction slide with logos of other big GCs like Turner, Suffolk, and other national contractors.

In truth, their needs in that respect have not changed that much, but they are more willing to prioritize working with startups to solve their problems than ever before.

Thanks, Andrew.  Applications for Dreamit’s Fall 2019 program are open now. For those founders interested…

Learn more HERE

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 As an agent who's an expert in this local area, I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate here. It's not the same everywhere, so you need someone you can trust for up-to-date information. My background consists of a variety of talents & interests, from History to computers & Outdoor activities. On my free time you’ll find me golfing, hiking, tending to my Ranch, or spending time with my Family. I enjoy researching a multitude of subjects, music, real estate & web development, to name a few. My personal goal is to help my clients buy or sell to make their real estate dreams into realities. There is only one constant in real estate, service wins.   I am passionate about providing a level of service that stands out from the competition. Exceptional service doesn't necessarily mean working more hours, it means leveraging technology to work smarter. Finding out what best works for my client's needs.   There is no better feeling than helping a family find their perfect home.   Serving Cochise County and Beyond!!

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