PARK CITY, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Industry-leading multifamily REITs Essex Property Trust (“Essex”) and UDR, Inc. (“UDR”) today announced the first closing of a new Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) focused investment fund, RET Ventures ESG Fund, L.P. (“the Housing Impact Fund”) to be managed by RET Ventures (“RET”), a venture capital firm focused on technologies for the multifamily, single-family and broader real estate asset classes. The investment vehicle, which will target $80 million of investor capital commitments, will seek to support the growth and successful implementation of ESG solutions for the housing industry, including technologies that improve both the environmental and social outcomes of new developments and existing properties.
An important goal of the fund will be broadening the sector’s approach to ESG, utilizing a more holistic focus that addresses climate change and environmental risks as well as social issues, including housing affordability, building health and safety, and resident well-being. From an environmental standpoint, solutions may include platforms focused on improved building design, reducing energy usage and carbon emissions, efficient waste management, and ESG data collection and reporting.
“Taking a leadership role in this fund marks an important next step for Essex as we continue to expand on our decades long commitment to sustainability and investing in technologies that target an environmental benefit,” said Mike Schall, CEO at Essex. “We look for business strategies and products that focus on a quantitative and thoroughly researched approach to selecting social and environmental solutions. As a prominent provider of housing on the West Coast, Essex acknowledges its responsibility not only to shareholders, but to its associates, residents, and communities to address the impacts of climate change, and we are eager to be a part of this joint approach to identify environmental and social technology solutions available to the multifamily industry”.
“At UDR, we pride ourselves on our commitment to sustainability, and our decision to help RET Ventures launch this fund should enhance the financial, environmental, and social dividends we deliver to our stakeholders,” said Tom Toomey, Chairman and CEO of UDR. “UDR has achieved a variety of ESG milestones recently, resulting in the company being recognized by GRESB as the Global Sector Leader as the #1 ESG performer across all listed Residential companies. However, we know more progress is needed, both at UDR and as an industry. With our investment in the fund, we aim to leverage the knowledge we’ve accumulated through years of ESG-centric work to accelerate the achievement of sustainable goals across the real estate industry.”
While this fund marks the first RET vehicle solely targeting ESG-centric technologies, the VC firm has demonstrated a commitment to supporting sustainable innovation, including leading an ESG working group made up of more than 20 leading multifamily and single-family rental executives. The group has focused on identifying and evaluating pressing sustainability needs within the existing proptech ecosystem, evaluating impactful approaches to energy efficiency and identifying areas where new technology can make a significant impact.
“The housing sector has a significant impact on society in terms of both its critical role in the lives of residents and its resource footprint. With this fund, we plan to invest in technologies that mitigate the environmental impact of real estate, while addressing other important social and stakeholder issues,” said Christopher Yip, Partner at RET Ventures. “With a groundswell of support across the sector, there is an opportunity for purpose-driven technology to improve nearly every aspect of the industry — investment, construction, operations and more — and we’re proud to be partnering with Essex and UDR to build toward a more sustainable future.”
With the initial closing of this fund, RET Ventures now manages more than $375 million in committed capital. Among the firm’s 20+ portfolio companies are several that play a material role in supporting positive environmental and social outcomes, including Conservation Labs, Falkbuilt, Juno, Measurabl, PassiveLogic, and SmartRent.
“In launching this fund, our team at RET aims to build on the success we’ve had with other ESG-adjacent investments and collaborate with multifamily and proptech industry leaders to identify and nurture the platforms poised to revolutionize the market,” said RET Ventures Partner John Helm.
About UDR, Inc.
UDR, Inc. (NYSE: UDR), an S&P 500 company, is a leading multifamily real estate investment trust with a demonstrated performance history of delivering superior and dependable returns by successfully managing, buying, selling, developing and redeveloping attractive real estate communities in targeted U.S. markets. As of December 31, 2021, UDR owned or had an ownership position in 57,483 apartment homes including 1,417 homes under development. For over 49 years, UDR has delivered long-term value to shareholders, the best standard of service to residents and the highest quality experience for associates.
About Essex Property Trust, Inc.
Essex Property Trust, Inc., an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily residential properties in selected West Coast markets. Essex currently has ownership interests in 253 apartment communities comprising approximately 62,000 apartment homes with an additional 2 properties in various stages of active development. Additional information about the Company can be found on the Company’s website at www.essex.com.
About RET Ventures
A leading real estate technology investment firm, RET Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on driving innovation in partnership with its base of more than 40 Strategic Investors who own and manage over $600 billion of real estate assets, with particular focus in multifamily and single-family rental real estate. In these asset classes, the Strategic Investor group includes some of the largest REITs and private real estate owners, operators and developers, who together control approximately 2.4 million rental units. Through its deep expertise and network, RET has created a unique real estate innovation ecosystem that delivers significant value to the companies it backs, by providing them with access to thought leaders, development partners, and ongoing strategic guidance. For more information, please visit www.ret.vc.