Bain Capital Ventures’ Merritt Hummer
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing July 19, 2021
Bain Capital Ventures’ Merritt Hummer continues to show a liking for companies located outside the United States. Over the past eight months, Merritt – who is based in New York – has been involved in backing four non-U.S.-based companies, the latest being a Toronto-based, tech-enabled real estate brokerage – one she tells Women’s PE Briefs “will become synonymous with home buying in Canada, much like Zillow is synonymous with home discovery in the US.”
BCV led Properly’s $35 million Series B round, which also included Intact Ventures and FCT; existing investors Prudence Holdings, FJ Labs, Golden Ventures, 1984 Ventures and Max Ventures; and such angels as SoftBank Investment Advisers’ Lydia Jett, who invested individually. Properly is focused on making it easier for Canadians to buy and sell homes. Its offerings include enabling homeowners to unlock equity in their existing home so they can buy first, move in and sell on the market later; a home value calculator to track the value of a home; a portal for browsing home listings and previously sold homes; and interest free advances for sellers to improve their homes.
Merritt said that while the Canadian residential real estate market “is large and quickly appreciating,” there has been “very little innovation” in making such transactions easier. It is also a market that BCV does not see U.S.-based proptech companies prioritizing. “We really liked Properly’s consumer-centric philosophy in tackling this market; Properly wants to be the one-stop-shop for Canadians to discover, select, finance and refurbish their homes.” She added that “there is no portion of the home buying process that Properly won’t eventually incorporate into its business model” and that she is “most excited” about Properly’s potential to become a category defining company at the intersection of real estate and technology in Canada. “There are a lot of great companies in the world, but relatively few of them have the opportunity to be influential market leaders the way Properly does.”
Merritt, a partner, has a good perspective on the world as she, since late last year, has been involved in BCV’s investments in GoCardless, a British digital payments company; Ankorstore, a Paris company, which connects independent brands with local retailers; and Pleo, a Danish company which offers smart company cards and expense management software. Merritt in 2021 has also been involved in backing Collectable, a sports memorabilia investment platform, and she saw a portfolio company, SmartRent.com, Inc., agree to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Her portfolio also includes Mirakl and Ribbon. Merritt spoke at the Virtual Women’s Alternative Investment Summit earlier this year. Bain Capital Ventures has $7.3 billion in assets under management and has helped launched and commercialize more than 340 companies.