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MetaProp bulks up its team to meet growing institutional investor demand

The firm adds Kristen Kocis as an institutional sales lead to help increase and foster relationships with limited partners.

MetaProp expanded its team as the proptech sector matures and the appetite for the sector from institutional investors continues to grow.

The New York-based proptech investor added Kristen Kocis as an institutional sales lead. Kocis will work to establish and foster relationships with local, national and international institutional investors and limited partners.

“I was presented this role not too long ago and I thought it was a right place, right time and right people for me to work with to bridge the gap between institutions and MetaProp and getting them in front of each other,” Kocis said.

Kocis most recently was at Cebile Capital, a placement agent, where she focused on introducing the firm’s US-based GPs to international LPs. Prior to the that, she spent four years at Lazard Asset Management working on institutional sales, marketing and client services for a wide range of LPs including public pensions, family offices, endowments, foundations, and corporate clients.

The hire of Kocis speaks to the proptech sector’s continued maturity after growing at a rate of 160x over the last decade, as previously covered by Venture Capital Journal.

MetaProp co-founder and managing partner Aaron Block said that the growing institutional appetite makes sense as the industry has swelled over the last decade and spread internationally.

Aaron Block, co-founder and managing partner, MetaProp.

“You have an institutionalized space,” Block said. “It has legacy. It has top-tier venture capitalists deploying capital. It has teams in their second or third vintages who are returning capital.”

He added that the current pandemic has resulted in an accelerated adoption of some of the products and services designed by proptech companies as people are looking for technological solutions.

“The first thing is ‘How can technology help us with access control, help us with social distancing, with deep cleaning and making our spaces prepared during and after an infestation of covid in our spaces?’ That is really a huge change,” Block said.

He said the industry has moved past the J-curve and is in the scale-up stage and he expects the sector to institutionalize over the next three to five years.

Kocis said that large pension funds, such as OMERS and Texas ERS, have recently entered the space as well as sovereign wealth funds like Singapore-based GIC.

It isn’t just institutional investors with knowledge of the real estate sector looking to get involved either, Block said. Purely financial investors are increasingly getting involved, such as fund of funds.

Investors like the San Francisco Employees Retirement System and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation have also entered the fray.

“In line with fintech trends from a few years back, these are areas that used to be a nice to have and have become a need to have,” Kocis said. “Increasingly more institutional investors learn and become more knowledge about how they can fit it in their portfolio.”