Real estate tech investor Fifth Wall boosts team with four new hires

The firm, founded in 2016, is currently in market with at least three separate funds as it adds public market expertise to its roster.

Fifth Wall, whose name has become synonymous with real estate tech investing since it was founded in 2016, tells Venture Capital Journal it has added four new hires in various departments, including two with public market experience.

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Brendan Wallace, Fifth Wall

The new hires brings the firm’s employee count to 47, a sizable number for a young firm that is reportedly raising only it’s third flagship fund. Co-founder and managing partner Brendan Wallace said that the firm has also expanded its operations since pre-pandemic and now has locations and personnel in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and London.

Affiliate publication PERE reported in April that Fifth Wall ranks as the largest fund manager in terms of capital raised in the last five years with $1.4 billion. Fifth Wall accounts for a quarter of the private capital raised for direct investments in real estate tech, commonly known as proptech, according to the Proptech 20 ranking.

“This has been a tremendous year in terms of our growth,” Wallace said. “Our new hires and our growth this year are signs of how over the last five tears the real estate industry’s demand for technology has become voracious.”

Angela Johnson, Fifth Wall

The firm’s four hires, who have already started working at the firm, include the following:

Angela Johnson comes to Fifth Wall with more 15 years of real estate experience, including acquisitions, financings and capital raising. As a partner on the firm’s capital formation team, she will oversee capital raising and investor relations. She also was previously a director at KKR, where she focused on real estate capital raising worldwide.

Jonathan Hong, Fifth Wall

Jonathan Hong also joins Fifth Wall as a partner to co-lead the real estate tech investment team. Previously, he was an investment director at the SoftBank Vision Fund. Before that, he was with the hedge fund PointState Capital and started his career at Goldman Sachs.

Ofer Harduf joins the firm as a partner on the LP coverage and capital markets team. He has more than 10 years of experience in investment banking and was previously an executive director and co-head of proptech at JPMorgan.

Tommy Wesely, Fifth Wall

The fourth new hire is Tommy Wesely, who becomes Fifth Wall’s first chief marketing officer. He joins from BuzzFeed, where as senior vice president he oversaw editorial video, branded content and operations teams for the digital publisher. At Fifth Wall, he’ll head up marketing and communications and focus on adding strategic content creators across social and video.

It’s notable that two of the new hires – Hong and Harduf – have public market experience.

Wallace noted that the new hires will be able to translate what is happening in the public markets to venture capital investing. In particular, the new hires should play into the firm’s pursuit of SPACs as a liquidity option.

Ofer Harduf, Fifth Wall

In August, portfolio company SmartRent went public via a merger with Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp I, a blank check company backed by Fifth Wall. The deal for SmartRent, an automation platform for the residential industry, valued the combined entity at $2.2 billion. While at JPMorgan, Harduf advised SmartRent on the SPAC.

Publicly, Fifth Wall has another SPAC in process, under the symbol FWAC, which is looking for a target company to acquire.

“It’s exciting for Fifth Wall to leverage the expertise of the new hires as we pursue new investment opportunities,” he said. “SPACs are very much here to stay and they’re going to be an instrument that I believe will be closely associated with venture capital activity.”

The new hires also come as the firm is in fundraising mode. Wallace wouldn’t comment on the firm’s fundraising activities, but Fifth Wall is reportedly raising a main fund, its third, and a growth fund.

Fifth Wall is also raising a climate tech fund that has raised $300 million in commitments to date, including $100 million from New Zealand Superannuation Fund and a commitment from Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate arm of Canadian institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.