Property Technology Fund
Workers erect scaffolding at a construction site of a bridge in Kolkata (Photo: Reuters / Rupak De Chowdhuri)

 US venture capital firm, Fifth Wall Ventures, is aiming to raise up to $500 million for a new fund that will mainly be focusing on making investments in startups with promising cleantech solutions for the property sector. The fund will be the largest and first carbon impact fund that will specialize in real estate technology, which is otherwise known as Prop Tech.

The company's co-founder, Brendan Wallace, has repeatedly mentioned that his aim is to have Asian property developers and landlords adopt new technologies and processes that will reduce their projects' impact on the environment and their carbon emissions.

As it stands, the property sector accounts for about a third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Program, the sector currently consumes around 40 percent of the world's energy.

During a meeting in Singapore last week, Wallace stated that he hopes than the younger generations who have begun to take over their family businesses in the real estate sector will be more open to his carbon neutrality goals. Wallace pointed out than Asian developers should be able to help him achieve that goal, while at the same time build more sustainable and environmentally conscious cities.

Fifth Wall Ventures already has a $503 million Prop Tech fund, which it had established last year. Some of the investors for the fund included some of Asia's largest developers such as China Vanke, Sino Group, Keppel Corp, and Temasek. Fifth Wall hopes that the same developers will still be interested in investing in its new carbon impact-focused fund.

The new fund will add to Fifth Wall's already substantial assets under management, estimated to be worth around $1.1 billion. Wallace claims that they have already received positive responses from potential investors and he hopes to complete the fund in over the next few months.

Once the fund is completed, it will mainly be making investments in startups that are working on innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions for developers. This will include solutions for developers during their construction and also for the day-to-day operations of their buildings and projects. The solutions can range from physical hardware and devices to advanced software that can reduce energy consumption.

Among the technologies that are of interest to Fifth Wall include solar and geothermal power generation products and unique Internet of things (IoT) applications for construction sites and building operations. The company is also interested in companies making advanced and sustainable building materials, including "green" concrete and smart glass that automatically change their opacity.