Appear Here’s new hookup with a Los Angeles-based venture capital company promises to open landlords’ doors.
After raising $12 million in a Series B funding round led by Octopus Ventures with participation from Simon Venture Group, Appear Here, said it has formed a strategic partnership with Fifth Wall, a real estate venture capital firm, to guarantee vacant store supply as the company continues its U.S. expansion. Fifth Wall has also made an undisclosed investment in Appear Here.
Appear Here has been making waves in the established retail brokerage community by snapping up empty space and offering it for short-term leases for pop-ups and temporary shops. The company, whose listings are based on real-time demand, claims to have transparent pricing. “We’re the first real estate site to list prices and we don’t do any negotiating,” said Elizabeth Layne, chief marketing officer of Appear Here.
“Fifth Wall will help us lock up supply throughout the U.S. as we explore other cities,” said Layne. “Partnerships with companies like Fifth Wall will help us accelerate the supply in our portfolio. Fifth Wall investors are big landlords. We’re getting in front of these people, whereas before, we had to bang on doors.
“In a supply-constrained real estate market, this partnership is especially important because the majority of stores in top retail markets are left unfulfilled, despite Appear Here’s $33 million worth of demand each month,” Layne said.
One of the first landlords Appear Here has hooked up with as a result of the Fifth Wall connection is Macerich Corp. “It’s a big landlord and mall operator and it’s helping us scale into other cities,” Layne said. “We’ll start our expansion with cities on the West Coast and use demand from our data to drive our decision-making. We plan to open four more cities next year.”
Layne revealed that Appear Here has partnered with Simon Property Group to power and book a rotating selection of brands into The Edit at Roosevelt Field, a new retail platform bowing in November at the Garden City, N.Y., shopping center. The Edit is described as a scalable turnkey retail platform that gives digitally native brands the ability to test out their concepts.
Brands set to open in Edit’s first installment include Raden smart luggage; Skinnydip London; Vitaly, men’s wear; Rhone, athletic apparel; beauty brand Winky Lux, and Beltology, among others. Edit space, ranging in size from 20 square feet to 200 square feet, can be booked on Appear Here’s online dashboard.
“We get a fair amount of demand for shopping center space,” Layne said. “In New York, we’ve worked with Brookfield Place.”
Fifth Wall touted its investment in Appear Here and strategic partnership with the company. “Appear Here has evolved the way the world rents space by giving brands access to a global network of thousands of spaces and allowing them to search and book entirely online,” said Roelof Opperman, senior associate at Fifth Wall.
Appear Here gives brands a low-risk way to market-test stores for a shorter amount of time, which makes the proposition inherently more affordable. “The best senior brokers and tenant reps are limited to seeing or securing properties within their firm’s network or where long-term leases are the rule, but Appear Here injects a new network and inventory of assets, with flexible terms,” Opperman said.
“We’re getting a lot more demand for Madison Avenue. We’re lining up spaces on Bleecker Street,” said Layne, referring to the West Village neighborhood in Manhattan that was red-hot a few years ago, but recently saw an exodus of tenants after rents rose precipitously. “Landlords realize they need to try something new. In a bit of a retail downturn, it’s easier for us to sign up space. It goes back to our mission of making it as easy as possible for brands with ideas to find space.”