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January 22, 2024 Startups, Technology & Innovation

Growing Stamford-based property tech startup SwiftConnect completes $10M fundraise

PHOTO | COSTAR Silverstein Properties, owner of 7 World Trade Center in New York City (shown above), is a client of Stamford-based SwiftConnect, which offers digital entry access to apartment and office buildings.
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A Stamford-based property technology startup that offers digital access to apartment or office buildings recently raised $10 million in funding that will allow it to add about a dozen new employees and support new clients.

SwiftConnect said it’s the first and largest deployer of “employee badge” credentials in Apple Wallet. The technology works similarly to Apple Pay on iPhones or Apple watches.

Instead of tapping a device to make a payment, authorized users can use their badges in Apple Wallet to gain entry into an office or apartment building.

Chip Kruger
Matt Kopel

Founded in 2020 by co-CEOs Chip Kruger and Matt Kopel, the company has grown its customer base from three or four clients about 18 months ago, to nearly 50 at the end of 2023, the co-founders said.

SwiftConnect said its technology is currently in use in over 80 million square feet of commercial real estate space across dozens of buildings and enterprises.

Clients include Silverstein Properties, owner of 7 World Trade Center in New York City, Houston-based Hines Global Real Estate, and Boston developer and landlord BXP, which owns a 59-story Manhattan office building at 601 Lexington Ave.

Here’s how it works

All authorized employees are given digital access to client buildings, which can be uploaded in minutes to smart devices, Kopel said. The technology is personalized to each user and more secure because there is no key card or fob that can get misplaced or misused.

Such near-field communication technology has seen significant growth in recent years, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic, when wireless payment options like credit or debit card “tap” pay or Apple Wallet gained popularity, Kruger said.

Employers are seeking this technology because it’s faster and more secure, Kruger and Kopel said. IPhones and Apple watches require user passcodes or facial recognition to use apps, preventing unauthorized users from gaining access.

On the flip side, if an employee is no longer with a company or a tenant moves out of an apartment, their access to a building can be rescinded remotely and almost immediately, Kruger said.

This model is gaining traction with millennials and Gen Z as they become a larger part of the workforce, Kruger said.

“They’re used to working with Apple Pay and everything on their phone,” Kruger said of the younger generation.

SwiftConnect’s digital access badges also make it easier to give employees access to multiple work locations, and allow employers to keep track of when and where employees are working — issues that have become more pertinent in the post-COVID era, Kopel said.

Growth funding

Since its 2020 inception, SwiftConnect said it has raised $40 million.

In October 2022, the company announced a $17 million fundraise from a number of investors, including JLL Spark Global Ventures, a subsidiary of real estate consulting and brokerage giant JLL, Navitas Capital, Bridge Investment Group, Cushman & Wakefield and World Trade Ventures, among others.

The most recent $10 million fundraise was backed by Quadri Ventures, a cloud-focused global venture fund, the company said. The funding will help support existing customers as well as onboarding a slew of new clients — each having dozens of buildings and numerous users, Kruger said.

SwiftConnect develops and installs the technology software, but does not issue the hardware or portals in which devices are scanned, Kopel said.

SwiftConnect plans to hire about a dozen new employees, mainly in technology engineering and customer service, to add to its current 85-person staff, Kruger said.

The majority of employees, including the software engineering team, are based in Montreal. There are about 12 workers based in Stamford that do customer onboarding.

The company has also used prior funding to make an acquisition. In 2022, it acquired New York-based Detrios, a tech firm that provides access control and business system services.

Andrew Drylie is an investment manager at Quadri Ventures, a major investor in SwiftConnect.

He said SwiftConnect’s technology has proven to “meet and exceed the rigid requirements” of financial services companies and customers in other heavily regulated industries, while creating a convenient and more positive experience for users.

Looking ahead, Kruger and Kopel said the company is focused on adding new landlord clients and employers in the financial and professional services, life sciences and other industries.

SwiftConnect in 2022 was named the emerging startup grand prize winner in the prestigious Real Estate Tech Awards, presented by CREtech.

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