MetaProp, a leading property technology (PropTech) venture capital firm, recently announced it added industry heavyweight Monica O’Neill to its leadership team as Partner. Over the past 30 years, O’Neill has built successful emerging and mid-sized investment management firms in the U.S. and Europe, including raising more than $10B as a Partner and Head of Investor Relations for real estate private equity firms AEW and Tristan Capital Partners.
With MetaProp, O’Neill is charged with building the firm’s new institutional client program. She will oversee investor relations for North and South American, European, and Asian endowments, foundations, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and insurance companies. O’Neill will be based in Washington, D.C.
“Monica has deep real estate and asset management relationships around the world and is a proven leader in fundraising, client relations, and global marketing,” MetaProp Co-Founder and Managing Partner Aaron Block said in a statement. “We’ve known Monica for several years and have witnessed her unwavering commitment to MetaProp’s core values of diversity, integrity, sustainability and affordability, and entrepreneurship. She’s a perfect fit as we continue to globalize MetaProp’s investment management business.”
“I’ve been talking to Aaron over the years about how to get PropTech institutionalized,” O’Neill told Connected Real Estate Magazine. “We have a number of entrepreneurs and family offices investing, but if people in trust and endowments and pension plans understand that these underlying portfolio companies are helping make buildings cleaner, greener and more efficient. Now that institutions are evermore focused on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), these technologies can help us achieve those goals.
“We are making those goals evermore achievable. I believe I can add value because I’ve been on the institutional side of the world and can help bring PropTech to institutional investors.”
Monica O’Neill—the person to call when you need to find someone
With O’Neill, MetaProp is getting a partner well-versed in a number of industries. Her career has been full of situations where she was asked “Do you know anyone who can……” Invariable that someone was her. She started as a corporate paralegal while she attended Boston University. Not long after graduation, her college roommate connected her with Boston Capital, who asked “Do you know anyone who can….”. The firm was working with Senators in Washington on affordable housing and adding the low-income housing tax credit to the tax code. Initially there to “push paperwork through”, Boston Capital kept O’Neill on as an internal wholesaler. In the role, O’Neill corresponded with financial planning firms and explained how the new code would work.
“I was on the road for seven years, just evangelizing for the local housing credit, explaining how it worked and raising lots of money,” she said. “They were smaller funds, but it was through certified financial planners and stock brokers.”
O’Neill eventually found herself in London, where she joined AEW’s Europe office and helped the company build its institutional business, brand, client service and internal communications. She also helped build a smaller real estate investment management firm before joining a few partners at AEW to create their own firm, Tristan Capital Partners. The firm currently has approximately 100 employees and 10 billion euros (approximately $12 billion USD) under management. O’Neill remained a senior advisor with Tristan Capital until she joined MetaProp.
Pushing PropTech into CRE
Now with MetaProp, O’Neill is working to show CRE owners and investors how critical PropTech can be to help them maintain and operate their buildings, attract and retain tenants, increase their building’s value and more.
“We’re aligned because we know the building owners know this, but I believe that investors in real estate are now going to be accountable for all of this data,” O’Neill said. “Our portfolio companies are going to help all their fund managers and all of the building owners measure these things and achieve their goals.
“I have seen over the last few years that real estate developers and family offices value the performance and sustainability benefits of investing in PropTech. More institutional investors are recognizing how innovation makes buildings safer, cleaner, greener, and more efficient. It is an exciting time in PropTech, and Zach Aarons and Aaron Block literally wrote the book on the subject! I am thrilled to join a team that has been leading investing in this space for nearly a decade, and also share my commitment to exceptional client service and a true values-driven workplace. The integrity that goes into everything from our accelerator with Columbia University, to our underwriting and the support we provide to our limited partners and portfolio companies is inspiring.”
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.