REEF Raises $700 Million to Transform Parking Lots

    The company also launched a $300 million fund to purchase real estate.

    Finance | November 2020 | Ben Coley
    REEF Technology kitchen.
    REEF Technology
    REEF has more than 100 ghost kitchens across 20 North American markets.

    REEF Technology, a ghost kitchen operator for brands such as BurgerFi, Nathan’s Famous, and Saladworks, raised $700 million to redesign parking lots nationwide.

    According to the company, the money will be used to transform and grow its real estate network of more than 4,500 parking lots and garages into “Neighborhood Hubs” that will leverage the “power of proximity to connect people and neighborhoods to locally curated goods, services, and experiences.”

    REEF said that with higher urban populations and the challenge of modern consumption patterns, it sees a chance to create more “sustainable and neighborhood-centric economics.”

    The company added that it’s using real estate assets and technology to form a “proximity-as-a-service platform” to help business owners deliver locally and at scale. To fuel that goal, REEF also launched an initiative to allocate $10,000 marketing grants and support for up to 100 minority and women-owned restaurants.

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    REEF has more than 100 ghost kitchens across 20 North American markets, helping several restaurants expand delivery under a revenue share partnership. The company described it as a “turnkey, zero capital investment solution.”

    The funding was led by Mubadala Capital, the financial investment arm of Mubadala Investment Company. SoftBank Vision, UBS Asset Management, and Target Global participated in the round, as well.

    “We are excited for this next stage of growth and are committed to continue learning, listening and working with our communities to reimagine urban real estate into localized and networked infrastructure that entrepreneurs and cities can use to deliver goods and services sustainably and directly to our neighborhoods,” CEO Ari Ojalvo said in a statement. “By working together, we can reimagine and rebuild our urban spaces for people, not just cars, and help our cities become more sustainable and inclusive centers of community and opportunity.”

    In a separate agreement, REEF and Oaktree Capital Management kickstarted Neighborhood Property Group, a $300 million fund aimed at purchasing real estate. According to Bloomberg, the fund will look at areas with growing populations as a result of people leaving large metro areas due to COVID. Neighborhood Property wants to partner with lawmakers and small businesses.

    “As long-term investors who specialize in value-add transportation infrastructure, REEF fits our thesis that core parking facilities should be augmented with technology to transform these core assets into mobility infrastructure hubs,” said  co-portfolio manager of Oaktree’s Infrastructure Investing Strategy and chairman of Neighborhood Property. “These alternative uses support communities with critical last block logistics solutions such as food delivery, micro-mobility, same-day parcel delivery, essential groceries and electric charging infrastructure.”

    REEF’s business goes beyond assisting restaurants. The company also announced partnerships with DHL for e-cargo bike delivery, Carbon Health and BioReference for national COVID testing and pop-up clinics, and Crate to Plate for vertical urban farming.