Real estate startups Opendoor and Compass, valued on paper at more than $2 billion and $4 billion, respectively, added to their wars chest Thursday by announcing they each raised money from—who else?—SoftBank. The investments are fitting. SoftBank has a lot of money. These startups have an unquenchable appetite for capital. Opendoor buys houses, renovates them and sells them at a premium, while Compass has been on a streak of buying local real estate brokerages to stockpile agents and, thus, market share.
SoftBank also is hedging its bets on whether the future of home sales includes high-price brokers. Compass is tailored entirely toward a future where real estate agents play a big role in home transactions. Opendoor is pursuing the opposite strategy: It would rather home transactions go entirely through its site in the future. Maybe there is room for both visions, given the size of the home-buying industry. Or maybe at least one of these companies will be an expensive mistake for SoftBank.