Softbank-backed real estate brokerage Compass just acquired title and escrow startup Modus in a push to become a one-stop shop for buying and selling homes

  • Compass announced on Monday that it has signed an agreement to acquire title and escrow software company Modus.
  • The size of the deal was undisclosed. Modus raised a $12.5 million Series A round last year. 
  • The acquisition shows Compass continuing to grow the services it offers, in the hope of becoming a one-stop shop for home sales.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

SoftBank-backed real estate brokerage Compass is acquiring title and escrow startup Modus, it announced Monday.

The amount Compass paid to acquire Modus was not disclosed and the deal will close later this month.

Modus, founded in 2018, has created a secure closing platform for home sales that holds home-purchase funds in escrow and connects home-buyers to title insurance providers. The company raised a $12.5 million Series A funding round last October, co-led by NFX and Felicis Ventures, and included funding from Liquid 2 Ventures, Mucker Capital, Hustle Fund, 500 Startups, Rambleside, and Cascadia Ventures. 

The Seattle-based company has also raised seed funding from 500 Startups, and earlier this year was selected for the National Association of Realtors's strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures' REACH accelerator program. The company's more than 60 employees will join Compass. 

This is the third acquisition for Compass, which has raised $1.5 billion and was most recently valued at $6.4 billion in July 2019. The company has previously acquired machine-learning software company Detectica and CRM startup Contactually, who have helped to developed its agent tech stack. Modus will help Compass get closer to its goal of being an end-to-end platform from real estate deals, bringing Modus's closing software into Compass's systems.

Compass has had a rollercoaster year as the coronavirus hit the real estate world hard, with 15% layoffs in March and replacing cash wages with equity offerings. As home sales have accelerated out of the lockdown, the company hired more than three thousand agents in the last six months to meet demand. 

Read more: How 2020 broke the housing market: So many homes are selling that we could run out of new houses in months

Modus's software is focused on the title and escrow portions of the real estate closing process. Title companies search public records to make sure there are no disputes about the ownership or tax records of a home before it is sold, and will pay legal damages if it misses any of the violations. Escrow services are third-party services that hold payment for a property until it is assured that property has been transferred according to a contract. 

Title and escrow fees are typically paid by the home buyer. Bringing the closing process in-house has become fertile grounds for real estate tech companies looking to increase the amount of money they make per transactions. iBuyer companies have been launching their own title services to capture more of the potential revenue from a sale. 

In 2018, co-founder and executive chairman Ori Allon told TechCrunch that the firm would be moving into title and escrow services. The Modus acquisition is the firm's first foray into the space. Compass agents will now get access to Modus, but as they are independent contractors, will have the option to use their own closing services as well. 

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Dr. Martin Makary: Trump's COVID prognosis – here's why I am so optimistic

Regeneron CEO on President Trump’s use of company’s experimental antibody cocktail

Regeneron CEO Dr. Leonard Schleifer tells ‘America’s Newsroom’ the company is trying to get expanded emergency use authorization from the FDA so others can access the treatment.

President Trump continues to make progress as he receives treatment for COVID-19. He has a 99 percent survival rate according to the data but in reality it may be higher.  That’s because the president is benefiting from the latest state-of-the-art care: a medication that is directly attacking the virus (Remdesavir), another medication that neutralizes the spike protein (Regeneron’s polyclonal antibodies), and a medication that is reducing the inflammation that damages the lungs (dexamethasone).

These therapeutics mean the older published case fatality rate of 3.4% for the president’s profile (a male 71-75 years old with one comorbidity) is approximately 80-85% lower today than in March and April from which the 3.4% number was derived.

Note that many quoted statistics we’ve seen since the news broke of the president’s diagnosis can be misleading since they include data from March, April and May when we had no idea how to treat COVID and had few tools in our toolbox.

In May, we learned that 40% of deaths were vascular-related, a finding which established the role of blood thinners (anticoagulation) in treating COVID. While the population risk is real and should prompt everyone to take this virus seriously with masks and distancing, the case fatality rate has been steadily decreasing with each of intervention introduced into practice.


The president’s recent clinical improvement is also a positive prognostic sign.  We know that his kidney and liver tests are normal, his vitals are normal, and he is now oxygenating normally on regular room air. His early symptoms of a transient decrease in oxygen saturation and fever are reported to have resolved, suggesting a favorable trajectory.

He also has a dream team taking care of him. My colleague at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, is one of his treating doctors and I can tell you Brian is one of the best pulmonologists in the world. He has impeccable clinical judgment and is an expert in acute lung injury.


If I were sick, I would want Brian to take care of me. I have not spoken to Brian about the president’s case, but when I heard he was caring for him, I was knew that he would get the best care humanly possible.

Despite allegations by the media that we have no idea how the president is doing, there is plenty of information in the public domain to know.  We need to let Brian and the other doctors on the team do their job without pressuring them for updates every 15 minutes.


Some in the media are demanding more information about the president’s health as if his doctors should map the president’s entire genome and post it on the Internet.  But at this point, Mr. Trump’s condition is well-described and his prognosis appears to be excellent.

I admire the president for having the humility to listen to his doctors and go to the hospital. There are also many lessons about COVID everyone can learn from, namely that the virus threat remains at-large and that the virus is a highly contagious virus, deserving of our attention.

Having followed his case closely from a distance, I’m very optimistic. But in medicine we take a 0.6% risk of death very seriously with any illness or operation.


Here’s the best-case scenario: President Trump’s symptoms resolve in the next few days and he is cleared 10 days from the onset of symptoms. That would mean a date which would be Oct 11-12. Of course, two negative COVID tests would be required to confirm a clinical recovery.

Given the positive outlook, we should all be thankful that the president is on a good path.

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ImmunoGen Sees Solid Win With FDA Update

ImmunoGen Inc. (NASDAQ: IMGN) shares pushed higher to start out the week when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided an update for the firm’s treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN).

Specifically, the FDA granted a Breakthrough Therapy designation for IMGN632 for BPDCN. This designation was granted for IMGN632 based on the findings from the BPDCN cohort of the first-in-human study of IMGN632.

Initial data for IMGN632 was presented in an oral session at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in 2019. Updated data from the IMGN632 monotherapy BPDCN dose expansion cohort will be presented at ASH this December.

Breakthrough Therapy designation is designed to expedite the development and review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious condition and have generated preliminary clinical evidence that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy.

Note that BPDCN is a rare form of blood cancer that has features of both leukemia and lymphoma, with characteristic skin lesions, lymph node involvement and frequent spread to the bone marrow.

Management noted that it is looking forward to continuing to work with FDA to define further the development path for IMGN632 in BPDCN, in addition to pursuing its ongoing evaluation of IMGN632 in AML and other hematological malignancies.

Excluding Monday’s move, ImmunoGen stock had underperformed the broad markets with a retreat of 24% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the share price was actually up about 63%.

ImmunoGen stock traded up about 5% on Monday, at $4.06 in a 52-week range of $1.95 to $7.07. The consensus price target is $7.96.

ALSO READ: Top Analyst Very Positive on Leading Medical Technology Health Care Stocks for 2021

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Las Vegas Tops U.S. in Rise of Apartment Tenants Not Paying Rent

With Covid 19 tanking tourism, Las Vegas saw the biggest jump in apartment tenants who have stopped paying rent.

In September, 10.6% of Vegas tenants missed a rent payment, up from 4.1% a year earlier, the largest increase in the U.S., according to data on the top 50 metropolitan areas from RealPage Inc. New Orleans, also heavily dependent on tourism, had the highest overall share of people not paying, at 12.9%, up from 8.6%.

Tenants are most likely to stop paying in areas with the hardest-hit economies, including expensive cities from Los Angeles and Seattle to New York, where unemployment benefit payments aren’t enough to cover high rents and living expenses.

“There’s more stress in hospitality-focused and expensive markets,” said Greg Willett, chief economist at RealPage. “The wild card in everything is what happens in the economy and what happens in the economy is dependent on what happens with the pandemic.”

Across the U.S., rent payments have remained relatively stable, with 7.8% failing to pay in September, up 1.5 percentage points from a year ago, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

The data covers tenants who still occupy their units and doesn’t include single-family rentals. It’s from professionally managed buildings and more representative of large landlords. Smaller ones tend to own older buildings with poorer tenants more vulnerable to job loss.

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Dalton Parents Revolt Over Prep School’s $54,180 Online Classes

A group of parents at one of New York’s toniest private schools — where tuition runs $54,180 a year — is unhappy about the quality of their children’s education during the pandemic.

The Dalton School — whose alumni include actress Claire Danes and journalist Anderson Cooper — broke with many of the city’s private schools in going with all-digital instruction until at least mid-year.

Now, after weeks of watching kids stream in and out of other private school buildings, and the city’s public schools resuming in-person learning, some Dalton parents are calling for kids to get off their computers and back in the classroom.

“We are, in short, frustrated and confused and better hope to understand the school’s thought processes behind the virtual model it has adopted,” a group of about a dozen parents describing themselves as physicians wrote in a letter to the head of school last week, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg. “Please tell us what are the criteria for re-opening fully in person. Covid-19 is not going away and waiting for that to happen is misguided.”

Many schools around the country have been reluctant to return to in-person education over concerns about teachers and students getting sick. Still, remote education also poses risks of children falling behind, both academically and socially. And writing big tuition checks for what is essentially home instruction only adds to parents’ frustration — as well as their determination.

A petition signed by more than 70 lower-school parents asking for the return of on-campus classes also began circulating over the weekend. “Zoom-school is not Dalton,” they wrote.

Sore Point

In both cases, the fact that other private schools are open for classroom learning — either full-time or on a hybrid model — is a sore point.

“From our understanding, several of our peer schools are not just surviving but thriving,” the physician letter states.

“Our children are sad, confused and isolated, questioning why everyone around them gets to go to school when they do not,” the lower-school parents wrote in their petition.

Jim Best, the head of school, told the physicians he wants to work with them on a reopening plan for Dalton’s 1,300 students and 250 teachers, according to one of the parents, who asked not to be identified.

“We welcome and appreciate the perspective of these parents, as well as every parent and member of our community,” a spokesperson for the Upper East Side school said Monday in a statement.

Horace Mann

Efforts to resume in-school learning at Dalton may be too late as colder weather arrives. On Sunday, New York reported its sixth-consecutive day of infections of 1,000 and more, and Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’ll close schools in Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods where the virus is surging for two weeks starting Wednesday.

Horace Mann, a private school in the Bronx that opened in person in early September, had its first employee test positive for Covid over the weekend, Head of School Thomas Kelly said in an email. School will be closed Monday and reopen Tuesday, with one student and two other teachers in quarantine.

The employee caught the virus at a family event off campus, Kelly said in an email. After the Thanksgiving recess, the school plans on moving to remote learning through the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Kelly said.

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World News

GOP Senator Toomey Says He Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2022

Republican Senator Patrick Toomey said Monday he won’t seek re-election in 2022, setting up a competitive race in Pennsylvania for the next midterm election.

Toomey said he’ll serve the rest of his current term and is announcing his decision now to give the Republican Party time to field the best possible candidate. Since President Donald Trump won the Pennsylvania in 2016, Democrats have made gains in the closely divided state and have a number of candidates who’ve won statewide seats and could be contenders for the Senate.

Speaking in a news conference, the Pennsylvania Republican said he plans to return to the private sector and spend more time with his family. He said he won’t run for Pennsylvania governor.

The main factors in his retirement decision were personal not political, Toomey said, citing his views on term limits.

“I committed myself to limiting my terms in the House,” Toomey said, in reference to the six years he served in the House, followed by 10 years in the Senate.

When asked why he chose to announce his retirement now, Toomey said he was receiving inquiries on how to help with his re-election and he wanted to be honest with his would-be supporters.

“Once I reached the decision, I need to be candid with them,” he said. “I made a decision, it’s not going to change, so I should let everybody know.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported news of Toomey’s retirement Sunday.

The senator said he hopes to be chairman of the Banking Committee during his last two years, working alongside a re-elected President Trump. He also said he believes it is safe to continue with the hearings to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

“I think we should go forward on this,” Toomey said. “I think we can go forward safely.”

Toomey said he hopes to make permanent the 2017 tax provisions that are about to expire. He also hopes to “see our country pursue free-trade agreements” while finishing out his term.

Toomey was first elected to Senate in 2010 and was re-elected in 2016. He describes himself as a fiscal conservative, while also willing to work with Democrats on some issues.

He partnered with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on bipartisan gun control legislation in 2013 asking for tighter background checks, making him one of the only Republicans willing to tackle gun control issues.

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World News

Brazil Says Privatizations Will Help Save the Environment

Brazil is framing its slow-moving privatization program as a way to protect forests and rivers following international investors’ mounting criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policies.

Martha Seillier, special secretary of the Investments Partnerships Program, said infrastructure building via concessions and privatizations not only represents good business opportunities but is also an environment-friendly strategy as the country battles a reputation damaged by surging deforestation rates and rampant forest fires.

“It’s not true that the Brazilian government doesn’t care about the environment,” Seillier said in a video interview. “The question is how we obtain the resources and solutions we need to preserve the environment.”

Recently-appproved legislation backed by the government to facilitate the privatization of water and sewage treatment will reduce river pollution and improve hygiene standards, and railways concessions will cut down on car dependence, she said, adding that wind and hydroelectric facilities are also opening to concessionaires.

Read more: Brazil Unlocks Billions of Dollars in Sanitation Investment

“As big funds are increasingly seeking ESG portfolios, we have very significant green investment proposals,” she said of environmental, social and governance opportunities.

Brazil’s allure to investors was initially boosted by Bolsonaro’s pro-business agenda, but big European funds and businesses have recently started to express dismay over his environmental policies, which included minimizing forest fires raging across the country and defunding enforcement agencies. As their pressure mounted, the government switched strategies and is now calling on the private sector to help protect the Amazon.

Slow Process

Bolsonaro has yet to deliver on his ambitious privatization promises as plans to sell large state-controlled entities aren’t ready yet.

“Considering the four-year presidential term, the main decisions were taken during the first year while the second one has been used for shaping the privatization models,” Seillier said. “If all goes well, next year is when auctions will actually take place.”

She cited asset managers Emgea and ABGF, food storage companies Ceagesp and CeasaMinas, and port manager Codesa as companies whose sales are likely to move faster next year. Postal service Correios and utility Eletrobras may also be privatized in 2021, pending congress approval, she said.

Read more: Brazil Seeks $2.7 Billion With Postal Service Privatization

But currency volatility has kept investors wary. The Brazilian real has been one of the worst-performing currencies among emerging-market economies, largely due to investor concerns that Bolsonaro may break a constitutional spending cap to finance a new cash-transfer social program aimed at mitigating the effects of the pandemic.

Seillier said Bolsonaro’s pro-business agenda is not at risk and that the government will create a currency hedge for investors. “There will be a separate account to compensate currency fluctuations that may affect investment.”

— With assistance by Martha Viotti Beck

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Doctor Warns Trump’s Coronavirus Treatment Can Cause Psychosis, Mania

A doctor told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday that the medication cocktail currently being given to President Donald Trump to treat coronavirus could have some serious side effects, including psychosis, mania and delirium. 

Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and associate professor at Brown University, talked about the “very complex regimen of medications” the president is currently taking. 

“Two of them, remdesivir and dexamethasone, are medications that we give in our hospital, even in our emergency department, with really sick patients with COVID-19,” she said, noting that those medications are usually only for “seriously ill patients.”

She went on to say that all of the medications Trump is taking can have side effects that could be damaging to the liver or heart, but warned that dexamethsaone “is known to have mental health side effects.”

“It can cause psychosis. It can cause delirium. It can cause mania,” Ranney said. “I would never want to say the president is experiencing steroid-induced psychosis, but it is certainly concerning to see some of his actions today in the wake of this potentially deadly diagnosis and infectious disease.”

Ranney was likely referencing Trump leaving the hospital so he could ride in a car to wave to his supporters gathered outside the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he’s been getting treated for COVID-19.

The president’s surprise visit to supporters was widely panned by critics, particularly by doctors. Dr. Leana Wen, a physician and CNN medical analyst, tweeted that she would “call security to restrain him then perform a psychiatric evaluation to examine his decision-making capacity” if Trump were her patient and left for a car ride. Another physician ― an attending at Walter Reed ― lambasted the move as “insanity.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, dexamethasone is a steroid that provides relief for inflammation and is used to treat conditions like arthritis, allergic reactions, breathing problems and skin diseases. A study conducted earlier this year found that it helped reduced deaths by 35% in COVID-19 patients who required breathing machines during their treatment and by 20% in those who only needed supplemental oxygen, scientists said. 

Notably, the drug does not appear to help patients who are not critically ill. Patients who were give dexamethasone and did not need respiratory support actually died at a higher rate when compared to patients who did not take the steroid.

Many people — including medical experts and people who say they have taken dexamethasone themselves — have shared what they know about the drug on social media.

Stanford Professor Michele Dauber wrote a Twitter thread about her experience with the drug, claiming that it “seriously messes with your mind” and that she “could not wait to get off it.” 

“In addition to warning of mood changes my surgeon told me it makes you feel like I could bike up Mt. Tam or run a marathon right after brain surgery when I still had staples in my head,” she wrote.

Dr. Paul Summergrad, the chair of psychiatry at Tufts University, tweeted that when “added to the risk of COVID related neuropsychiatric symptoms/severe delirium,” the drug’s ability to cause “frank mania, or more severe depressive states” should prompt the press “to be asking the medical team how they are formally monitoring his mental status.”

Trump did not help those already questioning his mental state when he sent a series of aggressive, all-caps tweets on Monday, beginning around 6 a.m. 


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Martin Lewis explains how some households can gain over £1,000 as couple get £950 payout

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Financial journalist and campaigner Martin Lewis regularly informs members of the public about ways in which people may be able to save themselves money via a number of platforms. This includes raising awareness about the Marriage Allowance – something which could potentially mean people make substantial savings when it comes to tax.

Among those who have taken on board his expertise on this topic is BBC Radio 5Live listener Charlie.

Charlie contacted Emma Barnett via Twitter to share his financial news with the presenter and Martin Lewis – who appears on her show on a weekly basis.

Wishing to express his thanks to Martin for his insight, Charlie explained he had recently applied for Marriage Allowance.

This is a form of tax relief which enables a person to transfer £1,250 of their Personal Allowance to their husband, wife or civil partner.

In doing this, the spouse or civil partner’s tax is reduced by up to £250 in the tax year – running from April 6 to April 5 the next year.

To benefit as a couple, the lower earner would normally need to have an income below their Personal Allowance.

Those who may be interested are able to work out how much they could potentially save as a couple online, via GOV.UK’s “Marriage Allowance calculator”.

It also may be eligible people are able to claim a rebate for previous tax years, should they have qualified for the allowance.

This is something which radio listener Charlie had discovered recently – having landed a substantial cheque.

“Would you believe it, we got a cheque for almost £950. So glad I took the time to apply. Thank you Martin,” Charlie penned.

Upon hearing about Charlie’s experience, Martin told Emma he has heard of many people in similar positions.

Giving a brief insight on the allowance, he said: “If you are married or in a civil partnership – not common law partnerships but a proper civil partnership that you’ve been to the registry office or wherever and done – and one of you is a basic 20 percent rate taxpayer and the other is a non-taxpayer, then the non-taxpayer can apply to shift 10 percent of their tax-free allowance to the taxpayer.

“So they’ll get 10 percent of this year’s allowance. £1,250 moves over to the other person so they don’t pay 20 percent tax on it.

“So there you go, there’s £250 gain.”

Martin explained that some people may also be able to reclaim money by backdating their claim.

“You can also backdate it a number of years,” he said, “which means actually now, those who claim now who were eligible for the past four years, can get over £1,000.

“Some will be by cheque, some will be by changing your tax code.”

While most in this financial situation could make savings, there is a slight exception, as Martin pointed out.

“In almost all circumstances it’s worth doing,” he began.

“There is this really fine area if you’re just under the Personal Allowance and your partner is just over the Personal Allowance when it doesn’t work.

“But for most people, it’s just free money – go and apply for it,” he said, before explaining the non-taxpayer would need to be the person to apply.

The Emma Barnett Show airs weekdays from 10am on BBC Radio 5Live.

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White House chief of staff says Trump could be discharged Monday afternoon, downplays Secret Service infection risk from the president's unnecessary drive around Walter Reed

  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said President Donald Trump might get discharged from Walter Reed Army Medical Center as early as later this afternoon, doubling down Monday morning on comments made by the president's doctors on Sunday.
  • "We are still optimistic that he will be able to return to the White House later today, with his medical professionals making that determination later today," Meadows said in an interview on "Fox & Friends."
  • Meadows also downplayed whether Trump put Secret Service agents at risk during his drive-by greeting to supporters outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
  • "They're criticizing, 'Well, he put his Secret Service agent at risk,'" Meadows said. "Well, the Secret Service agent, how do we think that he got here?"
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows doubled down on a notion floated by President Donald Trump's doctors yesterday that the president could be discharged from the hospital as early as today.

"We are still optimistic that he will be able to return to the White House later today, with his medical professionals making that determination later today," Meadows said in an interview on "Fox & Friends."


Trump is still relatively early in his treatment for the coronavirus, with the worst symptoms often hitting patients around 10 to 12 days in. 

The president is on heavy doses of various medications that are able to reduce his fever and improve oxygen levels in his blood, but Meadows insisted Trump "continued to improve overnight and is ready to get back to a normal working schedule."

Meadows also commented on whether Trump put Secret Service agents at risk during his drive-by greeting to supporters outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.


"They're criticizing, 'Well, he put his Secret Service agent at risk,'" Meadows said. "Well, the Secret Service agent, how do we think that he got here? We came here in Marine One. The Secret Service agent that is with him, has been with him."

Despite reports that the president's car — known as "The Beast" — had a seal designed to prevent against chemical weapons exposure that would have made coronavirus transmission much more likely, Meadows repeated the White House line that "proper PPE" was enough to protect the agents.

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