The firm was founded by Brad Greiwe and Brendan Wallace, both from the real estate industry. Greiwe co-founded single-family home rental company Invitation Homes, which went public in 2017 with a $6.7 billion valuation.  Wallace started his career as a real estate analyst at Goldman Sachs and worked for The Blackstone Group's real estate division.  He also founded Identified (company) and co-founded Cabify.
Greiwe met Wallace through Blackstone, which was the only investor in Invitation Homes. The two began investing by forming special purpose vehicles, backing between 10 and 15 companies that in some way transformed the physical world. 
Fifth Wall Ventures was formed in 2016 with capital commitments of more than $20 million.  The name refers to a fifth “disruptive” wall the firm says it provides in addition to the four physical walls of a building. 
The firm announced a $221 million fund in May 2017. About half of Fifth Wall’s $240 million in funding comes from strategic real estate industry partners.  These include CBRE Group, the largest commercial real estate services and investment firm in the world; Prologis, the largest industrial REIT in the world; Equity Residential, the largest owner of apartments in the U.S.; Lennar Corporation, the second largest homebuilder in the country,  Macerich, a mall operator; Lowe's, the home improvement chain; Host Hotels & Resorts; and the office developer Hines.  
The firm identifies opportunities by asking its strategic fund investors from the real estate industry about their technology needs. Then it identifies technology start ups that can serve those needs. 
Strategic fund investors committed at least $15 million in capital each and agreed to dedicate an internal point person to act as a liaison to Fifth Wall. The firm facilitates partnerships between the strategic fund investors and the companies it invests in.  For example, portfolio company VTS, a cloud-based leasing and portfolio management software company, is being used by Hines and CBRE. 
Since the real estate industry is highly consolidated, without one of a handful of major real estate companies as an early client, Fifth Wall Ventures maintains that it is difficult to for a real estate technology company to succeed. 
As of May 2017, Fifth Wall had invested about $70 million dollars in half a dozen companies, including portfolio management software company VTS; home-selling platform Opendoor; title insurance startup States Title and storage provider Clutter.  Other investments include ClassPass (a reservation app for fitness classes); B8ta (technology retailer) and Notarize (online notary software). 
The fund’s biggest holding as of May 2017 was OpenDoor, which has raised almost $320 million. 
As part of his divestiture of business concerns before joining the White House staff, Fifth Wall was reportedly in discussions with Jared Kushner to buy WiredScore, a Soho-based real estate technology startup that rates office buildings based on the speed and reliability of their internet connectivity.  
Startup accelerator program
The company expanded into early stage investing in Jul 2017 with an startup accelerator program. While its main fund is reserved for companies with existing large real estate clients, the accelerator invests in companies with valuations under $25 million, making investments between $500,000 and $1 million. 
The program is virtual, consisting of weekly calls with investment staff and introductions to potential corporate partners. The accelerator is also investing in companies that will be of the most use to its strategic real estate backers. The program ends with a demo day for potential co-investors.