Building a community is an incredibly valuable thing. I have found this with many subjects and PropTech is no different. An engaged and educated audience is incredibly worthwhile to furthering your own knowledge.
I have found this with the select 150 or so people in our PropTech WhatsApp group – if you want to be a part of it, please text me on 0044 7775 797 286 with your name and will add you in. Part of it is due to some of the friendly conversation, part of it is the information shared. For example, this article about Facebook’s real estate strategy is an interesting one. I have never shared an Estate’s Gazette article previously because they are always behind a paywall. When challenged in the WhatsApp group, Emily Wright agreed to open it up and alluded to the fact it would happen more often. Well done EGI and Emily.
An entire podcast dedicated to Build to Rent which is experiencing huge growth. However, how are they using technology. Despite going solo with Eddie enjoying some sunbathing in Northern Ireland (!), I interviewed Director of Operations at Atlas Residential, Dominic Martin. Nearly 150 listens already in just 24hrs suggest this is a popular subject. See what you think.
1. This week’s most shared article: ASYMMETRIC COMPETITION IN PROPERTY AND PROPTECH
Well this was good to see (from a selfish perspective), Eddie, my business partner, has put together a thought provoking piece about some of the work we have been involved with recently.
Is the biggest threat to property the PropTech causing so much noise or is there a far wider threat on the horizon from a sector that does not seem a threat at all?
This article from Rayhan Omar discusses the power of ‘cool’ in property, arguing that, in this modern age, something being perceived as ‘cool’ holds much more sway and can demand much more than that which is not.
I would argue that this is nothing new – ‘cool’ has always been a money maker, the ultimate PR tool, and so we needn’t be surprised that this continues into property. But it is interesting to think about the fact that the office is now something that people think should be cool. It used to be a place long accepted to suppress cool, something that should be saved for after work. In 2017, however, we have a workforce who refuse to forego, even during work hours. What does that say about our society?
Another great article shared into the WhatsApp group on Friday morning and one that provokes much thought about the investment boom we are currently seeing.
Valuable insight from Antony Slumbers on this article included “Prop Co’s have to build value propositions that constitute genuine competitive advantage. Who they invest in will only ever be part of their ecosystem. By definition anything they buy will be marginal as a competitive advantage; after all anyone else can but the same functionality.“
Whilst we talk sensible matters, we also talk nonsense from time to time. My favourites this week were these two graphics……when you think about them, are they really nonsense…….?
Whilst we should review their achievements as fascinating, check out how they have also changed as individuals. Equally fascinating and perhaps the point…..
Whether or not this classes as PropTech (I would argue it does), this story is well worth a read, if only for the fascinating insight it offers into the future.
It seems, much like Orwell found inspiration in the farm, it is also proving to be the perfect test ground for all of the various tech innovations we talk about every day to live and work, side-by-side. Drones dropping seeds, autonomous tractors and harvesters (see video below), big data for analysing weather and crop cycles, and so on. A beautifully written analysis of symbiosis in innovation and the gentle satisfaction of things working smoothly.
The NHS’s 500 million sq ft estate could be on the verge of an Internet of Things (IoT) revolution following the development of a new sensing technology by a Scottish property technology start-up called CENSIS.
As part of their innovation, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems claims to have created non-obtrusive sensors for movable objects across the NHS’s property. Things such as beds and heart monitors will be tracked via sensors. The hope is that by tracking them, they can be used more efficiently. The NHS spends an estimated £30 billion every year managing its estates and facilities, and still, they reportedly run with minimal efficiency, costing the taxpayer millions and millions in wasted money. For example, a trial run in Oxford allowed staff to realise that a room they thought was in constant use, was actually redundant, unused, for the majority of time.
A little fundraising news from Silicon Valley, Reali has raised a further $4 million bringing their Series A total to $9 million. Reali is trying to give the power back to the people by eliminating the high fees that agents traditionally charge – sounds familiar, right? They have, however, still managed to achieve, roughly, a 50% year-on-year growth.
Great article to finish on – warning of the potential pitfalls of PropTech investment. This piece suggests that the traditional property industry is playing a risky game as we see more and more property companies double up as VC firms, investing in PropTech startups.
The problem lies in the fact that the best innovation may well come from a different startup – and then what does the traditional firm do? Drop the company they’ve invested in? That can cost a lot! Or do they try and keep the competing innovation from getting off the ground somehow, to avoid the threat of competition?
The latter is a real possibility, and if that starts happening, the entire industry is going to miss out on some really important tech innovation.
I hope that this has been an interesting read. Don’t forget to join me and many others in the WhatsApp group.
Have a great Sunday. James