The Sunday PropTech Review: 7th May 2017

POSTED BY   james
May 7, 2017

Well Future : PropTech was fun. Over 600 attendees expected and yet 846 came through the door. It was crazy.

There are hundreds of photos you can see of the event here

From initial feedback I have picked up from people, it was almost unanimously well received as an event. The venue seemed to split people, and a little bit of work was needed on the speakers but the networking seemed great and the exhibition space well populated throughout.

Having said all that, I was stuck in the main room for the day and was rarely out so this is only brief 3rd party feedback. If you were there tell me your thoughts; I have four questions to ask you.

Someone asked me this week, what PropTech meant to me. I just want to mention this as I think it is quite important. PropTech isn’t just about technology for me, it is about a wider shift in attitude to the way that we work and live with real estate. It is as much a technological shift that we are seeing as a mentality one. That is why you will see articles in this edition, that feature Pod Living and micro apartments. They are not directly PropTech but are a wider evolution about our property assets and the future of the way that we live. Just wanted to put it out there.

1. This week’s most shared article: Fifth Wall builds a $212 fund specifically for PropTech

We have a few funds dotted around the Globe which have supported the growth of PropTech over the last few years. Now however Fifth Wall have built a huge fund in a play that just shows the new level of maturity of PropTech. There is a recognition, I believe that the largest asset class is in a huge period of change but it needs funds to do this. Hence some of the largest real estate firms are investing in this fund (think CBRE, Hines, Lowes and Equity Residential

As Brendan Wallace, co-founder of Fifth Wall statesOften, new solutions in real estate aren’t hard to build from a tech perspective,” explains Wallace. You can put vendor management tools in the cloud. You can demonstrate a positive ROI. What’s harder is go-to-market and distribution risk,” he continues. “If you can’t sell to one of the big [real estate] incumbents, it’s hard to succeed. A handful of these companies really dictate outcomes.”

We just need one of these funds over on this side of the pond now. Any takers?

2. Tenant Vs Tenant app to launch in London

Now this could be both interesting, encouraging and frighteningly contentious. Rentberry, currently undergoing a Series A fundraise, is looking to expand to London.

Seemingly pitching tenant against tenant to gain favour with landlords, alienating tenant action groups in the process, Rentberry has received its fair share of press. Let see what happens when it gest over here. However, to use a quote from Dan Wilson, Director of Non Profit, Generation Rent states: “When you have a market as fundamentally unhealthy as the London rental market, no amount of transparency is going to improve things for consumers.

3. Article of the week – PodShare – is this the future of millennial living?

I have featured recently a review of co-living development, The Collective, which wasn’t brilliantly portrayed but, and I really mean but, this doesn’t mean it is wrong. The younger generation, so digitaly attached, are sometimes wanting to be surrounded by others. I get that, I somehow think I do.

This below video covers a project in the US called PodShare which I do tend to wonder about. I am a/ fascinated by this type of project b/ I can see the business side of it but c/ I am not sure I would want to see my children living in a pod when they are older. After all, as is suggested in this video “bunk beds are for children, pods are for adults“. Just not sure. Your thoughts? Let me know

This last week, I was shown a new concept to another form of co-living (frustratingly I can’t go in to any detail as I gave my word that I wouldn’t) that superbly mixes “Pod Style Living” with the transience of the millenials. More to come Talking of cool, micro homes, check out these prefab ones from a Japanese Architectural team, priced at £21,000 and are only 9m2.

4. WeWork appoint a CTO – something we all need to consider

I checked, it was in February of last year that I published an article that firms need to consider appointing Non Executive Directors under the age of 40 to help them with the transition and change that technology is bringing.

It was at the PropTech event that one of the speakers mentioned that he could count on one had the number of CTOs he knew in the property sector. I think it may be growing but he did have a point.

Therefore, ahead of a supposed IPO, it is good to see that WeWork have employed a CTO to help them with their merging of physical spaces and the digital space:

Take the internet of things, for example. We can bring sensors into the management of the space to get data on how people interact in their offices and tailor that experience” Good luck Laurent.

5. Augmented Reality and furniture selection. 300,000 products and counting

It’s getting there. I have been following AR in Real Estate for many years now and there have been a few AR apps (IKEA were one of the first when they augmented some of their catalogue). However, Houzz, an American retailer, has significantly increased their product line within their updated app. This will be future of buying items for the home, in my view, I just can’t believe how slow progress is here.

6. Samsung and the self driving car

You may be aware of my interest in both Amazon and the last mile delivery (did you know that Amazon now lease over 23% of the UK Warehouse space……) with their Prime Air Delivery service – this will significantly impact city and town design in the future in my view.

However, I am also fascinated by the impact of self driving cars. Therefore two articles for you here. Firstly, Samsung. Having spend $8million on a US firm around this area back in 2016, they now have the green light for testing in South Korea. Furthermore, for a bit of #CarPorn, check out the Intel Autonomous Car Garage! Some interesting discussions and thoughts here

7. All my recommended PropTech reads of the week.

As always, I like to list all the articles I have been looking at and reading through this week so here is a complete list in case you want more. Hope you enjoy them…..

Have a great Sunday.

Chat soon. James

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