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UPDATE #08/21

October 2021

Dear PropTech Community,

I wish you an awesome autumn!

All the best and stay safe,
Julia

 

10 innovative technology ideas

A recent article names the top technology trends for the built environment. According to the MIT Tech Tracker, they are: 5G, virtual reality, the internet of things (IoT), graphene, augmented reality, photogrammetry, the connected home, aramid fibers, exoskeletons, and carbon nanotubes.
 

130 innovative rooftop ideas

Viewed from above, a city consists of a lot of roofs. In Rotterdam, for example, there are around 18 square kilometers of flat rooftop space. Now a book presents ideas for what can be done with them. The ideas are furthermore assigned to several categories, including sustainable development goals.
 

A lot of good money

Is PropTech hot enough for major M&A activity? An article points out that this year has already seen at least 18 billion dollars of it and is well on track of topping last year’s 21.9 billion. As is also the case for big later stage funding rounds, the most obvious targets are companies accelerated by the pandemic.
 

A lot of bad air

A scientific paper reveals that with typical office air (which is often more polluted than outdoor air), it is not only health that suffers, but also productivity. Cognitive function decreases and distraction increases. Even buildings generally considered as good can and should improve.
 

A lot of PropTechs

PropTechMap celebrates its 5th anniversary. The industry’s leading companies are now shown in this year’s edition PropTechMap Europe 2021: Top 100.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

Peering into the future

The Mid-Year 2021 Global Proptech Confidence Index (download here) reports a slight dip of investor confidence (down from 9.2 out of 10 at year-end 2020 to 8.9), but an increase in startup confidence over the same period (up from 7.7 to 8.3).
The Future Of Real Estate & Construction 2021 (download here) covers around 40 different topics including the future of digital twins (for example with semantic models) and the future of timber construction (for example hybrid systems with both 2D and 3D elements).
The Relevation 2021 Trends Book (download here) deals with around 30 issues centered on venture capital, including LP/GP relationships and whether PropTech has become a red ocean.

RECOMMENDED READING 


Smart about offices:
What’s the Future of the Office?

Smart about indicators:
A Smart City KPIs Assessment Modeling Framework

Smart about security:
Why Smart Buildings Are Targeted by Hackers

Deals & cooperations

Awning, a San Francisco based platform allowing individuals to invest in single-family rental homes in remote markets, has collected $9.3m of seed money.

Also in San Francisco, Juno has raised a $20m series A. The startup focuses on creating more sustainable and affordable apartment buildings.

On the other side of the Pacific, in Sydney, Willow has received $43m in its series B for building digital twins of real estate and infrastructure assets globally.

Back in the United States but further south in California, in San Diego,Measurabl has closed a $50m series C. It enables ESG data management, benchmarking and reporting.
And we’re back in San Francisco, where Pacaso, a platform helping people buy and co-own a second home, has raised a $125m series C led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

Now we finally get to Europe, and with a huge deal too: Germany’s vacation rental distribution channel and metasearch engine HomeToGogoes the SPAC route with Lakestar in a €1.2bn transaction.

Meanwhile, Finland-based CubiCasawith its automated floor plan sketch creation got acquired by US real estate valuation technology company Clear Capital.

Finally, German commercial real estate data solutions companyRealxdata has been acquired by Moody’s Analytics.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

EVANA

Data extraction and data management are the fundamental basis for data-driven, smart real estate asset management. This is where EVANA comes in – with the help of what is probably the most intelligent algorithm for recognizing real estate-specific documents. Check it out!
 

UPDATE #07/21

September 2021

Dear PropTech Community,

I hope you had an amazing, relaxing, and inspiring summer!

In Tokyo there are the Paralympics and I have become a fan of Haven Shepherd who was born in 2003 in Vietnam. When she was 16 months old, her father detonated a bomb that was meant to kill Shepherd and both her parents. She survived the blast but had both her lower legs amputated below the knee. In 2004 Shepherd was adopted by a family in Missouri.
On Instagram, Shepard posted a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.:
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
An example of a man with a purpose, plan, and vision!

Yes, I am moving forward and am on a healing journey after my cancer diagnosis, operation, and intensive radiation treatments during the last couple of months.
My heart is broken and I am speechless watching the news about Afghanistan. My dad is still in Kabul and being half Afghan and a fighter for women’s rights it is devastating …

Wishing you all lots of gratitude and empathy for others and yourself,

Your Julia Suleika

British pioneers

BusinessCloud has published a new ranking of the 50 companies deemed to be the United Kingdom’s most innovative PropTechs. The process included an independent judging panel, a Unissu community rating, and a public vote.
 

German pioneer

Digital interior fitting company ROOMHERO has unveiled its virtual office showroom, which makes the whole process as efficient as possible for viewers, from booking an available timeslot to experiencing a 360 degrees 1:1 tour.
 

American pioneer

In an interview, the co-founder of both Zillow and Pacaso, Spencer Rascoff, points out that the bar for innovation has been raised from information access to enabling smart decisions. He also sees great potential for PropTech in emerging markets.
 

American mass market

A survey of 1500 American consumers found that 90% complete financial deals online, and 81% feel secure in doing so. Interestingly, there is a generational gap: Those aged 18 to 34 feel much less secure than those aged 45 to 54.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

Transform with technology

A new report by JLL looks at report takes an in-depth look at how evolving technology shapes the future of real estate. After featuring a selection of relevant inventions from the MIT Tech Tracker, such as “hypercells” and self-cleaning materials, the main part of the report consists of 10 sections each diving into a particular technology application, ranging from the building level to the city level. Each section closes with a sidebar of key considerations. Finally, there is a chapter quantifying the global PropTech landscape. More than $ 97 billion of equity funding have so far been raised by more than 7800 companies. The top locations for these are London (458 companies), New York (412), and San Francisco (363). You can download the full report.

Deals & cooperations

Vietnamese real estate brokerage platform Rever has raised a little over $10m. Its online listings are verified by on-ground staff.

Austrian smartphone-based access control startup Nuki has announced a €20m round and now plans to hire more than 100 further employees.

PriceHubble, the German startup employing machine learning for real estate valuations and insights, has closed a $34m series B.

Also in a series B, Vienna-based warehousing company Storebox has raised €52m, with which it intends to internationalize.
San-Francisco based Bungalow has closed a $75m round. The company provides a shared living marketplace and an app for tenants.

In the United Kingdom, construction and infrastructure maintenance software company Causeway got£120m from Rothschild & Co.

3D-printed home company ICON has announced a series B of $207m. Among other things, it also works with NASA on Martian habitats.

Skyline AI is being acquired by JLL. The startup has developed a platform using predictive analytics for analyzing commercial real estate.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

Ampeers Energy

How can decentralized energy systems be implemented in an economically efficient way? A Fraunhofer Spin-Off in Munich has developed software for a range of business models, linking processes from energy generation to consumption, and from optimization to billing. Have a look!

 

UPDATE #06/21

June 2021

Dear PropTech Community,

I hope this message finds you all well!

What does Emotional Intelligence (EI) stand for?
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict; and be aware of the impact they can have on those around them.
According to Daniel Goleman there are 5 key elements to it:

Self-awareness The ability to recognize and understand one’s moods, motivations, and abilities. Also understanding the effects they have on others.

Self-regulation – The ability to control one’s impulses, the ability to think before you speak/react, and the ability to express yourself appropriately.

Motivation Having an interest in learning and self-improvement and the strength to keep going when there are obstacles in life. It is setting goals and following through with them.

Empathy – The ability to understand other people’s emotions and reactions. Empathy can only be achieved if self-awareness is achieved.

Social skills The ability to pick up on jokes, customer service, maintaining friendships and relationships, and finding common ground with others. The ability to listen before responding.

Does this very simple yet so under-implemented piece of advice to help you improve your own EI and communication with others?
Develop the ability to listen to understand, not to listen to reply!
 

Be well – be safe and just be 😉
Your Julia

Technology integration

With PropTech solutions already covering so many different aspects across a real estate portfolio, the question arises whether one integrated platform might not be more helpful than a patchwork of tools, each with a narrow focus. A PropertyWeek article argues that with an end-to-end solution, owners can achieve both lower total costs and happier tenants. 

Data integration

We know data is important. We know health is important. Perhaps we should also integrate data for health? CBRE points out that current expectations regarding facility cleaning come with a hefty price tag, which may be reduced for example by adapting cleaning procedures with the help of heatmaps based on proper space usage data. 

Quite close

Some relevant health data may not even be generated by sensors in the office, but rather by ones directly on your skin. You probably already use a wearable like a fitness band or a smart watch. Such data can also be used by employers for example to systematically identify and eliminate sources of stress. Of course a really important word in this context is “anonymised”. 

Quite distant

Rather more distant than your watch, or your workplace, or your last vacation (whenever and wherever that may have been) is a life-critical need for really serious real estate technology. We’re talking about feeding 3D-printers with locally ground-up rock and about nuclear reactors. We’re talking about building and heating on Mars. 

 RESEARCH  

Workplace 2021

A Leesman report reveals that employee perceptions of their respective workplaces differ quite significantly. In the best environments, more 87% of employees of high performing companies feel they are productive individually, compared with a global average of only 66%. For perceived collective productivity, the spread is just slightly bigger (88% vs. 65%), but for a sense of community the difference is a bit more pronounced (86% vs. 61%). In spite of these nods to their colleagues, when asked how many days they would like to spend in their traditional workplace rather than their home office after the pandemic, only 15% of employees said 4-5 days, while 37% opted for 0-1 days. You can download the full report here.

RECOMMENDED READING 

What’s the decisive factor for markets?
How Information Asymmetry Twists Commercial Real Estate Markets

What’s the decisive factor for innovation?
This $68 billion Australian city wants to become the next Silicon Valley

What’s the decisive factor for sustainability?
Technology provides the key to realising real estate’s ESG goals
 

Deals & cooperations

ProperGate, which provides a smart delivery management system for construction sites, has raised $1M.

Australian asset maintenance software developer Uptick has received $2M.

Austrian property configuration platform Propster has announced a €3M round.

Boundary with its smart burglar alarm system has gotten £3.7M of seed money.
Construction planning software provider Sablono has pocketed €5.3M.

Voltus, which provides cash-generating energy products, has closed a $31M series C.

The series C of Material Bank, a large marketplace for architecture and design, has come in at $100M.

Digital design and construction process company Prescient has raised $190M of private equity.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

edddison

Can non-programmers build interactive 3D applications with BIM data and use them to sell properties? That may indeed become possible with edddison.

UPDATE #05/21

May 2021

Dear PropTech Community,
 
I hope this message finds you all well!
“Pieces of a Woman” is the title of a movie that was showcased at the Academy Awards.
That’s how I feel, after my cancer diagnosis in March and my surgery in April.
Today is the first day of May 2021 and I love May. It’s the month of my eldest son’s birthday as well as mine and nature unfolds the beauty of spring.
Now it’s time to heal my outer and inner scars.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with gold.
As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Here is a small task. Take a blank piece of paper.
1. Write down, one below the other, all the things giving you energy, e.g.:
– spending time with my family, especially my sons
– being in nature, particular at/in the ocean
– working in digital real estate, I love what I do
– hanging out with my friends
– enjoying art and culture
– sleeping long hours
2. Then assign a percentage to each of these categories, so that the total is 100%.
3. Use a pie chart to showcase your energy sources.

Trust me, it’s vital to know what makes your heart jump and what provides you with energy to move on, despite all circumstances!

Big hug and stay safe,
Your Jules 😉

Smart building investors

Investments in smart building startups continue. Interestingly, 38% of them in the first quarter of this year are attributable to corporate venture capital. Even oil and gas giant Shell has joined the fray as a strategic investor in energy blockchain startup LO3.
 

Smart building efficiency

Energy efficiency is also the overall focus of an another article identifying five key areas of clean tech for making commercial real estate more sustainable: Energy storage, smart sensors, AI-powered windows, automation-driven HVAC, and sensor-based motors.
 

Smart building trends

Another article presenting five areas concerning smart buildings takes a broader perspective, where smart energy management is just one of the five. The other four trends covered are tenants’ wellbeing and a safe return to work, agile smart workspace, predictive maintenance and asset digitization, and data-driven digital services.
 

Smart city trends

At the foot of Mount Fuji, a new vision called the Woven City is starting out. Since the project is largely driven by Toyota, a major aspect is that the whole concept is geared especially towards autonomous vehicles. The long-term plan is to spread the smart city platform being developed first to other areas of Japan and then internationally.


 RESEARCH 
 

A Framework for the Future
of Real Estate

A new report of the World Economic Forum draws together relevant research from a wide range of sources and adds context through a framework with 4 pillars and 5 enablers, discussed in detail for each asset class. Interesting figures include cities’ economic magnitude (55% of global population accounting for 80% of global GDP), affordability issues (17% of EU population in overcrowded dwellings), likeliness of people to relocate because of COVID-19 (15% in Singapore, 28% in New York), future working models (18% of organizations fully remote), and the future office market (30% flexible vs. 5% today). You can download the full report here.

RECOMMENDED READING 


There is a land rush for green PropTech.
Will it work out for investors?

Indoor air problems can appear in many forms.
How can they be identified?

Commercial building maintenance needs technologies.
Which are the most important ones?

Deals & cooperations

SatSense, a spin-out of the University of Leeds, has raised £1.5Mfor its software to detect the deterioration of building foundations.

The seed round of Fintor, a platform for fractional real estate equity shares, has totaled $2.5M.

The exact same amount of $2.5Malso was the seed round of RentRedi, a software streamlining self-management for landlords.

Construction robotics companyRoboticPlus.AI, based in Shanghai, got $20M in a series B.

A slightly larger series A of $21M was closed by Higharc, which promises concept to construction documents in mere days.

Cherre, which provides real estate data and insight, has collected $50Min a series B.

HqO‘s series C reached $60M. The company develops a tenant experience platform for commercial real estate.

Home security solutions providerSimpliSafe has raised $130M in a private equity round.

Property sales progression platform YourKeys has been acquired by Zoopla for an undisclosed sum.

SmartRent, a smart home automation company, is going public trough one of Fifth Wall Ventures’ SPACs which has already raised around $345M.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

aedifion

Gather the various different kinds of operating data of a building, merge them all, analyze them, and take appropriate actions. Sounds like a lot of work and prone to errors? It is! Might there be a better way with automation and artificial intelligence? There is! It has a name: aedifion.

UPDATE #04/21

April 2021

Dear PropTech Community,
 
I hope this message finds you all in good mental and physical health!
 
What a month. Spring has started, we are already in the second quarter of 2021, now 1 year of Covid-19, 4th lockdown in Austria, Easter break … well we don’t know when school starts again and I got diagnosed with cancer.
I am in my late 40s, a mom of two teenage sons, no cancer in my family, never touched alcohol, cigarettes or any kind of drugs in my whole life, and I did run over 500 km and biked the same amount in the past 5 months.
What is Cancer?
Now I am in the hospital each day and I am very grateful for getting good treatment and being surrounded by family and friends.
I wasn’t sure if I should write this …
 
Is your glass half empty or half full?
The answer to this well-known question about positive thinking will likely not only reflect your outlook on life, but also your attitude towards yourself – and may even affect your well-being!
The way you perceive the world and your beliefs (your beliefs = the pair of glasses you wear to see the world) will impact how you handle stress and how you make decisions. The importance of managing your mental well-being can’t be stressed enough – in building a company and in building a life.
The quality of your mind is the quality of your life!
For decision making, it’s important to have space to decide that whatever you do is worthwhile. Trying to have maximum control of your time while ensuring that what occupies your day matters.
Those are two excellent pieces of advice that I hope will inspire you in the coming week!
 
Being extremely cautious about how I spend my precious lifetime!
One more thing to add, I love my life and despite the circumstances I am an incredibly lucky woman to have done everything that was on my ‘bucket list’ – don’t postpone life and seize the moment. 😉
 
Keep well and take good care of yourself and your loved ones!
 
HaPpY Easter,
Your Julia

 

Technology integration

In a recent articleForbes has collected 14 different ways in which commercial real estate can benefit from technology integration. While a number of them are hardly surprising (for example streamlining operations), others are a little more specific and point out potentials which many companies indeed do not really exploit yet (for instance using augmented reality to inspect vacant properties).
 

Data integration

With the proper technology in place, data can be integrated through BIM (building information modeling). International public sector representatives, multilateral organizations, and infrastructure funders from 100 countries dealing with BIM can in turn be integrated, as has just been demonstrated by the launch of the Global BIM Network.
 

Data centers and offices

Google has announced that it will spend $7 billion on data centers and office space this year. While a whole billion of this is already earmarked for California, expansions are planned in 19 different U.S. states and are expected to create 10,000 jobs. Although employees are currently working remotely, Google doesn’t want to keep it that way permanently.
 

Residential and retail

10 PropTech investors have been asked about the trends they discern after the pandemic. The overall picture that emerges is definitely a positive one for both the residential and the retail sectors. Urban life will likely change for the better and outsourced services are here to stay. One important observation, however, is that there will probably be radical differences between the development paths of different regions.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

Global PropTech Confidence

The month of March saw the release of the Year-End 2020 Global PropTech Confidence Index report. Both investor confidence (9.2/10) and startup confidence (7.7/10) are now at an all-time high. 65% of investors expect to see more pitches in 2021 and 59% expect to actually make more investments. Among startups, 39% think it will be easier to get venture capital hin 2021. Both sides are convinced that the pandemic will accelerate PropTech adoption (investors 94%, startups 92%). You can download the full report.

 

RECOMMENDED READING 

Real estate was a catastrophe in 2020:
What happens next (and when)?

Board seats at startups:
Too many VC cooks in the kitchen?

An alternative to IPOs:
What Is A SPAC?
 

Deals & cooperations

NFX and JLL, amongst others, have invested a total of $10 million in Lev Capital, which uses data and automation to help commercial real estate owners and investors source financing.

nPlan, which applies machine learning to help construction projects avoid issues such as delays and cost overruns, has received £13.5 million from several investors including GV and former McKinsey & Company managing director Sir Ian Davis.

Pacaso went from launch to unicorn in 5 months by raising $75 million at a $1 billion valuation. The startup allows people to purchase shares in a second home in a new way (as opposed to the old timeshare model).

Italian PropTech Casavo, which promises to reduce the time to sell a house from around 6 months to just 1, has raised €200 million.

Real estate technology venture firm Zigg Capital has collected $225 million for its second fund.

German startup Gorillas already delivers groceries on-demand in 3 countries (Germany, UK, Netherlands). Now it has raised $290 million at at a valuation surpassing $1 billion.

Brazilian digital real estate platform Loft has closed a $425 millionfunding round led by D1 Capital Partners from the US.

Home heating and cooling software-as-a-service provider ServiceTitanhas 7,500 customers employing over 100,000 technicians. Now it announced a $500 million financing round.

Finally, home selling platform Offerpad is planning to go public through a SPAC in a deal valued at $3 billion.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

DeltaQ

Can both emissions and costs be reduced by artificial intelligence powered anticipation of workspace occupation and weather? You bet! Find out how DeltaQ does it.

UPDATE #03/21

March 2021

Dear PropTech Community,
 
one year has passed by in lockdown and I am sure you got to know yourself better!
I recommend reflecting and taking time to do what makes your soul HaPpY!
 
My family and I have learned to practice gratitude, the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Practicing gratitude will change your life and you will love it – trust me on that!
 
The One Skill that Helped Me Grow in My Career
is having a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset tend to believe that their abilities can be built and developed over time. They often set higher expectations for themselves — even when faced with challenges, mistakes, and failures.
 
A Simple Way to Map Out Your Career Ambitions
The research is clear about how we grow most successfully: It’s a combination of on-the-job, social, and formal learning, also known as the 70-20-10 model. This research-derived mantra says that roughly 70% of your professional growth will come from work experiences.
Growing yourself faster isn’t easy but it’s made far simpler when you are clear about your origin, your destination, and the fastest, experience-driven route between the two.
 
Wishing you a relaxing weekend and stay safe,
Julia

Hot topic

Due to climate change, temperatures are getting hotter in the long term. In the short term, more attention is now being paid to ESG (environmental, social, governance) issues. This includes around 25 European venture capital funds which are building a community around sustainability practices and processes both for themselves and for their portfolio companies.
 

Hot trends

I know you’re tired of hearing about the pandemic and its day-to-day manifestations. So let’s focus a bit on where things are going in the long term. According to an article in Forbes, the biggest losers in real estate are retail, hospitality, and office space, while the biggest winners are single-family housing, the suburbs, and – guess what! – PropTech.
 

Hot in America

VCs targeting real estate and construction technology startups and Business Insider have chosen 31 PropTech which they consider to be the hottest in the United States and Canada under the new circumstances. They deliberately focused on younger companies which don’t yet obviously dominate their space and haven’t raised very much money or even exited.
 

Hot in Europe

Of course Europe also has its share of hot PropTechs. For example in the IoT space: aedifion addresses tasks like technical monitoring with its platform uniting data analysis and control, while Payuca offers smart access and smart revenue solutions to parking space operators, making previously unused parking spaces accessible to the public. Or perhaps you’re curious about how artificial intelligence transforms the site acquisition and development process? Then you can join a webinar by Spacemaker AI on March 11th at 14:00 CET.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

PropTech in Canada

With 10 of last year’s top 50 global institutional real estate investors being located in Canada and a big emphasis on innovation there, it’s certainly worthwhile to have a closer look at the PropTech ecosystem there. A new report by the PropTech Collective reveals that 80% of the 300 PropTech startups analyzed are located in 5 hubs, with the Greater Toronto area alone accounting for 46%. Building automation and IoT (17 startups), rental management (15), energy management (16), and storage and logistics (11) are not only among the overall top 10 categories by number of startups, but also among the fastest growing. You can download the full report and watch the recorded launch event.

RECOMMENDED READING 

Trends on a collision course:
SPAC and ESG

Venture capital funding trends:
Global VC Report 2020

Trends can be confusing:
No, the office is not dead

Deals & cooperations

Austrian startup Wowflow has raised €300k pre-seed for its mobile-first collaboration and workflow solution for facility maintenance teams.

Realm, which analyzes data to estimate how much one’s home could be worth, has collected $3 million in a seed round.

Moving on to a series A round, GoContractor has raised $5 million. The company offers a digital onboarding and subcontractor management platform for the construction industry.

3D-printed home developer Mighty Buildings has raised $40 million in a series B.
Industrious may yet go for an IPO this year, but first CBRE Group Inc. has now acquired a 35% stake in the flexible workspace provider for about $200 million.

Residential real estate data company CoreLogic was already en route to be acquired by two private-equity firms for about $6 billion, but now CoStar Group is offering $6.9 billion.

SoftBank-backed real estate brokerage Compass has filed for an IPO.

NREP’s sustainability-focused VC fund 2150 has raised €130 million.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

Measurabl

How does the world’s most widely adopted ESG data management solution for commercial real estate help property owners? Find out by looking at Measurabl.

UPDATE #02/21

February 2021

Dear PropTech Community,
 
I hope you are all in good mental and physical shape during this special time!

Today I want to share with you the importance of ‘Network Effects’ in your private life:
Your Life is Driven by Network Effects
… as well as in business:
The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects
If you want to know more about what I do or think or what motivates me, check out my latest interview:
5Q PropTech Interview – Julia Arlt Global Digital Real Estate Leader at PwC
 
Wishing you all the best and please stay safe and take good care of yourself and your loved ones,
Your Julia

 

Big companies create gaps

After analyzing more than 4,700 earnings calls, Bloomberg found that in response to the pandemic, at least 1 in 8 companies around the world are cutting real estate. This concerns both offices and branches. Meanwhile the vacancy rate is already at 13% (the highest since 2003) in Manhattan and over 20% in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
 

Small companies use gaps

Meanwhile, nimble startups find ways to take advantage of the general urban exodus, where residential moves follow commercial closures. Case in point: AlphaFlow, a startup buying real estate loans from lenders, now also sellssecurities linked to mortgages used particularly for house flipping, where properties are bought, renovated, and sold as quickly as possible.
 

Free short online event

Ideally, all the players involved with a property over its whole lifecycle work together with a minimum of friction. Now two PropTechs which digitally enable this – Propster from Austria (focused more on the development phase) and Animus from Germany (focused more on the occupancy phase) – have decided to cooperate and will talk about their vision and a real use case in a joint webinar (in German) on February 18th at 4pm CET. Register for free here.
 

Discount for long online event

In the current environment the need for healthy buildings is greater than ever. If you’re a building owner and want to understand how to balance employee health and wellness with critically needed cost savings, increased revenue, and sustainability targets, then you should attend the Smart & Healthy Buildings Summit in March. Friends within my network are entitled to a 20% discount on the standard price. Just click on this link and use code SHBJA20.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

Broker confidence in New York City

The end of January saw the publication of the latest quarterly broker confidence report by the Real Estate Board of New York. The survey data covers both commercial and residential brokers, and their sentiments on both the present situation and the future 6 months from now. While commercial brokers’ overall confidence has picked up by 34% from the previous quarter, it is still 60% below the previous year. Residential brokers are more confident, with a 45% increase from the previous quarter, now only 10% below the previous year. You can download the full report here.

 

RECOMMENDED READING 

Can housing tech be a force for good?
VC investment in PropTech can yield profits and change lives

Will agents be paid salaries instead of commissions?
Tech brokerages see bundling, salaries as the future

Has the pandemic transformed the office forever?
How to balance remote work with the physical workplace

Deals & cooperations

Propertymate has raised a $1m seedround. The startup predicts future interest in different communities with the help of artificial intelligence.

Like Propertymate, Darwin Homes is based in Austin, Texas, from where it provides property management automation software. Now it has closed a $15m series A.

Already at series C, Roostify has announced $32m of new funding. The company powers platforms of several major players like JPMorgan Chase and Guild Mortgage.

Rhino, which provides insurance to real estate companies, brought in $95m in what it called a “pre-IPO” round.
Latch, the smart lock maker, is going public via a SPAC backed by Tishman Speyer. Latch will receive around $450m in cash at a valuation of $1.56bn.

Tishman Speyer seems to have developed a taste for SPACs indeed, because shortly after the Latch deal it now launches its second SPAC, for which it is raising $250m.

After its unsuccessful IPO attempt in 2019, flexible shared workspace giant WeWork is now looking at the SPAC route as well, which could value it at $10bn.

Commercial real estate brokerage tools provider CommissionTrac is being acquired by Yardi for an undisclosed sum.

UPDATE #01/21

January 2021

Dear digital real estate community,
 
I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing, joyful holiday season with your loved ones! As always, I visited my family in my hometown Hamburg. I am so grateful to have my family; my parents are in their mid 70ths and they are extremely fit.
Having a huge family – I have four siblings, two brothers and sisters, seven aunts and uncles and 12 cousins – is a gift.
Another treasure is my education. My parents put me into a Waldorf School and I have to admit it has shaped me until today, being 49 years old. Several of my friends are from my early school days and I love the quote: Imagination is more important than knowledge (Albert Einstein). That pretty much sums up the Waldorf school education. 😉
The 7-Year Cycles of Life is also an interesting perspective. I like the saying: There are two things that we should give our children: roots and wings (Wolfgang von Goethe).

Gratitude is very healing and can enhance the quality of your life! I returned yesterday back home to Vienna. Today my family is off for one week of skiing and I am home alone. This is the best gift for me to be just by myself and to enjoy solitude.In a distracted world, solitude is a competitive advantage. Having the discipline to step back from the noise of the world is essential to staying focused. The ability to focus is a competitive advantage in the world today:
– Build periods of solitude into your schedule.
– Analyze where your time is best spent.
– Starve your distractions e.g. social media consume.
– Don’t be too busy to learn how to be less busy.
– Create a “stop doing” list.
Opportunities to focus are still all around us. But we must recognize them and believe that the benefit of focus, for yourself and the people you lead, is worth making it a priority in your life. In other words, before you can lead others, the first person you must lead is yourself.

In 2021 I plan to commit to an eight-weeks mindfulness course. I am so excited!
 
Wishing YOU all the very best and a HaPpY, healthy & prosperous new year 2021!
Thank you for reading my reflections,
Julia

 

Why agents use technology

Using the right technologies is morphing from a nice-to-have into a must-have, says John Berkowitz, CEO of OJO Labs, with a view to 2021 in an interview. However, technology is not displacing or diminishing agents, who still play an essential role. But that role is evolving, and the need to leverage technology nowadays constitutes a part of that.
 

How agents use technology

In which ways exactly should agents leverage proptech? An article lists the top 10 selected by the Forbes Real Estate Council. While some (such as “improving performance” and “making better decisions”) are rather expected, others (such as “engaging with prospects 24/7” and “immediately addressing client needs”) indeed cannot be taken for granted yet today.
 

How VCs see the big picture

The World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community brings together leaders from the public and the private sector to consider ways to achieve resiliency in the face of crises on a large scale. With A/O PropTech, this community now has its first venture capital firm as a member. A particular focus is mitigating the huge environmental impact of real estate.
 

How VCs make big investments

Although it dipped by almost 25 percent compared to the previous year, proptech venture capital investments in 2020 amounted to almost 24 billion dollars in spite of the pandemic. 425 companies were funded with that money. The strongest month was March, followed by June and August.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

Technology and the Future of Real Estate Investment Management

A new study by the University of Oxford and Pi Labs looks at the 12-15% of the global real estate value which are available to institutional investors, how they are managed, and the role of technology in this. Key takeaways include the need for more data integration, investor management benefitting more quickly than investment management, the still open opportunity for a true end-to-end transaction and asset management platform, a requirement of strong RegTech and LegalTech markets, and a lack of holistic models for achieving environmental, social, and governance goals. The full report can be downloaded here.

RECOMMENDED READING 

The real estate management perspective:
Adoption of proptech in property management

The startup founders perspective:
This is a good time to start a proptech company

The venture capital perspective:
Tech trends to watch in 2021
 

Deals & cooperations

Vietnam-based real estate financing platform Homebase has closed a seven-figure pre-series A round.

A series B of 50 million Euros led by EQT Ventures has been announced by Luko. The French company has a new approach to property insurance for both homeowners and renters.

For an undisclosed sum, German EWE AG has acquired Fresh Energy, which has developed white label solutions for energy providers.

DIY landlord tools company Avail is also being acquired. The acquirer in this case is real estate platform realtor.com. Both companies are based in the US.

Avenue 8 has raised a seed round of 4 million dollars. The startup develops a flexible set of tools for residential real estate agents.

Just a little bit more – 4.1 million dollars – of seed money went toDongnae, which is based in South Korea and aims to digitize the rental and home buying market there.

UK-based Proportunity, which targets first-time home buyers, has announced  a debt capital injection of around 8.2 million Euros.

Construction-scale 3D printing technology company Branch Technology has raised 11 million dollars in a round led by EquipmentShare.