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UPDATE #06/22

June 2022

Dear PropTech Community,

I hope this message finds you well!
This week we had the 4th edition of our PropTech Vienna event. Amazing PropTech solutions presented on stage like cherre, SWAPP, aedifion, Basking, spaceOS, WiredScoreCREE, wowflow, Storebox, PriceHubble, DigiShares, and Velis.
I had a pretty active last couple of months. I’ve been in Dubai, Bolzano, Cannes, Hamburg, London, Sydney, NYC, Boston, Washington D.C., Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Amsterdam.
It’s imperative to rest well – mentally, physically and spiritually – in order to deal with the everyday workload. Check out this amazing article:
The 7 types of rest that every person needs
 
Sunny greetings,
Your Julia 😉

 

An important experience

Yes, of course the location of a property is (still) very important. But as a recent McKinsey article points out, another factor is gaining prominence in both commercial and residential real estate: The customer experience.
 

A new experience

Imagine experiencing a city on an island not just in the ocean, but actually on the ocean: A floating city. One that automatically rises with the sea level. Not using land, but creating it: That’s the goal of a UN Habitat project in Korea.
 

About technology

There’s no end to opinion pieces as to which technologies should be considered the most promising for real estate. According to The Property Girls of Michigan (don’t ask), the top 3 are AI, virtualization, and augmented reality.
 

About energy

The EU’s energy performance certificates exhibit a number of shortcomings, both on the technical side and in terms of market impact. A European research project addresses this by developing a more holistic approach.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

Global Real Estate Perspective

JLL reports on the state of real estate markets, including a comparison of 15 important cities. Of these, Tokyo had the lowest vacancy rate (3%), while Dallas had the highest (26.3%). On the other hand, Dallas also had the highest investment during Q2 2021 through Q1 2022 ($42.9bn). Amsterdam had the lowest investment in that timeframe ($4bn). More details here.
 

ANZ PropTech Report

FuturePlace has published the PropTech in Australia and New Zealand 2022 Report. You can download it here.

RECOMMENDED READING 

Funding a new generation of startups:
Formwork Labs aims to build ‘the YC of construction tech’

On pace to shatter last year’s record:
VC Funding for Proptech Skyrockets as ESG Monitoring Advances

Regulators want to rein in blank-check mania:
New SPAC rules could slash proptech deals

From cost center to competitive advantage:
Workplace real estate in the COVID-19 era

Making solar the largest electricity source
EU Set to Make Solar Panels Mandatory on All New Buildings

PropTech perspective from India:
Digital transformation set to rewrite the future of the real estate sector

PropTech perspective from Pakistan:
The inevitable digitization of real estate in Pakistan

Deals & Cooperations

Construction labor marketplace Werk has raised $1.3m of Pre-Seed funding.

Firmus, a construction risk management solution, has received a $4.5m Seed round.

Indoor positioning company Oriient from Tel Aviv has secured a Series A of $11m.

Berkeley-based UrbanFootprint, a data platform, has announced a $25m Series B.

Upflex, a flexible workspace booking platform, has raised a $30m Series A.
Subcontractor software company BuildOps has secured a Series A of $43m.

A $60m Series C has been announced by Buildots, a construction management platform.

Built Robotics, a specialist for self-driving construction equipment, has received a $64m Series C.

Home ownership financing platform Point has raised a Series C amounting to $115m.

Habi, a real estate marketplace based in Colombia, has closed a $200mSeries C.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

Biomason

Which new building material could remove 25% of carbon emissions from the concrete industry by 2030? Biocement, says Biomason.

UPDATE #05/22

May 2022

Dear PropTech Community,

I hope this message finds you all well!

Approximately two years ago I co-founded FuturePlace, the leading intelligence platform for digital real estate in APAC, with John and Leon. This week I met them in person in Sydney. I got to experience our amazing Future of Construction event with 480 participants first hand. Especially noteworthy was the composition of attendees – ConTech startups, real estate corporates, investors, associations, and the government represented at the highest level – oh boy, my co-founders rocked it!

Today is my birthday, and reflecting on my life I am most grateful for my family, gorgeous friends, smart co-founders and teams, mentees and mentors who enrich my life, work that I intrinsically love, and the fact that I am ok – considering I was diagnosed with cancer 14 months ago, I am now at 60% of my energy level. 😉

A wonderful quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
your thoughts become your words,
your words become your actions,
your actions become your habits,
your habits become your values,
your values become your destiny.”

Explore, dream, and discover!

Love,
your Julia

 

Funding startups

While publicly listed PropTech stocks have experienced quite a downturn, and SPACs have had a particularly hard time, venture funding for real estate startups was up 31% year-on-year last quarter, reaching $4bn. Among the most significant deals were $400m for Veev and $250m for Pathway Homes.
 

Indian startups

The huge economy of India of course has its own share of local PropTech startups. A recent article highlights five of them, including Brick&Bolt, a tech-enabled construction marketplace, and Zapkey, which guarantees home sales within three months.
 

Blockchain technology

The importance of ESG is hardly news anymore. But how do you track for example your decarbonization efforts, and provide proof to various stakeholders? Blockchain technology is now used for this by the likes of Brookfield and JPMorgan Chase.
 

Integrating technologies

Technology suppliers like to emphasize their products’ integration features. But there are substantial differences in the depth of these capabilities. An article discusses five questions you may want to ask potential suppliers of PropTech solutions in this context.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

The World’s Largest REITs

An new infographic visualizes the sizes of the world’s 10 largest publicly traded real estate investment trusts, as well as which property types they hold. Prologis, which focuses on industrial properties, is number one with a market cap of $116.4bn. The second and third places go to American Tower and Crown Castle, both of which specialize in communications infrastructure. The highest dividend yield (4.44%) came from commercial real estate in Realty Income, the ninth by size. More details here.
 

Reducing #embodiedcarbon in #buildings

Proven solutions and strategies for carbon savings of 19%-46% at cost premiums of less than 1% according to RMI with data from Skanska. Download the report here.
 

The grand challenge of the #builtenvironment of the 21st century

We have ~350 GtCO2 and 30 years left to make the global #building stock carbon neutral. The #retrofit rate must be increased substantially from today’s 1% to around 4-5% and new buildings must be built in a net zero standard by 2040 to meet the climate goals as #embodiedcarbon is key. Download the paper here.

Deals & Cooperations

In Singapore, blockchain-based construction management solution Doxa as raised a $2.2m seed round.

Speckle, which provides 3D data processing software, got $5.5m of Seed money.

Landlord software developer RentRedi has announced a Series A of $12m.

Leasecake, a lease and location management platform, also had a $12m Series A.

Canadian Falkbuilt, which digitizes interior construction, has a CA$35mSeries A.

In Indonesia, real estate transaction platform Pinhome has announced a $50m Series B.

Built Robotics, which upgrades excavators to operate autonomously, has closed a $64m Series C.

Home energy tracking device company Sense has completed a Series C of $105m.

Lev, a commercial real estate lending marketplace, has closed a $70mSeries B as well as a $100m debt financing.

Real estate decarbonization platform Hatch Data has been acquired by Measurabl. The terms were not disclosed.

Real estate developer Fairstead is launching a $100m PropTech fund.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

Aisti

Anyone who has ever been in a noisy room will appreciate the value of sound-absorbing tiles. But can one make plastic-free acoustic tiles based on wood fibers that are carbon-negative and also easy to recycle? Aisti in Finland says yes.

 

UPDATE #04/22

April 2022

Dear PropTech Community,

I hope this message finds you well and you celebrate spring! Enjoy this amazing season with all your senses. Yes, home office and virtual meetings can be very effective, but in person meetings are priceless. It was great to meet several familiar faces at MIPIM in Cannes again.

I am learning to slow down, to seize the moment, and to be grateful for my precious life. Yes, my cancer taught me a lot – my diagnosis was one year ago, and I am now at approximately 60% of my energy level than before my treatment. With the help of my management coach I am trying to reprogram myself to be process-oriented and not only outcome-oriented … it’s really tough.

A wonderful quote from Rumi:
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
 
Big virtual hug and stay well,
Your Julia 😉

 

Big companies and hybrid work

A recent Fortune article mentions examples of companies building their new headquarters already with hybrid work in mind. Mutual of Omaha will provide space for only 2,500 of its 4,000 employees in the area. Similarly JP Morgan Chase is planning to provide workplaces for only about 60% of employees (but here that still means up to 14,000 of them).
 

Startups and hybrid work

Many startups are also heavily into the hybrid office trend. That’s one of the learnings from a video interview conducted by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr. Another is a marked difference in office space density between New York (50%) and San Francisco (20%).
 

Bioplastic, hemp, potatoes

What do bioplastic, hemp, and potatoes have in common? You can actually make buildings out of them. A new article briefly describes these and also several other promising new construction materials.
 

Diversity, ESG, VCs

As Joy Nazzari looks back on MIPIM Cannes, her takeaways include the trend towards more diversity (but still with room for improvement), significant opportunity in the social aspect of ESG (which however is hard to measure), and a certain lack of accessibility of VCs.
 

VCs, LPs, founders

An article on increasing differences between the realities of VCs and the expectations of their LPs points out that this also further exacerbates a misalignment between founders (for whom a reasonably sized exit is already life-changing) and VCs (who need ever higher returns to move the needle).

 

 RESEARCH 
 

PropTech confidence

Last month MetaProp published the latest update of its Global PropTech Confidence Index series. While investor confidence is at a record high of 9.3, startup confidence has declined from 8.3 to 7.4 However, a quarter of founders expect to hire at least 20 full-time employees this year, which is the highest level observed since 2016. You can download the full report here.
 

ESG background

In From Green to ESG: How Data-Driven Transparency Changed Real Estate for Good, Matt Ellis provides in-depth background on how the commercial real estate sector can manage climate risks. The book is available from Amazon.  

Deals & Cooperations

Colabs, a flexible workspace provider in Pakistan, has raised a $3M seed round.

3D printing startup Black Buffalo 3Dhas received $3.5M of seed money.

Weaver, a home renovations contractor marketplace in London, has closed a $4M seed round.

Israel-based Skyline Robotics, which specializes in facade maintenance at heights, has obtained $6.5M of seed capital.

Construction payment compliance software developer Handle has closed a $10M series A.

Home365, an innovative property management service, has announced a $26M series B.

A large series A of $50M went to robotic construction technology provider Diamond Age.

Parking technology developer Flashhas received $250M in a private equity round.

SightPlan, a maintenance and resident service software provider, is being acquired by SmartRent for$135M.

Real estate investment firm Tishman Speyer is creating its first PropTech venture capital fund and has already secured $100M for it.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

S.I. Container Builds

Can recycled shipping containers be used to create affordable guest suites, backyard offices, gym studios, pool houses and more? Definitely. Check it out!

UPDATE #03/22

March 2022

Dear PropTech Community,

I want to thank all of you who are supporting Ukraine!
We’ve seen lots of amazing real estate and PropTech initiatives to help, such as:
immo-hilft.atwunderflats.com/page/ukraine/landlords-who-help-en and #proptechforukraine.
We are all human beings!

On a different note, I highly recommend reading How Emotionally Intelligent People Use the Rule of Rethinking to Think Like Scientists.
The rule of rethinking is based on emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and manage emotions. It’s a principle I’ve found immensely helpful, not only in my personal life dealing with two teenage boys, but also in how I act/react in my business life.
The key: One has to learn to detach oneself emotionally from one’s ideas – which is about as easy as it sounds. I recommend a two-step process:
1. Ask yourself: Why do I feel so strongly about what I believe?
2. Practice reciting a single sentence: Sometimes, I’m wrong.
So next time you’re faced with an alternative point of view (or even a bruised ego), remember the rule of rethinking: Resist the urge to dismiss that point of view, listen carefully, and think like a scientist. Because recognizing that sometimes you’re wrong helps you become right more often.

Stay safe,
your Julia 😉

A troubled past

Late last year industry giant Zillow shut down the home-flipping part of its business. Now the numbers are in. While that part accounted for $6 billion of the company’s $8.1 billion income, instead of generating a profit, it lost $880 million. More than half a billion dollars have been written down in losses on the homes the company still owned, and 2,000 employees lost their jobs.
 

A bright future

Luckily, PropTech overall is still booming. A recent article identifies five particular ways in which our industry will benefit the economy and society at large. Labor and supply shortages can be mitigated by new efficiencies, contactless technologies can help with the pandemic as well as convenience, homes can be monetized in other ways than mortgages, smaller investors can go into real estate, and technology can enable the aging population to stay in their homes longer.
 

Into the metaverse

Investment platform Republic is spinning off its metaverse real estate business as Everyrealm. Presumably the name derives from the fact that is already invested in 25 metaverses and envisions becoming a gateway to the whole ecosystem. Crucially, it also emphasizes education and communities in order to get more people into the metaverse.
 

In the metaverse

Another article about the metaverse among other things addresses an ongoing debate about how important location really is in virtual worlds. One side maintains that as in the real world, location is everything. The other side points out that features like teleportation may make location less important, or view the whole thing as basically a pyramid scheme anyway. Some note that the value may depend a lot on what owners will actually do with their virtual property.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

Climate risks and opportunities

A new McKinsey publication looks at what climate change really means for the real estate sector. The investment necessary to achieve net-zero is estimated to be $9.2 trillion annually. As an example of direct physical dangers, higher insurance premiums and refused coverage have resulted in a 61% annual increase of non-renewed insurance in areas of moderate or higher fire risk in California. The report discusses three kinds of actions that real-estate players can take: incorporating climate change risks into valuations, decarbonizing buildings and portfolios, and creating new sources of value and revenue streams. You can read the whole text here.

Deals & Cooperations

3D scan data management startup Cintoo, based in both France and the US, has announced a €5.3M Series A co-led by AMAVI Capital and Armilar Venture Partners.

LEX, a commercial real estate securities marketplace, has closed a $15M Series A.

German ConTech Cosuno has received a Series B amounting to $30M.

Withco, which focuses on real estate ownership for small businesses, got a $32M Series B.

Clikalia, the European and Latin American iBuyer, has raised €75M.
A CA$181M series B has been announced by the Canadian construction materials purchasing platform RenoRun.

Asian home interior and renovation platform Livspace has received a$180M Series F.

Icon, the 3D printed home company, has raised $185M.

The American PropTech VC Fifth Wall expands in Europe with a separate €140M fund.

Another PropTech VC, Camber Creek, has raised $325M for its fourth fund.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

Density

Accurately tracking how people actually use given office spaces has undeniable benefits, both at the workplace level and at the portfolio level. Equally undeniable, however, are the associated data privacy challenges. So how about measuring anonymously? Enter Density.

UPDATE #02/22

February 2022

Dear PropTech Community,

I hope this message finds you well!

Uff, I must admit it – I’m pretty much addicted to my cell phone and social media, especially LinkedIn.
My average daily screen time is horrible, my lifestyle isn’t as healthy as I thought it would be.
I’ve started to assess my life – yeah, I really did a dd and the facts are miserable.
I track my daily sleeping time with my Apple watch and sports with the Runtastic Adidas app. In my calendar, I make a note when I managed to meditate. I’ve collected the data.
Well, I really intrinsically love my job, but the whole topic around work-life-balance is so tough for me to live on a daily basis.
Too many hats: Being a mom of two teenage boys, partner, sister, daughter, girlfriend, employee, boss, entrepreneur … Who am I – what do I want?
I’ve just spent 9 days at a gorgeous wellness hotel in South Tyrol with my cousin. The daily routine was yoga, Pilates, swimming, sauna, walking with step irons in the mountains, relaxing at the fireplace, and watching the sunset.
Integrating self-care is crucial to maintaining good mental and physical health!
What do you do to keep the balance?
I am a student for life. 😉

I wish you an amazing February!

Your Julia

External risks

Real estate has always had to face risks, and with trends like climate change new ones are on the horizon. On the positive side, we can see a convergence between InsurTech and PropTech. Areas of applications include making sure that all construction subcontractors have appropriate insurance and instant property insurance quotes.
 

External opportunities

The overall outlook for 2022 appears to be fairly encouraging, according to an interview with Wharton real estate and finance professor Susan M. Wachter at any rate. She expects residential real estate construction, pricing and sales to do very well, particularly for single family homes. In commercial real estate, office and retail will have to deal with challenges.
 

External opinions

Since the Metaverse is all the rage now, a lot more people are starting to look at it from a real estate investment perspective. Now the Wall Street Journal has published a video on this with examples of investors who have poured millions into virtual properties.
 

External data

While many real estate players are still busy getting to grips with their own internal data, the more advanced ones are already systematically combining it with external data like weather forecasts or social media trends. Right now, at least having a strategy in place may still count as good sign. The next area of competition, however, will likely be automatic discovery based on full integration of external data and machine learning.
 

External knowledge

Not all progress can be achieved by automatically ingesting data, however. When ConTech GBuilder considered its options for conquering the UK market, they brought valuable human expertise on board by hiring ex-Zoopla director Mark Witherspoon – who was also quick to spot a very human challenge which GBuilder can help to tackle: improving the cooperation of all building and buying stakeholders.

 

 RESEARCH 
 

The Future of PropTech VC

A new report compares venture capitalists’ investments last year with with their plans for this year. The overall number of targeted investments is increasing. For example, the percentage of investors making 11 to 15 investments per year is set to increase from 14.3% to 28.6%, while those making only 1 to 5 declines from 42.9% to 28.6%. The most overfunded area of technology seems to be CRM, whereas decarbonization solutions garner the most optimism. You can download the report here.

RECOMMENDED READING 

Real estate trends (including technology):
6 Property Management Market Trends to Look Out For in 2022

Technology trends (including PropTech):
Real estate technology trends to use in 2022

PropTech trends (including ConTech):
What’s Next For Proptech In 2022?

PropTech trends (including drones):
PropTech start-ups creating a buzz around. What will we see shortly?

Deals & Cooperations

Agave, which is working on a unified API for construction systems, has received $125K of pre-seed money.

Physical world data analytics and visualization startup Urban SDK has raised a $715K seed round.

Panelite‘s seed round amounted to $763K. It develops and supplies energy-efficient materials.

Construction management software provider Builderhead from Finland has closed a seed round of €850K.

Alquist uses 3D printing for affordable housing and has raised a $1M of seed money for this.

An even larger seed round of $2.5Mhas been announced by construction
materials marketplace SupplyHound.

Access control software provider RemoteLock has closed a $17.8Mseries B.

PlanRadar, the Austrian defect management and documentation PropTech, got a series B of €60M.

Location analytics company Placer.aihas announced a round amounting to $100M.

Building materials e-commerce platform RenoRun from Canada had a series B of $142M.

Hank, a building operations company, is being acquired by JLL for an undisclosed price.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

PhytonIQ

Agriculture currently causes 30% of climate emissions. Well-known PropTech approaches addressing this are to build with innovative materials and to save energy with smart solutions. But what about using buildings in a fundamentally different way? Welcome to the world of automated indoor farming. Have a look at PhytonIQ.

UPDATE #01/22

January 2022

Dear PropTech Community,

I wish you all a HaPpY, healthy and prosperous new year – may you find enough time in 2022 to seize the moment!

Please watch this:
Matthew McConaughey speech winning Best Actor at the 86th Oscars (2014)
Then ask yourself what your answers are
… to look up to,
… to look forward to, and
… to chase.

I look up to the beauty of nature, the amazing sky and the power of the ocean. I believe that we are all connected in this world and I am truly grateful for the opportunities life gives us!
I look forward to seeing my two teenage sons find their path, to enjoy special moments together and to continuously learn from them. They are my driver and being their mom is by far my most precious accomplishment in life.
I chase myself, I love to learn, to stretch myself and to make the world a better place.
Well, I am far from being perfect – but hey I only turned 50 years and it’s all about the path, step by step.
Surrounding myself with top-notch people is enriching.

For 2022 I will focus on being the best version of myself as a mom, including self-care, and continue to exercise and do my daily meditation rituals until that becomes a habit.
As a business leader I will improve my listening capacity, continue to promote diversity, inclusion, to coach founders and young professionals, and to highlight the importance of ESG in digital real estate!
How to become a better listener

Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark!
“ExploreDreamDiscover.” (Mark Twain)

Big virtual hug,
Your Julia 😉

 

How logistics suffers from supply chain problems

Demand for cold storage facilities is increasing – they are needed not just for groceries, but also for example for medicine. At the same time, a JLL article reports, it is getting harder to build new ones because of supply shortages of key components such as magnesium. 

 

How logistics benefits from supply chain problems

On the other hand, for products which don’t require refrigeration, unreliable supply chains cause a certain shift from just-in-time delivery to larger local inventories, which makes modern warehouses more attractive pieces of real estate. A CBRE article explains more of the background. 

 

How occupants look at technology

Do occupants even care about technology? The short answer is no, they don’t. However, they certainly do care about benefits which technology can deliver. Property week has collected more nuanced points of view from a panel of experts. 

 

How technology looks at occupants

A wide variety of technologies is being used for occupancy sensors, ranging from infrared to ultrasound and from Bluetooth to people recognition cameras. A Propmodo article provides a nice overview of 7 common kinds of such sensors.

 
 RESEARCH  

Real Estate Technology VC Report

The Center for Real Estate Technology & Innovation has released a research report summarizing the PropTech venture capital activity of 2021. Overall investment totaled $32 billion, which marks an increase of 28% over 2020 and is also slightly higher than the pre-pandemic figure of 2019. Nearly half of it (49.1%) went into residential tech companies. The construction sector received more than twice as much (18.9%) as commercial real estate did (7.6%). You can download the report.

RECOMMENDED READING 

What is the space above properties worth?
Air Rights, the Hidden Component Of Density

What were the biggest funding rounds of the year?
As housing boomed, 2021’s proptech darlings were resi solutions

What will happen to 400 million square feet of properties?
New York City Picks JLL Technologies to Lead PropTech Vetting 

Deals & Cooperations

Long-term home rental marketplaceZappyrent from Italy has successfully completed an equity crowdfunding of€900K.

Aedifion, the German startup developing tools for the cloud-based processing of operating data from building automation systems, has received a 7 figure amount in a Pre Series A round.

Occupancy counting radar technology developer Xandar Kardian has closed a $10M Series A.

California-based CREtelligent, which provides due diligence solutions, also got $10M, but as a debt financing.

Casavi, a German platform connecting residents, owners,

managers, and service providers, has announced a €20M Series B.

In China, Jitong Construction Engineering, which focuses on the maintenance and protection of underground buildings, has closed a venture round of around $54M(CN¥343M).

Properties and maintenance services management platform Lessen has received $170M in a Series B.

Vacasa, which helps to buy, manage, and sell vacation home, has raised$200M of post-IPO equity.

London-based WorkClub, which aggregates on-demand workspaces, is being acquired by Upflex. The price has not been mentioned.

 PROPTECH OF THE MONTH  

Strohboid

PropTech doesn’t always have to mean a plethora of electronic devices. It can also mean applying technology to create new kinds of building systems made of sustainable, natural and CO2-neutral materials, like the Strohboid Pavilion. Have a look!