Proptech takes MIPIM by storm

Five years ago, ‘proptech’ was not discussed at any MIPIM panel but this year, the industry game-changer managed to pack a room even during lunch time on a perfect Cannes day. The key takeaway of the session was that integration between management systems and devices is crucial, startup companies should focus on creating solutions to real problems and proptech is a part of the technology revolution. Moderated by Julia Arlt, Innovation Real Estate Director at PwC Europe and StartUp Mentor at MetaProp NYC, the panelists were asked what proptech means to them and what it means for the real estate industry.

Tomasz Trzósło, Managing Director at JLL Poland, said there are various technologies available that make businesses more profitable and productive, but these systems usually do not work together. The biggest milestone will be when these technologies will be integrated into one to allow for easier management of multiple buildings. In response to Trzósło, Erik Fossum Faerevaag, CEO of Disruptive Technologies, said building managers have different products which require dashboards, hardware and drivers, but they are beginning to use virtual value chains which can allow for integration in the future.

The reason for the lack of integration currently, Bartosz Dobrowolski, Founder of Proptech Poland explained, is because manufacturers of these systems protect their application programming interfaces (APIs) – just as banks did before the fintech boom. Proptech startups should be wary, however, of creating a technology that solve no problem, partially because companies don’t communicate what those problems are, claimed Dobrowolski.

In order to understand the real estate industry, the German company EVANA creates digital data models based on artificial intelligence and algorithms. Its co-founder, Sascha M. Donner, stated that proptechs are moving fast and have provided new ideas for the industry over the last few years but there needs to be a holistic and integrated approach to technology in the industry.

Investors are looking at proptech from different perspectives, said Aaron Block, co-founder and managing director at MetaProp in New York City. They look at the cultural evolution of companies, vendors and clients and need to be ahead of the game because they’re afraid of “functional obsolescence”. Entrepreneurs invest when it’s good to buy low and sell high, he claimed, so “if you believe that this industry is going in the same direction that financial services went, it’s a very good time to be investing in proptech.”

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Photos: Eric Megret

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