In early December, one of our team members attended the Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars held in Toronto to witness the latest thought leadership in proptech. We partnered with propmodo.com to publish a recap of this event. Visit the original article here or simply read on to learn more about how the program’s innovative startups focused on using proptech to create operational efficiencies.
These innovative demonstrations are exactly why the accelerator was created –– to address 21st-century challenges in the commercial real estate industry through the use of technology. Colliers International chose to partner with TechStars as part of their strategic venture strategy in order to leverage Techstars’ unique global network of mentors and resources in combination with Colliers’ real estate expertise to ensure the best chance of success for the participating companies.
Dylan Taylor, President & COO, Colliers International put it this way in his speech during the event, “When we look to the future, we know that how we embrace technology will increasingly be the key to our growth and differentiation amongst our peers. We also believe that these advancements will enable our experts to deliver smarter, more personalized services, that can help make a difference for our clients.”
Colliers championed this program in an effort to find technology solutions with immediate and long-term benefits for the industry. Attendees included investors and leaders in proptech who share the vision that innovation is key to remaining competitive in the real estate industry and hoped to get a glimpse of the latest solutions for driving critical improvements in the industry. Here is my take on what they found; this class of entrepreneurs set their collective sights on diminishing operational inefficiencies and maximizing asset value for commercial real estate companies. This hard-to-ignore trend relies heavily on finding new ways to use data to untap these increased cost savings and new revenue opportunities.
So, for owners, asset managers, and developers, how exactly can these data-powered proptech solutions maximize the value of your commercial real estate properties? The accelerator graduates responded with their unique spin on cost savings and new revenue generation in one of three core product areas: building and experience management platforms, marketplaces and aggregators, and data platforms.
The 10 companies in the program can be sorted into three general categories:
Building and experience management platforms
Marketplaces and aggregators
They can also be split into two distinct and important use cases: identifying cost savings and finding new revenue:
Identifying cost savings
- Basking: Improving building efficiency is a key method of reducing operational costs. Basking is helping asset managers do so by combining Wi-Fi data, HVAC data, sensor data, and more to identify occupancy trends and space utilization rates and minimize energy consumption.
- Raybased: Avoiding emergency repairs is another key part of keeping operational costs to a minimum. According to Raybased, “A pre-emptive fix can be 10x cheaper than an emergency repair.” Raybased monitors: temperature, humidity, light intensity, air quality, motion, and energy used, and their focus is on buildings over 50 years old.
- MapYourProperty: For developers, navigating regulations and documentation can be a massive resource sink. MapYourProperty looks to address this by accelerating due diligence and centralizing all of the information developers need, saving time and money during the planning process.
- Lane: Retaining tenants helps building managers avoid lost rental income and refurbishment costs when tenants leave. Lane is looking to improve retention rates by offering services and amenities, creating community, and providing better experience to tenants.
Finding new revenue
- MapYourProperty: Undervalued development opportunities are like hidden gems for investors. Along with the due diligence benefits that MapYourProperty offers, the right combination of property data points can triangulate these hidden gems in ways that traditional services might not offer.
- A Retail Space: Location is key for retail. A Retail Space aims to help retail businesses find the optimal space for their stores by matching target customer personas with detailed demographic information about an area’s foot traffic.
- Upsuite: Reducing the turnover and vacancy rates in coworking spaces increases your investment’s productivity. By offering platforms for customers to find the perfect space, Upsuite is working with the traditional coworking model and providing spaces at convenient monthly rates.
- Booqed: Also offering a coworking platform to reduce the wasted opportunity cost of vacancies, Booqed is working to maximize occupancy with the micro-bookings of hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly.
- SPCE: The third online booking platform, SPCE is working on the same problems as Booqed and Upsuite but for student housing.
All of these startups are working on existing problems and leveraging emerging technologies to achieve more than what has been previously available — in largely green markets primed for disruption. This seems like a smart move given the relatively low adoption of these services to date. For perspective, the companies above outlined their addressable markets, ranging from $14b to $300b, with building counts in the millions and square-footage counts in the billions. I commend this season’s Techstars Colliers Accelerator class on recognizing new opportunities in commercial real estate by approaching existing problems with a new perspective and adding new layers of data.