It’s clear there is real momentum in the CREtech and PropTech sector. Whatever you call it (many different terms used in different parts of the world), we are experiencing a global movement of the intersection of tech and real estate.
There is very little information about the genetic makeup of the commercial real estate brokerage sector. But thanks to leaders like Linda Day Harrison of theBrokerList and Ewa Baska and Troy Fedder, both of Buildout, they are helping us get to get a deeper understanding of some of the habits of commercial real estate brokers with a newly added “Marketers Edition.
Retail was disrupted by Amazon. Media was disrupted by Facebook. Auto was disrupted by Uber. Hotels were disrupted by AirBnB. Healthcare will be profoundly disrupted by companies like Google. And now banking is potentially being disrupted by CryptoCurrency.
Namely, that I think one of the biggest trends in CRE tech is going to be that the brokerage firms will all begin to compete very aggressively on who can invest the most in tech and, as a result, differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
Some of the most successful startups and entrepreneurs go places most of us would never have thought of. Or they simply go in directions where others are either too afraid to go or where we see a large amount of potential headaches.
When I was coming up in the world of commercial real estate in the late 1980s, there were a few names that were simply the gold standard that everyone in the industry followed and tried to emulate. Trammel Crow, Mack Pogue, Gerald Hines, Mort Zuckerman and a few others. In particular, Hines was just stunning.
One of the reasons why the commercial real estate tech sector trails the residential sector in attracting investment is the lack of startup exits. There just haven’t been too many. And it totally makes sense. It’s a young sector, as the commercial real estate industry is just now embracing technology.
I have been fascinated with robots for some time. And in particular, how they will impact jobs in the future. I often think about what jobs will be lost when my young kids enter the workforce. I think about their impact on professions like truckers, cashiers and even office workers.
On December 7th we announced our annual #RETAS (Real Estate Tech Awards) winners at our CRE // Tech New York event to a standing room only crowd of 670 commercial real estate professionals. What’s so unique about these awards is that rather than us judge who we think the best startups and entrepreneurs are (which would seem a bit impartial and potentially biased), we let the industry decide.
Michael Mandel was one of the first guys I met in CRE Tech about five years ago. First impression… he was smart, had a vision and new the space. But you really never know if someone has the “chops” to succeed in being an entrepreneur until they get tested. A lot.
WOW! I am still catching my breath from one of the most extraordinary days in my long, long career. Truly breathtaking. Almost 700 people! No bullshit, no hype. People came from all over the country. From Europe and Asia. We had the CTO’s of the five largest brokerage firms on one stage.
When I was running my PR firm for over twenty-five years, our niche was mostly office and multifamily real estate. We had some big clients in the retail space, but it wasn’t a huge part of our business. But as the concept of mixed-use really started to take off in the 2000’s, more and more of my clients were paying attention to retail trends and, as a result, getting involved with ICSC.
One of the dangers for all of us in the CRE tech space is that, for the most part, we live in a bubble. Our own bubble. As founders and entrepreneurs, we talk mostly to each other. We attend events with people inside the sector. We read content that is mostly focused on our tribe’s news.