Ok ok, I might be a bit of an exaggerator with this one but honestly not too far off. Allen Buchanan is a great friend of mine and one of the first people I met in the CRE tech sector. And he isn’t even in the tech sector!!!
I am definitely not new to the event scene, but new to running a company that puts on conferences. My team is far more experienced than I am in the event business having come from some of the biggest event and media platforms in the space.
One of the most impressive startups I have had the pleasure of meeting is NavigatorCRE. For several reasons actually. The first being the Founders… seasoned real estate and tech entrepreneurs who took their own pain points in the industry and are solving it with their site.
I have been blessed to have many so many wonderful connections in my 30+ years in the real estate industry. These relationships have been the foundation of everything I have tried to in the sector from initially building my public relations firm into one of the largest in the country to now building CRE // Tech into the premier events, connectivity and content platform in the real estate tech sector.
While I typically like to write about commercial real estate tech in this blog, sometimes I just like to write about my experiences and observations in business. My new journey running several startups in the CRE tech space has really taught me a lot about myself, running a business and more specifically, my observations about the tech sector in general.
I spend a lot of time with VC’s in the CRE tech space. I find it to be an incredibly effective way to not only learn about how, what and why they invest, but to get a true pulse on the CRE tech sector. I am blessed to have relationships with most of the top VC’s in the CRE space and we regularly chat about the market in general and specific startups.
When I first got started in the commercial real estate tech sector in 2011, the industry felt kinda like a ghost town. When you met someone in the sector, it was like a surprise meeting... ”Wow cool, you’re in this business too?!?!”.
In my thirty years in the commercial real estate industry, on the PR, media and tech sides, I got to know many many landlords. They were my clients, my investors and my friends. I think I understood the mentality of a building owner as well as anyone given my vantage point, having represented literally hundreds of them from local niche players to national REITS.
I am back from a week in Los Angeles and I’m still buzzing from all of the excitement. L.A. is a city that’s bustling with energy coming from the media, arts and entertainment sectors, massive amounts of new development and a thriving tech scene. And now, it’s really becoming a hotbed of commercial real estate tech activity. I spent the week meeting with many exciting startups and entrepreneurs and the culmination was our annual CRE // Tech event in L.A. My head is STILL spinning!!!
I actually began my PR career representing home builders. It was the late 1980’s and that was the only big game in town if you wanted to be where the action and money were. It wasn't until the mid-nineties that commercial real estate really became a thriving sector for many of us on the services side.
There isn’t an industry on earth today that isn’t being impacted by technology. And the legal industry won’t be immune either. It’s only a matter of time before the commercial real estate industry gets fundamentally disrupted (hate that word) by technology as well. I have been saying this over and over and over again and it’s the reason why we acquired CRE // Tech as a way to help the real estate industry begin to embrace tech and not be threatened or challenged by it.
I have always been fascinated with Uber. I’ve been a long time customer and been following their company’s progress literally from day one. As the CEO of a growing startup myself, I have always been obsessed with understanding the “network effect” of how companies like Uber (platforms) grow so fast and scale.
This is the third of a series of blog posts on a topic that has always interested me… startups and investors.It’s such an interesting dynamic, probably unlike any other in the business world. They both need each other. But often the money part is the least important. Just follow the recent Uber news about the struggles of their Board and Founder and you will see how things can turn out if the goals between investors and Founders aren’t aligned.
There are a lot of really smart, successful investment professionals in the CRE space. I have been blessed to have met many of them and work with them on a daily basis. When I met Brad Greiwe and Brendan Wallace, Co-Founders of Fifth Wall, I knew that the CRE tech sector had reached a critical milestone.
Having built one company from scratch previously, I thought I knew some of the most important things about building a company… Things like hard work, customer service, innovation, cash flow, grit, planning, etc. All of the core elements that make a company successful.
A big shout out to my friend Tyler Buck of Originate, one of the smartest, well connected and most knowledgeable people I know in the tech world. What makes Tyler so good is the quality of people he surrounds himself with.
As a follow up to my blog last week about how I personally think Hustle is the key ingredient you want to look for in a Founder of a startup, I asked the best real estate tech investors I know what they look for in evaluating an entrepreneur who is raising money. Of course, it's never as simple as just looking for "one thing", and almost all of these professionals do tremendous due diligence on every deal, but what I was most curious about were the intangibles.