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.
As someone who has been promoting, writing about, speaking about, and connecting with everyone and anyone I can all in commercial real estate tech since 2011, I can tell you that it has been a grind.
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.
Wow! What a year in CRE tech. Many amazing things happened. Challenges remain for many. Opportunities for all. That’s kinda how I see things, always.
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.
Fifth Wall and Rudin Management are household names in their respective businesses. Fifth Wall, the largest real estate focused VC. Rudin, one of NYC’s most respected, largest and active developers. But, what do they have in common? They are partners in Fifth Wall and both companies obviously are passionate about technology.
While I am newbie in the tech world, I have worked really hard to immerse myself in the startup culture. And while my niche and community is in the commercial real estate sector which is a very young tech industry, I think I have a good handle on the way things work in tech.
Michael Bull is the real deal! I have long been an admirer and follower of all of his amazing Content Marketing. When people ask me for examples of how to use Content Marketing to building their business, I always respond by saying, “Check out Michael Bull!”
I am personally a big fan of Dreamit! The real estate industry is really fortunate to have such an amazing platform to help to incubate, mentor and scale early stage startups. And the world-class team of professionals behind this Accelerator are some of the most accomplished investors in the world.
I am a big fan of Anthony Dominguez, AtlasX CEO. He is exactly the type of entrepreneur that we need to be attracting and investing in within the commercial real estate sector. He spent his career in commercial real estate and then saw a big opportunity on the tech side and made the leap. We need more people thinking and acting like that!
I read a fascinating article this week about how the big five (Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) are dominating the world of tech. Obviously, it wasn’t always this way.
Thanks to my good friend Turner Levison of CommissionTrac, I had the great pleasure of recently connecting with Matt Knight of a new venture fund called Shadow Ventures based in Atlanta. Several things that really stood out when I spoke to Matt, who is a Principal at the company.
I am blessed that I largely self-funded my own site and was able to raise money from an amazing network of friends in the real estate sector. I also know that most startups don’t start that way and early stage funding is critical to their survival.