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.
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.
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.
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.
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.