MIPIM PropTech 2018: Unexpected value

Arnhem, June 24th. It becomes harder to talk about the built environment and real estate without talking about technology and innovation. MIPIM PropTech is focused on technology and innovation in real estate. So, let’s go on a PropTech journey!

I travelled by train and used the PropTech solution Airbnb to stay at a great place in the center of Paris. I’m really looking forward to going to Paris, because it’s my first time. Yeah, really. During my four-hour train trip I was reading two things: first of all, “Technology in the real estate sector – PropTech reduces risks and increase value” published by ING. Secondly, the book “Make real estate great again – PropTech, Real Estech, Construction Tech” written by Robin Rivaton & Vincent Pavanello, because I was going to meet them during the conference.

Pre- MIPIM PropTech @ Paris

MIPIM PropTech Europe is a two-day event where Global leaders in real estate, technology and venture capital came together to take their business to the next level and build the future of real estate. The event took place in Paris and hosted 1,500 attendees representing 47 countries. Among them, over 100 speakers discussed the potential of real estate for now and the future. The program was very diverse, so I had to make specific choices. To make my story more complete I used different sources for inspiration to give you an overview of this conference.

After I had packed up my entrance pass for the next day, I met with the PlaceTech crew to talk about the TrendTalk in Amsterdam on July 17th (At the time this blog is published, there are still 26 seats available). Reserve a seat before it’s too late). With the crew I joined the opening party at Faust near the Seine. This is a great spot to meet a lot of my PropTech friends, making new friends and shaking hands with those I’ve only virtually met before.

Day 1 – We need enterpreneurship

Rand Hindi - Mipim PropTech After a warm welcome by Sara Rozenfarb (Strategy and New Business Development Director Real Estate Division at Reed Midem), the first keynote speech ‘Making technology disappear’ was given by Rand Hindi, the 35-year-old founder of Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup Snips. Hindi expects AI to become invisible, operating without fanfare, much like electricity. But until then, he admits the technology can be threatening and kind of creepy. The future of AI will liberate people from technology, Hindi hopes. The real promise of technology is having all the advantages of being hyper-connected without feeling connected yourself.

After Rand Hindi’s talk I joined the panel interview about “Real Estate organizations, adapting to a fast-moving environment”. During this interview, the two different worlds of confirmed real estate companies and the newcomers were discussed. These two different cultures meet each other in search of value creation. Navigating between these two cultures and seeking new value creation brings many challenges.

Panel interview - Mipim PropTechDelivering a real estate asset in time and simultaneously experimenting with new PropTech solutions to add value. Which skills and talents do you deploy at what specific moment? Diversity is needed to master the future. Another interesting topic was the question: Can we develop a new business model – instead of price per square meters – for productivity in relation to real estate (can we hack this question?). Technology is there. We need entrepreneurship!

“Often, experience is the main driving force for what we want to do, but it may be overvalued. In talent, we look for openness for change, careers in different areas and motivation more and more.” –Coen van Oostrom, CEO of Edge Technologies

In the evening, there were planned several dinners and we’ve had the opportunity to have some drinks at the newest WeWork location in Paris on The Champs Élysées. I was invited by Sociëteit Vastgoed for a dinner at L’Avenue, a beautiful place with great food and interesting people.

Day 2– A brief (hack) history of PropTech and two winners

On day two, Roma Agrawal (structural engineer and author of Built: The hidden stories behind our structures) taught us a PropTech history lesson reminding us that creative Roma Agrawal - Mipim Propthinkers – like Elisha Otis, Joseph Bazalgette, Henry Bessemer – have been working on built environment challenges. Roma reminded us that the possibilities are limited only by our imaginations.

“The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations — for whatever we can dream up, engineers can make real.” -Roma Agrawal

On day two, I alsohad several appointments with PropTech leaders planned and missed an impressive talk by Jamie Woodruff. Jamie is one of Europe’s top Ethical Hackers and gave a live hacking demonstration. He showed us how easy it is to break into ‘smart devices’, in this case a video camera on a nuclear test site. He warned that people are the weakest link and not hardware or software. Employees must be trained in a security protocol.

Sensorberg and Spaceti – both smart building solutions – won the MIPIM PropTech Startup Competition and got to the final round of competition at the MIPIM Cannes event in March. Are you interested to attend? The next event takes place in New York City on November 6th.

Innovation opportunities and challenges

During the event, representatives from different European countries – like UK, DACH, France, Nordics and the Netherlands –  provided presentations in which they answered a number of questions drawn up by the Reed MIPM organization. I was hoping for comparisons. Unfortunately, the representatives interpreted these questions differently.

German startup ecosystem - Mipim PropTechYou will not be surprised that the number of PropTech startups has increased in recent years, everybody shared it. In general, most of the PropTech solutions are focused on improving processes (less product innovation and more less new business models) and overall the vast majority of startups have B2B solutions. Germany is managing supply and demand on the residential market, the number 1 of the total number of startups. Number two: management of real estate. There also were names of scale-ups shared such as: Nested, Yopa, Habito, eMoov, Aproplan, Cubigo and Proxyclick.

PropTech will impact a lot of different things: Openness and effectiveness; More transparency, insights and value; New ways of working by automation of tasks; More user centric and services and sustainability. What are the main challenges they face? Empathy, organization adoption of technology, overchoice of startups, access to corporate real estate players, sales (of the first projects because ‘no one’ wants to be the first customer) and corporates not necessarily recognizing the need to change. There also are a lot of opportunities like: being a test lab country (Finland). Support by the government and accelerators like PiLabs or Blackprint Booster, and the real estate industry is opening.

Our PropTech journey has just begun

Cheers - Mipim PropTechI am satisfied with this edition of Mipim PropTech Europe, it provided unexpected value! Three years ago, PropTech was very fancy. Now it’s getting more mature. But it’s still the beginning… Looking forward to the next European edition. Feel free to share your thoughts and/or insights of MIPIM PropTech Europe in the comments.

Author: Menno Lamers / Founder of PropTechNL

PropTechNL helps leaders – active in the built environment – to take their business case to the next level, so that they are PropTech-proof and remain valuable in the future. We facilitate this transformation process by making connections with social issues, built environment and technology. This enables the leaders, individually and as a group, to discover, learn and grow. That’s how ProptechNL fulfills a pioneering role for the future of real estate.

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