The European proptech venture capital firm’s pilot ‘PropTech Connect’ panel brought together some of the key players across the real estate ecosystem to discuss ‘scaling’.
Access to information, open communication and barriers to innovation within the traditional real estate industry emerged as core themes.
At a company level, Tushar Agarwal, co-founder of London’s largest marketplace for office space HubbleHQ, found existing processes and communication channels stopped working as his organisation started expanding rapidly.
“To solve this, we transitioned into cross-functional teams – mini – start-ups – within the company, which can act autonomously to achieve their goals. It had a transformative effect on our growth.”
The conservative nature of the real estate industry requires a high level of trust to be built between the innovators and the traditional players.
“Even though Knotel’s product is for enterprise customers, we started with high growth tech companies. As early adopters, they gave us the proof points needed to work with bigger clients and helped us gain trust to show we can deliver” added Chris Namih, head of European Expansion at Knotel, a flexible workspace platform.
Tripty Arya, co-founder at Travtus, an AI property management platform, added that scalability is a problem that should be leveraging technology for solutions and not just adding head counts to the company.
“Through our research in applying Machine Learning and Automation to the industry operations, we recognised being a large construction company with 100s of employees was itself a barrier to scale. We needed a transformation, rather than look for productivity.”
“A founder must learn how to delegate tasks accordingly when scaling,” agreed Miroslav Miroslavov, co-founder of coworking management software OfficeRnD.
The panel agreed that whilst the fragmented nature of the real estate industry and the slower pace in adoption of new technologies makes it difficult for a proptech solution to be scaled uniformly and at large – there is a huge amount of momentum behind the digital transformation of real estate, which will create billion-dollar business in the sector.
“Open communication between the different stakeholders within the real estate ecosystem is key to growth. Due to the unique structure of our firm, we have been able to translate innovation to a language both start-ups and real estate operators can speak,” said Arnie Sriskandarajah, managing director of Round Hill Ventures.
He added: “Europe’s real estate ecosystem is very fragmented and the regulations, ownership structures and characteristics vary from country to country. Our presence across multiple European cities enables us to help our portfolio companies with local connections and knowledge when expanding to new markets.”
‘Proptech Connect’ will aim to be the forum which will bridge the knowledge gap where each month proptech founders, corporate players, investor and public sector actors can gather to exchange insights and make meaningful connections. The inaugural edition was in partnership with proptech specialist recruitment firm LMRE.
Round Hill Ventures invests in the businesses that reshape the built environment through technology. Incubated within multinational real estate investment firm Round Hill Capital, the fund is positioned to drive collaboration between the lead actors in the real estate ecosystem, including some of the most innovative start-ups, largest traditional real estate operators and public sector bodies.