With nearly 8,000 companies offering technology-focused solutions across the built environment globally – an increase of over 300% in the last 10 years – the ‘proptech’ scene, as it’s come to be known, is booming. In the first half of 2021 alone, the sector attracted more than $9.7 billion in funding, highlighting confidence in the increasing adoption of technology across the real estate lifecycle.
As the proptech sector has grown, so too has the ecosystem which serves it, from investors, to consultants, to lawyers to recruiters. We asked representatives from all four professions specialising in the proptech market, how they’ve seen the industry grow and demand for their services increase.
Adam Malik, Co-Founder of strategy and communications firm, Bloxspring
“Proptech is going through a period of real maturity. Gone are the days people ask ‘prop what?’, to discussing how the lines are blurring between fintech, contech and climate tech.
The space has been through tremendous change with many startups having had to make difficult choices to pivot, adapt or sadly close down over the past couple of years. We now see the conversations shifting from hope and resilience, to new market expansion, fundraising and product launches. The thirst for knowledge and openness to change has remained a constant theme.
Most commonly we hear founders complain they previously had open space but now find competitors peering over their shoulders, wanting a slice of their pie. If they didn’t need to stand out before, they do now, especially with stakes raised. The companies with the right proposition, framed in the right way see the fruits of this early investment. For the others, there’s just a lot of head scratching.”
Kingma Ma, Head of UK at PROPTECH1
“When I started working in the PropTech and venture capital ecosystem in 2018, I felt that there was little understanding of what technology and digitalisation could mean for the traditional real estate industry. Three to four years later, there are innovation associates and directors at almost every publicly listed real estate company, who are doing a fantastic job of being a knowledgeable entry point for PropTech companies to engage with the industry. Now digitalisation and sustainability are the hottest topics talked about by CEOs and MDs at industry events.
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From our perspective, we’re delighted that the PropTech1 investor family continues to grow with real estate investors joining from different countries and aspects of the value chain. And we’ve announced our investments number 10 and 11 in 2021 so far: Desana and Kollabo, which are making a big impact on the office sector and construction sectors respectively. So I certainly see a huge momentum for PropTech.”
Jonathan Mills, Associate Director at Osborne Clarke LLP
“Functional technology and its application to the built environment is seen as key to efficient and sustainable growth in the real estate market. From my perspective, understanding the law is a given but being able to apply that in practical terms, understandable to both proptech and real estate companies, is key to providing an effective service. It is also no longer just real estate, venture capital and commercial / technology lawyers that are involved, but our colleagues involved in energy, sustainability and ESG now have a key role too.
Over the past 12 months proptech companies have really pushed on with (and in some cases reinvigorated) their international expansion plans. Companies are also not just looking at the UK, which would traditionally have been the cases, but also mainland Europe to cities such as Berlin where the adoption of technology is commonplace. We see this as a sign of confidence and growth in the sector.”
James Gershfield, Head of UK PropTech, VC & RE Investment at LMRE
“The demand for top talent in the PropTech space is extremely high right now. As a global PropTech recruitment business, LMRE help startups grow their teams internationally across all verticals including sales, business development, account management, customer success, marketing and product.
Sourcing for candidates who have the right skills and experience within a timely manner who also compliment the company’s culture is the biggest challenge for a recruitment business but here at LMRE we have a team of both Real Estate and Technology professionals who are able to deliver best in class talent to aid our clients’ growth. We not only understand our clients’ goals, but more importantly we consultant to businesses on what ‘top talent’ looks like and advise on the type of individual who can accelerate their growth.
In a recent poll, 76% of senior hiring managers admitted that they hired the wrong candidate for a role when not using a specialist recruiter.
In the UK, there is a high demand for Senior candidates who can lead a company’s expansion into a new territory. Several of our existing clients from the US, EU and APAC are now expanding their teams into the UK and they utilise our experience within this space to deliver the right individuals who will help them achieve the expansion goals.”