Real estate leaders discuss data at PropTech forum

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 23 January 2020


UK: Leaders from real estate, technology and government discussed data at Round Hill Ventures' latest PropTech Connect session in London.

The venture capital firm is hosting monthly forums "to bridge the knowledge gap between the property and technology sectors to enable future innovation".

Data collection and sharing, as well as the need for standardisation to enable future innovation were some of the key themes which emerged. The panel agreed the fragmentation of the real estate industry has slowed down the adoption of new technologies, although noted a broad move away from operating in data silos.

Avinav Nigam, co-Founder and COO of IMMO Investments, a real estate fintech startup with close to £65 million in capital raised, has noted a clear shift from a bottom-up to a top-down approach, where data is becoming core to a company's strategy: "Decades of human subjectivity and gut instinct, are rapidly being replaced with precise machine learning led investments. The change in the residential sector alone, where 'real property prices' are now determined by non-traditional data sources like macroeconomic, geospatial and condition of assets, is making it impossible for large developers and organisations to stay competitive and giving rise to a new breed of technology businesses."

The audience, which featured proptech startups including HqO, Proda and Plentific, discovered how willing the public sector is to engage with innovators.

Paul Maltby, chief digital officer at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, shared more on the government’s plans to simplify access to data and digitise current processes: “The government is focused on helping people to buy and rent, and the UK's PropTech sector is clearly well positioned to play a growing role in making this happen in ever more innovative ways."

From a start-up perspective, Khalid Fakhar, chief scientist at SenSat, a company using AI to create digital representations of real-world locations, suggested the way forward is adaptability: "Startups are extremely fast paced environment. They are built to revolutionise industries, but they do it very efficiently in short bursts. It is extremely important that everyone on board, staff or clients, are ready to embrace failures as much as the wins."

This was echoed by Prasanna Kannan of Native Finance, who offered insights of best practices from the finance industry.

CBRE’s EMEA solutions director Weronika Holt concluded that over the next five years, the real estate industry will see “a bigger emphasis on sustainability, in the way we build, manage and use buildings, ensuring they are energy efficient and that the waste we create building and using buildings will be reduced".

"PropTech Connect shows the change digitisation brings to the real estate industry - the need and desire for an open communication between the key stakeholders and decision makers involved. This is what will foster future progress and it’s great to be a leading force in this process,” – said Tzvete Doncheva, who looks after ecosystem at the VC.

Round Hill Ventures was incubated within global specialist real estate investment, development and asset management firm Round Hill Capital in 2016 to capture the value created by technological innovation in the built environment.



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