This week HiP had the pleasure to be invited to speak on a panel about Proptech, hosted by Blake Morgan. This reminded us about the wealth of Proptech talent to be found in London across all areas of the sector as well as definitions of what Proptech is and what next.
The panelists were:
- Russell Gould, of Vesta Property a marketplace to buy rental properties
- Angelica Donati of Concrete.vc as well as Forbes
- Euan Mitchell of Blake Morgan a UK law firm operating at many levels in many sectors
- And our very own Sam Collett, Co-Founder of HiP.
Among the subjects discussed were what we saw as the future in Proptech over the near to mid term as well as future problems. Questions from the floor dealt with privacy issues around IoT and other technologies as well as planning, Brexit (of course), legal structures… and faxes.
Smart as the next big thing?
Angelica in particular was discussing “smart” as the next big keyword in proptech, coming hotly on the heels of Blockchain and AI. As a respected journalist and investor, she of course is correct, but this got us thinking. Smart technology here means “internet of things-driven automation, data analytics and products that enable operational management efficiency across uses and asset classes.” So essentially this is a new name for what is already coming down the track. New technologies always have their flavour of the month – smart seems a very sensible grouping of all sorts of technologies, including AI, blockchain, IoT, and, well, us.
The definition of PropTech?
HiP sits somewhere between Fintech (Financial technology) and Proptech (Property technology). We feel more at home amongst our proptech peers. But definitions are important. Russell stated that Purple Bricks should not be considered proptech, while Sam and Angelica proposed that WeWork’s massive rise should not be counted in proptech investment stats. Build-to-rent, it was decided, is somewhere in between – the buildings are often full of technology, but only a fraction of the properties built do. The truth of the matter is that new definitions, especially that of new ‘sectors’, are always fluid.
London as Proptech central?
Panels and events never cease to remind us of the wealth of new ideas and talent in our industry, especially in our city. But also how much of the real estate industry has yet to change. In Sam’s words, “No other industry still uses faxes”. At every level of the property industry, there is a startup looking at improvement and disruption. And this in turn makes it difficult for investors to find the next best thing or even find the unique startup. From surveillance, to efficiency of usage, to building technology, to wiring, energy efficiency, and everything in between – Real Estate industry, change is coming.
Images are sourced from Blake Morgan via Linkedin.