Plugging “proptech” and “commercial real estate” into Google brings up a plethora of headlines with one theme: Namely, 2019 will be the year in which technology developed for the property market — proptech — disrupts the industry. While this statement is compelling, the truth is that proptech companies have been around for a while, and are assisting CRE personnel in everything from streamlining operations, to saving costs, to boosting portfolio revenues.
What follows, in alphabetical order, are 10 fascinating proptech companies, which were recognized at CRETech’s 2018 Real Estate Tech Awards (RETAS). Whether they are disrupting CRE remains to be seen. They are, however, addressing key issues and reducing challenges inherent in the industry.
1. Abstract Tokenization
This wouldn’t be a proptech article without mention of blockchain. Abstract Tokenization took first place in the RETAS Awards. The company is developing an end-to-end CRE tokenization and funding platform to provide a safe, secure and fast real estate investment structure. Abstract is also focused on developing Tokenization as a Service — TaaS — model, as well as compliance, due diligence, record-keeping and trading features.
2. Bowery USA
Audience: Appraisers, brokers
Real estate appraisal is a paperwork-heavy, time-constraining and often frustrating part of the industry. A successful appraisal process relies on finding data in disparate places, analyzing that information, then developing a focused report. Bowery USA cuts through the clutter and paperwork by integrating public information and other intel, offering a virtual, mobile inspection, and creating reports quickly. CRETech named Bowery USA first in the Transaction and Underwriting category for a reason: It takes what is typically a three-week process, and boils it down to less than half the time, while still providing the necessary information for a spot-on appraisal.
Audience: Property owners, investors, brokers
Cherre bills itself as a real estate data network, complete with a platform that provides enough data and analysis, to allow those in the industry to get more done, faster. Winning first place in the RETAS’ Artificial Intelligence category, Cherre offers two solutions. Core Workflow offers documents, along with asset analysis and pricing, as well as market information. Core Data offers real-time data and insights about CRE, demographics, transportation and other intel. It’s Big Data, but packaged in a format that is easy to handle.
Audience: Brokers, property owners, property managers, investors, appraisers
Compstack took second place in the RETAS Artificial Intelligence category, while snagging top spot in the area of Research & Analytics. This company crowdsources the data from deal-making professionals, quality-checks it with expert analysts, then packages it to assist subscribers who are involved with leases, sales and other CRE activities. Data includes: lease types, landlords and tenants, building types, lease and sale dates, and more.
CrowdStreet has been around for a while — since 2013 — but is still considered among the top provider of online commercial real estate investment offerings and technology. CRETech remains impressed: It honored the company with first place in the Crowdfunding & Capital Sourcing category. The company sources deals from third-party sponsors, then makes them available on its own site, all without charging a fee. Longevity and quality continue to keep this company in the number-one category for real estate volume and variety.
Audience: Property owners, property managers
The proptech industry is filled with companies that offer “smart” buildings with the latest data. However, Enertiv (which CRETech awarded first in the Smart Buildings category) focuses on a lower-cost strategy to capture high-quality data. The company’s competitive advantage is a building’s operation platform, consisting of a collection of data-driven tools that streamline processes necessary for the smooth functioning of a building. Additional solutions such as Enertiv 360, Enertiv AI and Enertiv ATB help focus on a building’s critical functions, while ensuring tenants remain comfortable.
Audience: Property owners, property managers, asset managers, brokers
Headquarters Optimized — HqO for short — is focused on the tenant. It also won first place in CRETech’s Operations & Administration category. Specifically, through its proprietary SaaS TeX software, HqO works with landlords and property owners to help strengthen tenant communities by directing them toward ideal amenities and property utilities. Meanwhile, the software also generates data to help landlords and owners better understand property differentiation and tenant behaviors and satisfaction.
8. Honest Buildings
Audience: Developers, property owners
Honest Buildings, honored with RETAS’ top award in the Construction category, offers a proprietary project management platform that helps ensure that capital and construction projects are delivered on time, and on budget. The platform is developed specifically with CRE owners and developers in mind, meaning that processes work in tandem with industry standards. The information is presented to users through a user-friendly interface, which helps centralize data, while digitizing documentation and approvals, thus cutting down on paperwork and time. The technology also means users can automate bid-leveling and build bids from a template library, again, saving administrative time.
Audience: Small- to medium-size tenants
CRETech honored this company twice: As top Tech-Enhanced Brokerage and top Listing Marketplace. Small-to-medium-size business owners can struggle when it comes to finding the ideal space from which to commence operations. Enter Truss, which helps those owners find the right space, in the right location at the right time. When a potential tenant plugs into the website, he or she can find the space, take a virtual tour, compare rates, and even sign and manage leases digitally. Truss currently operates in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Washington, DC.
Audience: Property owners, property managers, brokers
VTS is another proptech company that has been around for a while, and is still going strong. RETAS awarded the company first place in the CRM & Marketing category for its platform, speed and capabilities. Property owners have relied on VTS to help streamline leasing and asset management processes, which, in turn, helps ensure that the right tenants are on board, and remain. Brokers rely on the platform to better manage their deal pipeline, and to fill empty spaces with tenants more quickly. The overall goal is to optimize both property and performance revenue, to help make better decisions.