Commercial Real Estate Embraces Technology

Real Estate start ups are receiving more funds to improve technology in the Commercial Real Estate Industry. Commercial Real Estate companies are eager to adopt new technology or create their own to advance in the industry. Some of the technology trends include Big Data, Drones, and 3-D environments. 

By Administrator of Zoliath 

In the past six weeks, four real estate startups received more than $18 million combined to improve technology, especially in the commercial sector. The Wall Street Journal reported that the companies are View the Space, Honest Buildings, Floored and Hightower.

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"These deals are not large yet, but it's indicative that the center is very likely to be in New York for this intersection of commercial real estate and technology," Susan Wachter, a real estate and finance professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said to the news source.

The New York startup firms are capitalizing on the commercial real estate companies' relative reluctance to adopt new technology or seek to develop their own.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in the first nine months of 2013, venture capital investment in such firms was $11.62 million, but in 2012 as a whole, it was just $5.4 million. In 2011, $27 million was raised, so the industry is working to on a "two-year surge," the source said, and technology has changed a lot in that time, so the startups have a lot of innovation to capitalize on.

Big Apple innovation
View the Space raised $7 million from Trinity Venture to track and analyze leasing data for landlords and brokers in real time. Honest Buildings got $4 million for its planned online marketplace matching that will pair building services with property owners. With the $5.3 million that Floored raised, it will develop a technology to allow developers to create photographic, 3-D tours of spaces to put online. Finally, Hightower secured $2.1 million to develop mobile and cloud services to track and analyze leasing data in real time.

Some of the developers from these startups have experience ranging from straight technology companies to having held technology positions at real estate firms like Zillow, which means all eyes are on them to see what they develop for the industry.

"You need to understand real estate to have an offering that people want to buy," Stuart Ellman, managing partner and co-founder of RRE Ventures, an investor in Floored and Hightower, said to the Journal. "More and more people managing properties are becoming interested in using technology, but only where they have a real business case for it."

An Inman News columnist recently listed the top 10 commercial real estate technology trends that could make a splash this year, including:

  1. Big data
  2. "Internet of Things"
  3. Wearable technology
  4. Drones
  5. 3-D environments
  6. Maker movement
  7. App store optimization
  8. Beacon-based sensors
  9. Mobile video
  10. Bring your own device

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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