Singapore proptech accelerator will help boost the adoption of next generation technology in the real estate industry. Source: Shutterstock

Changing the real estate game with proptech accelerators

REAL estate technology, also known as proptech, has been gaining momentum in the past year.

In fact, financial technology consultants FinTech Global saw a surge in proptech investments in Q4 of 2017. It was mostly driven by major deals taking place in China.

A KPMG report observed that the real estate sector widely recognized the potential of proptech. However, the property industry remains slow to adopt the technology in practice.

In efforts to increase proptech adoption, real estate companies JLL and Lendlease are partnering in an accelerator program in Singapore to drive change in the industry.

Globally, there are several proptech accelerators, such as the Colliers Proptech Accelerator in Canada, the Charter Hall Accelerator in Australia, Pi Labs in the UK, and German-based Blackprint Booster.

In Asia, however, dedicated proptech accelerators are rare.

Currently, the only proptech accelerators are situated in Malaysia, namely the IFCA Accelerator Programme and Adapt Accelerator.

The accelerators in Malaysia are driven mainly by tech companies and venture capitalists.

The joint partnership between JLL and Lendlease, called Propell Asia, would mark the first industry-led initiative for proptech in Asia.

Propell Asia is targeted at early stage startups in the region, with a clearly defined product that can be applied to various segments of the property industry.

For context, South China Morning Post reported that 179 proptech startups in Asia-Pacific have received US$4.8 billion since 2013.

That amounts to 60 percent of the world’s proptech investments, with Hong Kong and mainland China alone taking US$3 billion.

This shows a huge appetite for proptech in Asia, but there’s a limited amount of resources that are dedicated to growing tech innovation in the industry.

That’s why an industry-led initiative is important, as this will allow startups to work closely with companies who would ultimately be using the technology.

Tony Lombardo, Chief Executive Officer Asia of Lendlease, said: “Through our integrated business models and networks, Lendlease and JLL will enable participants to access the entire real estate value chain – including investment, development, construction, brokerage, consulting and facilities management – and opportunities to test and validate their products.”

The accelerator will focus on four key areas:

  1. Property management – improve procurement and user experience through predictive maintenance and robotics
  2. Real estate transactions – increase automation to achieve greater efficiency in leasing and sales including the use of blockchain technologies
  3. Construction management – disrupt the design and construction of the built environment to enhance safety and productivity outcomes during construction
  4. Data collection, data science, and analysis – improve decision-making for occupiers, investors, and managers by applying artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques on data that is both internal and external to commercial real estate

According to a JLL report, Asia Pacific’s commercial real estate is a US$16 trillion market and is set to grow to US$19.5 trillion by 2020. With that much at stake, it is important for the industry to take initiative in technological innovations, or be left behind.