Author | Diana Pardo Varela
New technologies are here to stay, and they will continue to change at an unprecedented speed, so, as one would expect, the real estate industry is also in the midst of a full-blown digital revolution. The mission is very clear: to boost the real estate industry with the use of ICT. This is what is known as Proptech.
What is Proptech and how did it come about?
Proptech, created by combining the English terms Property and Technology, first came about in 2014. Proptech combines real estate portals, management software, virtual reality, internet of things, big data, domotics and immotics, etc.
Proptech & Smart Cities
Applying technology to the real estate industry involves understanding a new way of investing, managing, marketing, financing and also analysing all the data to achieve greater efficiency.
The most immediate benefit is project profitability, resulting in High Performance Buildings.
United States and United Kingdom leading the way for Proptech
The United Kingdom ranks as the number one country for Proptech with over 300 startups formed. Their activities are divided among 20 real estate subsectors.
An interesting fact: In the past five years, the Proptech sector generated around 3 billion euros through more than 300 operations formalised in the United States and the United Kingdom
Forbes magazine recently published a list of the fastest-growing and most influential Proptech startups of the past two years.
One of these is Rentberry, a platform that facilitates the management and promotion of long-term rentals. They take care of the entire rental process, including rental payments. The improved service for tenants in terms of transparency, speed and savings is a key part of its success. It raised over $4 million from international investors. Today, they operate in over 5,000 cities in the US and the focus now is on Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Another one is Westmartpark, which has a similar concept to that of AirBnB but with parking spaces. They transform empty garage spaces into smart spaces. Affordable rates for drivers and attractive revenues for owners. They currently operate in three cities around the world: Madrid, Barcelona and Santiago de Chile. Expansion plans include South America, focusing on Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Panama.
Another example, this time in Asia, is CBD, a company specialising in the rental of storage lockers and storage units in China. Their main feature is that they do not require locks, since access to the space is via a mobile phone. Shed users can also provide other people with access over the phone. Spaces can also be reserved or rented online.
The emergence of Proptech has opened countless opportunities within the real estate sector, from the creation of revolutionary startups and apps, to the possibility of investing in property through Crowdfunding or Equity Crowdfunding platforms, a privilege which, until very recently, was reserved exclusively for professional investors.