CRE Tech 4.0 – Boom, Bust or Fizzle?
We have heard this story before – or have we? There have been various tech booms and busts throughout history, with the most notable being the dot.com crash. The dot.com bubble occurred from 1995 through 2001 and had a significant impact on the general economy. The NASDAQ, well known for being a high-tech exchange, lost more than half its value and has only recently reached and exceeded pre dot.com levels.
The commercial and corporate real estate market also participated in the general dot.com euphoria and we estimate that approximately $2 billion was invested in real estate technology startups. About $1 billion was focused on the information and transaction market and the other $1 billion was geared toward broadband infrastructure. In many cases, these investments evaporated into thin air.
There were, however, a good number of companies that survived the crash and went on to become well-known and successful. One of the most notable successes from this period was LoopNet (later merged with Property First and then acquired by CoStar), while some of the less fortunate were companies such as RealtyIQ, Broadband Office and Real Centric.
Many in the industry are starting to ask how Phase 4 of CRE Tech investment (which began in 2009/2010) compares with earlier bubbles and what the next 12-24 months will bring. Will we see more notable exits, M&A activity, new entrants, or closures? To date, the VTS/Hightower merger, WeWork and the CBRE acquisition of Floored are the most recognized success stories of CRE Tech 4.0.
Our best estimates show that if you include transactions, operations, user experience and smart buildings, the level of investment in new companies could be in excess of $10 billion. This represents well over 3,000 companies, old and new, trying to sell some form of technology, automation and innovation to the commercial, corporate and institutional real estate industry. Comparing the two most recent cycles, dot.com was seven years ‘start to bust’, with about $2 billion invested in CRE Tech. The current cycle is now in its eighth year with at least five times the investment level of the dot.com era.
From our vantage point, here are a few observations:
- Innovation is good; it removes inefficiencies, creates new experiences and improves the industry
- There are a lot of new smart, curious minds trying to solve our industry’s problems
- The degree of innovation is forcing all companies, new and old, to push forward and improve the way we conduct business and serve customers
- Without the restrictions of legacy systems, innovators are free to re-think processes and procedures with no limitations
- Sources of capital: much of it is coming from investors with very little knowledge of the industry who are not aware of our specific challenges, most notably slower, calculated adoption (one senior level RE executive speculated that literally thousands of outreaches by new companies result in only four new evaluation projects each year)
- The patience of investors for reaching profitability goals has been extended from two to three years to five to seven years
- Given the high magnitude of investment in CRE Tech 4.0, there has been a relatively low number of high profile exits
- There are too many new competitors in an already crowded space
- Lack of industry-specific knowledge by many startups
- Tactical ‘app’ approach without a comprehensive understanding of strategic issues such as enterprise integration, data integrity and cyber governance
With so many new companies focusing on commercial, corporate and institutional real estate, the innovative ideas that rise to the top are important to the progress of our industry, and that is why Realcomm and IBCON will continue to showcase the ‘best of the best’ ideas. We will provide a forum for discovery, discussion and debate on the challenges and opportunities of the innovation emerging from Phase 4 of CRE Technology.
To learn more about the future phases of CRE Tech, join us at Realcomm | IBcon 2017, which will be held in San Diego on June 14-15 (June 13: Precon | June 16: Innovation Tech Tours).
This Week’s Sponsor
Now in its fourth decade, Yardi® is committed to the design, development and support of software for real estate investment management and property management. With the Yardi Commercial Suite™, Yardi Multifamily Suite™, Yardi Investment Suite™ and Yardi Orion™ Business Intelligence, the Yardi Voyager® platform is a complete real estate management solution. It includes operations, accounting and ancillary processes and services with portfolio-wide business intelligence and platform-wide mobility. Yardi is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and serves clients worldwide from offices in North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.yardi.com.
For more information about the event, course and its design: Realcomm | IBcon Golf Outing
The golf outing is open to all registered Realcomm | IBcon attendees. Conference registration (early bird rates expiring 4/14/17) and advance reservation is required.
Contact information: Alicia Riddle | 757-333-2332
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
Beyond the Building Network - Bridging the Gap Between IT and OT - 3/8/2018
Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) are both necessary to improve a smart building. IT is usually responsible for processing information and the network it runs over. OT is the hardware and applications that sense and/or cause changes in the monitoring or control of physical devices, processes and events like HVAC, lighting and security. Typically, IT folks don’t really get too involved in OT processes, and OT doesn’t really understand traditional IT governance and processes such as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), cybersecurity, etc. Without both working together, they’re like two wrestlers, each with one hand tied behind their back. In this webinar we’ll explore how IT and OT can break down the communication barriers and work together to ensure better results.
Jesse Carrillo is responsible for directing all corporate technology, strategy and standards for Hines worldwide. Jesse joined Hines in 1994 as a consultant to assist in the implementation of the firm's accounting and property management software. He took over the responsibility for Hines IT as CTO in 2007 and later promoted to CIO in 2009.
Ryan Allbaugh has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. Currently, he leads highly knowledgeable and collaborative teams to design and implement technical solutions for Wells Fargo’s corporate properties group. As the former CIO of the largest private commercial real estate developer in the southeast, Ryan applied his extensive knowledge to implement technology solutions impacting the real estate industry, such as his role in the development of one of the most technologically sophisticated buildings in the world, the Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, NC.
Vladi Shuntorov is Lucid's President and Cofounder. Vladi led Lucid's early product and engineering teams and has driven the evolution of the company from its inception in 2004 to the launch of BuildingOS. A recipient of awards from U.S. EPA and Cleantech Open, Vladi has dozens of widely cited publications in the field and has delivered many distinguished presentations, including at TEDx. Vladi helped pioneer groundbreaking research in commercial building monitoring systems and realtime feedback technology.