NextGen Transportation Meets Buildings: Q&A with Max Crowley, UBER for Business
This Q&A with Max Crowley discusses the future of shared transportation and its impact to Corporate Real Estate. As a founding member of Uber for Business, Max played a critical role in growing the team globally and bringing the transportation management platform to 65,000 organizations across the globe. He currently leads strategic initiatives for Uber for Business.
What is Uber for Business and how did it come about?
Uber started seven years ago as a way to provide transportation at a click of a button. For most people, their first experience with Uber is a magical one and it didn’t take long before we realized that Uber was a lot more than just a taxi alternative used for special occasions. Uber has fundamentally changed the way people move around in cities in their day-to-day lives and created mobility where it didn’t exist before – but it didn’t stop there.
A few years back, we realized that we could do more than just help individuals get transportation, we could also help businesses and cities achieve their goals. That’s why we launched Uber for Business—a platform that helps companies successfully scale Uber usage by providing them with the billing, reporting and management tools they need to be effective.
What kind of customers does Uber for Business target?
It’s currently used by 65,000 organizations across the globe, which includes both small businesses with less than a dozen employees and Fortune 500 companies. Our initial focus was on business travel, but in the past year we’ve seen a huge interest from the commercial, corporate and residential real estate community.
What sparked this interest from the real estate industry?
It started with something that seems simple enough to the average person: parking. In urban areas where land is valuable and scarce, allocating space to parking is extremely costly and adding new parking lots to scale with increasing occupancy can be a highly inefficient process.
Enter, Uber. In San Francisco, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world, a residential apartment complex called Park Merced offers tenants a $50 ride-sharing subsidy every month if they forgo a parking spot. Innovative property managers have seen amazing results by taking new approaches to solving problems that have been around for decades or longer.
The same goes for corporate real estate. Employers that are growing fast and can’t meet the demand of employee parking are also working with us. Not only do they eliminate the parking issue, but HR also sees higher levels of employee productivity and happiness so it’s a win-win for everyone. When people are no longer stuck behind the wheel in traffic every day, a lot changes.
We have a vision for a new world with less space for parking, and more space for things that matter (and things that drive value for properties), like outdoor areas or additional buildings. The possibilities are endless.
So it started with parking, are there any other benefits the real estate industry can get from working with Uber?
As everyone reading this will know, space in cities is always getting more competitive—not only for residential, but also for commercial and corporate real estate. If a building isn’t located in a city center or conveniently near public transit, it can be difficult to attract people to it—whether it’s for work, shopping or living. Property outside of cities becomes more desirable with Uber because it offers a direct and seamless connection between the building and where people need to go.
We’ve seen some apartment complexes that have had trouble attracting residents increase occupancy rates substantially by offering free or discounted rides to residents. Heatherwood Luxury Rentals in Brooklyn faced a huge obstacle when they found out that there’d be a disruption in service for the train that connects it to Manhattan. If tenants can’t easily get to the city for work or play, many won’t want to live in Brooklyn anymore. But by providing subsidized rides with Uber, they’re able to keep things business as usual. And the same goes for corporate real estate, if you’re office isn’t located in a desirable area, that shouldn’t mean you can’t attract and retain the best talent.
What do you think professionals in the real estate industry should keep in mind over the next few years?
Car ownership is declining, autonomous vehicles are being developed and already, 65 million people use Uber every month. When you take into account the ride-sharing industry as a whole, that number is even higher. Architects and developers should be considering all of this when they’re designing a new building. Consider asking yourself: How much parking do I really need given these changing habits? What could this area be used for instead? Should I have space dedicated to pickups and drop-offs to avoid congestion and provide a better experience? Do I need a special waiting area for people waiting for a ride? These are just a few of the considerations that should come to mind when you think about transportation and how it relates to your jobs today and over the next few years.
To hear more about Ridesharing & Corporate RE - The Future of Transportation, join us at CoRE Tech 2017 on Nov. 14 & 15 in Silicon Valley. This topic is part of the fast-paced Innovation Showcase which will provide insight into extraordinary examples of innovation within the industry.
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Where Will the Most Innovative Executives in
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UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
Technology and the Impact to a Commercial Real Estate Strategy – Innovators Weigh In - 10/3/2018
For today’s Commercial Real Estate CIO, new technologies continue to emerge that are changing the landscape daily. Long gone are the days where property management, budget and forecasting and e-mail are the only concerns. Today, digital transformation, smart buildings, occupant experiences, automated leasing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and cyber are just a few of the new technologies impacting the role of CIO. This webinar will discuss the wide-ranging set of technologies changing the commercial real estate industry and more importantly, the types of strategies necessary to navigate at an ever-increasing speed. Hear from some of the industry’s most successful CIO’s regarding this “Age of Acceleration”!
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.
Susan Gerock currently serves as VP, Information Technology and CIO for Washington REIT, a publicly traded REIT based in Washington, DC. She has over 20 years' experience in various technology roles spanning manufacturing, consulting, application service provider, and commercial real estate organizations. Her specialties include ERP selection and implementation, project and change management, and cybersecurity. She is also a proponent of the use of social media and the overlapping relationship between technology and marketing.
Phil Klokis is currently the CIO for the Public Buildings Service (PBS) of the General Services Administration. He is responsible for delivering Information Technology (IT) solutions and services supporting PBS' diverse real estate operations and portfolio management consisting of 1,500 owned assets, 9,000 active leased assets and nearly 350 million square feet of office space.
Ron Victor is a Silicon Valley based technology entrepreneur with 20 years of experience and expertise launching new ventures at start-ups and fortune 1000 technology companies. To-date he has enabled raising more than $30Million in start-up capital for multiple start-ups in silicon-valley. Ron has founded and led three companies to-date with successful exits. His latest venture is IoTium Inc. – a Silicon Valley start-up that provides a secure, cloud-managed, easy-to-deploy software defined network infrastructure for all IoT verticals.
Marc is a pioneer in leading the Intelligent/Smart Buildings and M2M movements pushing the industry forward and has contributed to transforming and changing the Intelligent Buildings and M2M (now IoT) industries. As Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Lynxspring Marc leads corporate and product marketing, strategy, brand management, public relations and communications that support the company’s strategic and growth initiatives.
Scott Sidman has 14 years of CRE technology experience leading sales and marketing efforts. He is responsible for supporting company growth goals and assuring company and product direction aligns with market needs as well as leads. Scott is CRE tech evangelist and host of a CRE Tech Talks podcast.