Thank god it is not snowing today. This morning started with a run through Central Park, then off I headed down to Broadway to meet Eyal Reggev, President of Stonehenge. Stonehenge is a private real estate company with investment management, property management, development, design, construction, leasing and financing team focussed on NYC and with a connection to Wembley Park back in the UK.
Stonehenge is one of the most technology advanced real estate investment managers. They started investing in tech 7 years ago. The founder, Ofer Yardeni and the President Eyal are pushing forward with various tech initiatives that will have a huge technological advantage to the other players in the market. Eyal meets with about 7 start up’s a month to see if they can be trialled and integrated in the business and be another success story like Meet Elise, which he praised. All the team across each division are using tech and embracing it. The motto ‘if it isn’t broke why fix it?’ doesn’t flow here. Which is great to see! I am looking forward to catching up with Eyal in January and hearing further plans on the tech side.
After that, I headed to a vegan café to speak to the wonderful Natalie Karayan from Propy. This was to chat about many things, but a big thing was her experience of being a woman co-founder. Natalie started off her career learning how to code as a teenager, something which is rare in female children, and by the time she was 19 she had started her own company in real estate and development called MP group. Just 10% of PropTech co-founders are women, and they also receive 157% less funding than men. It was good to get her insights and her experience of this and see how we can work together to overcome this. One thing we homed in on was giving women more of a voice. I go to countless events and its always a gender-biased panel. From personal experience when recently organising the PropTech Connect event with Round Hill Ventures, it has been increasingly difficult to ensure a 50/50 panel. We ended the conversation on how we could assist them in their expansion, and we will both be attending each other’s events in the US. For those who have not heard of Propy, Propy’s mission is to automate the transaction process, which then naturally merged into blockchain real estate transaction platform. They are currently based in San Fran but with a much larger geographical presence.
After that I headed back to East Village to meet Cindy from Envelope. Envelope uses its proprietary 3D zoning and search technology, built over a decade ago, to reveal hidden acquisition opportunities and enable above-market returns on funds. Launched in NYC, Envelope partners deeply and exclusively with the largest developer in each of the world's most valuable, complex cities to raise capital and buy real estate together. A slightly different offering to various PropTechs that I have met. Cindy has moved throughout tech industries from fashion tech, to prisontech to PropTech. She loves a challenge and now is closing series A for Envelope. We chatted through how to attract female tech talent and yet again went back to the education piece. Cindy also brought up an interesting point about equity and how some roles do not receive it. Marketing is very female dominated, and marketeers often do not receive equity which really effects someone’s ability to make real money and grow their seniority down the line. This is ironic because the marketing is fundamental to the expansion of a company. We left on a high as Cindy headed to her pre dinner, dinner (something I have never heard of before, but I love!) and re-joined each other later at the Pomegranate Soiree.
As I was running back to quickly change for the event, I had a call with Peter Weiss from Latch. Latch is going through a massive growth which is something we are hoping to assist with. Latch is a technology company that has created the world’s first smart access system specifically designed for enterprise users and access-sharing. Latch’s fully integrated hardware and software solution allows property managers and residents to manage access flexibly and share access securely. Latch has already been adopted by most of the top developers and asset managers in the US and who knows where next. Global expansion hopefully. Definitely one to watch out for!
I arrived slightly late to the Pomegranate event as I tried to take the subway…but as expected I got it a stop too far and ended up by Atlantis/Barclays…for those who do not know where that is, it is deep Brooklyn and nowhere near east village. A club classic from a Brit trying to be a local.
Leila and Kathleen did an excellent job arranging the event at Abraco in East Village. We were joined by various women from all types of real estate and tech. They had all known each other from various get-together’s over the course of the year. We enjoyed Negroni’s and Tapas ‘til late, whilst chatting through the evening about experiences and NYC life whilst I planned my move to NYC in 2020.
Also, big congratulations to Rachel Walters at Join Digital for winning the BiSnow Young Leader award. She is one of the most passionate people I have met, and it was great to celebrate her award in NYC. Looking forward to Join Digitals event in Boston in Jan 2020 where Oli Fargo will be speaking!
Looking forward to the next event and catching up with all you ladies in early 2020!