In January 2021, Louisa had the pleasure of talking on a panel as part of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management’s Property conference to discuss “Pioneering the Future of PropTech”. Alongside others from the industry such as Zander Geronimos and Zach Aarons from MetaProp, Damian Langere from Domuso Inc. and Gelt Inc, they spoke about the shift in recruiting efforts and the prosperous opportunities PropTech has to offer.
With a generation of tech addicts, and as we accelerate into an age where technology grants us instant access to anything we need at the touch of a fingerprint or recognition of facial features, students should seek to take advantage of this opportunity to reconfigure the Real Estate industry. Real Estate is not known for willingly embracing change, but the industry is being hit by a wave of new innovation, ambitious investment and buzzing entrepreneurs which could see those archaic attitudes being demolished and a new ethos being constructed in its place.
As recruiters we have been reviewing what both startups and well-established Real Estate / Tech companies are looking for in their candidates, especially in regard to the unique environment we are in today. The types of talent and skills needed varies between all businesses and Covid has led to a big push in hiring in this sector and general hiring across all roles as companies have had to revisit their headcount. This unique environment has not got a standard entry route for talent which is hopeful for those coming from outside the sector at this time.
To give you an example, Oxford Properties hired their Senior Vice President of Technology, Kim Lewis from the banking sector. Another good example is Blackstone EQ Office who hired their Vice President of Technology, Mikki Ward from Northwest Hardwoods, North America’s largest hardwood lumber manufacturer.
We have seen that the big Real Estate landlords, developers and funds are looking for a lot more technical talent to help them on their journey to digitalisation. They already have the knowledge and understanding of what problems they need to solve as well as the business expertise, however, how to solve it is another issue in itself. As a result causing an increase in hires of CTO’s, CIO’s, Heads of innovation, Transformation Managers, Data Scientists and Solution Engineers, to name a few.
There is still an unspoken culture among some companies and indeed start-ups (more so in the US than in the UK/Europe) which leans on the importance of where someone went to university. Companies need to work harder to look past this and focus on the successes someone has had in their career rather than their educational background. You can have a degree from Stanford and not know anything about how to lead Sales, Marketing or Operations at a start-up. A lot more people, and especially since Covid struck, are not applying to university and instead are doing courses or apprenticeships which are readily available and are far more inexpensive than then having a huge debt built up from university.
When applying for a job, I think an important thing a student should look at first is what area of PropTech their passions align to. For example, if they join a start up they need to be passionate about the product – whether that be internet connectivity, 3D imagery for construction or tenant experience. Alternatively, if your interest is directed towards VC, ensure you have a value add and understand about the stage and vertical the VC is investing in, as the propTech VC’s Metaprop, A/O, Fifth Wall, Concrete, PropTech 1 all invest at different points. Remember though, PropTech isn’t just a term reserved for start-ups – the large consultancies, agencies, funds and large Tech companies like Amazon, Uber, Microsoft are all beginning to dip their toes into PropTech and there are more and more opportunities arising in and across this space.
The growing relevance and importance in sustainability and our climate makes both very desirable Tech routes to go down and I would highly recommend keeping an eye on the space. There will be a continual growth of investment and uptake here as it has key ethical and economical outcomes which should make it an attractive space to go into. Start-ups to keep an eye on are Enertiv and Aurora Solar who are ensuring we are reducing carbon and emission levels per building being constructed.
Another emerging sector is senior living, as people are living longer and spending lot more time at home, so therefore are looking for alternative living i.e. Common – which is a modern form of communal living in which residents get a private bedroom in a furnished home with shared common areas. Within these companies we will see a lot more operational roles available too.
If you are looking to get further qualifications or challenge yourself, there are some really valuable courses which are available, like Smart Building Bootcamp and Property Quants ‘Applying Data Science & Machine Learning to Real Estate’ course, both are a great place to pick up industry credentials.
PropertyQuants, which runs a Masters-level course in Applying Data Science & Machine Learning for Real Estate, announced a partnership with LMRE in 2021.
Graduates from PropertyQuants’ program have in-demand skills in the domain-specific applications of data science to real estate, and through this collaboration will be able to access career opportunities in rapidly growing PropTech firms and forward-thinking real estate companies. LMRE is able to connect with PropertyQuants’ pool of alumni and course participants to fill their clients’ demand for the rare and highly sought after combination of skills in real estate and data science.
“PropertyQuants run a market-leading course that is in-depth and hands-on, covering a wide range of technical material that our clients are all demanding right now. We’re excited to partner with them to connect their highly qualified course graduates with employers.” said Richard Lloyd of LMRE.
“LMRE are the clear leaders in PropTech recruiting globally, and also have a strong set of opportunities from more traditional real estate firms looking for hires in the data science space. We think this partnership will produce a lot of value for course participants, employers, and the real estate industry broadly,” said Nelson Lau, PhD, CFA, CEO of PropertyQuants.
PropertyQuants also runs a separate non-technical introductory seminar “Introduction to Data Science & Machine Learning for Real Estate”, which is tailored for senior executives and PropTech investors. This seminar covers the key concepts in data science as it pertains to real estate, discusses implementation / operationalization and challenges therein, and discusses trends and disruptive business models. The seminar will empower participants to have productive conversations with technical staff, hires, and consultants, and make informed strategic decisions relating to data strategy, enabling them to bring the data science transformation to their companies.
As the PropTech industry develops the stereotype of Real Estate being a slow archaic industry is changing investment from VC’S like Metaprop, resulting in a fresh wave of people and updated insights and opinions.
MBA students from top universities and schools and people from other Tech sectors are seeing the opportunity, growth and challenge of this new way of reimagining Real Estate causing a movement of people.
In summary there are plenty of new roles being created and businesses universally are looking for people who think creatively, have a unique value add, a good attitude and work ethic.
Should you be interested in moving into PropTech from another sector or are a university student hoping to break into the space then give us a call at LMRE. We are happy to give advice on all the opportunities we have and can chat through what roles there are at the moment and can introduce you to a specialist consultant who can chat through next steps.
LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!