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A Nordic PropTech View with Valdemar Østergaard, Åbn

17.1.22

Welcome to ‘A Nordic PropTech View, by Sanna Walfridsson’ our Q&A focused on Nordic PropTech’s.

Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our Nordic team, headed by Sanna Walfridsson to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the region. Each week we will ask PropTech innovators burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders as much as we have.

 

This week we have been in touch with Valdemar Østergaard, CTO and Co-Founder of Åbn.

 

At Åbn, they have rethought the indoor climate from scratch. A simple, intuitive, plug and play solution everyone understands. The path of all schools and offices to a healthy and prosperous working day. Time has passed from complex solutions to a complex problem – poor indoor climate. They know that the bad indoor climate is not only harmful to health, but it also affects the well-being at school or in the office. At Åbn, they believe that complex problems require simple solutions, and therefore they always focus on the user. It is about meeting needs rather than developing technical and million-dollar systems. Therefore, at Åbn they have not only developed a simple plug-and-play solution, but they have built a universe around, which makes sure to introduce the entire organization and make the implementation as effortless as possible.

What is your view on the Danish PropTech market?

While the traditional property industry has existed for a long period of time and has been extremely conservative, PropTech as a tech/startup market has grown rapidly in recent years and significantly shook conservative attitudes. However, the market continues to face significant hurdles – and with cause.

 

PropTech is gaining popularity in Denmark, owing to the country’s leadership in sustainability, specifically in construction. There is an increasing number of sustainable options available, including sustainable construction materials for insulation, acoustics, and lighting.

 

Additionally, demand for Internet of Things and the quality of the network technologies that will power it, is growing at a rapid pace. We see methods that may be installed within the structure itself to monitor conditions, but we also see various solutions that work in everyday life and in public spaces. This indicates that the Internet of Things can benefit a huge number of individuals in the situations in which it is used – we do spend the majority of our waking hours indoors.

 

PropTech is also the entrance point for further market expansion. Once upon a time, solely facility service and construction managers made solution decisions, but now:

  • the population demands more creative solutions (about sustainability, for example),
  • startups come along and disrupt many of the established solutions with novel perspectives and thus, PropTech becomes a market for everyone, both technicians and non-technicians.

 

What are some of the challenges Åbn has been facing?

PropTech, on the other hand, remains a relatively cautious market. There are attitudes, and, of course, there are numerous established methods of doing things as well. Naturally, everything must be in order when constructing a building or a plant, and the quality must not be compromised. Nothing can be taken for granted. Everything must be calculated and proven. If we do not assure that the quality and computations are correct, the repercussions can be devastating.

 

However, it is also one of the most significant obstacles facing entrepreneurs in the PropTech space. If you do not have various numbers, certifications, and valid testing for your goods, you will be unable to sell or begin. As a result, the PropTech market may face significant entry obstacles.

This, I believe, is one of the most significant challenges.

 

Naturally, COVID-19 has posed a significant challenge to the market, particularly in B2B. Numerous new structures may have been constructed, and the construction industry may have boomed. However, there were no people in offices, schools, or other public spaces, and so the demand for IoT solutions in particular ceased to exist.

If no one is at the office, why should we purchase anything for those rooms?

 

What opportunities do you see in the market following COVID-19?

There is nothing so terrible that it is detrimental to everything else. COVID-19 has compelled us to place a higher emphasis on good hygiene and infection risk in general. Reduced sick days benefits both employees and companies.

 

As a company, we strive to make the indoor climate visible by highlighting the unseen factors that contribute to disease transmission risk. We do so in a straightforward manner, so that everyone in the room can collectively react to the indoor climate and possibly the risk of infection transmission. This scenario is required if we are to prevent the spread of diseases such as COVID- 19.

 

What are your expansion plans? 

We are really busy at the moment. We generate substantial interest and pride in the fact that we have positioned ourselves to provide a product that has been tested, certified, and much more to some of the most conservative opinions.

 

We currently have roughly 1500 units in Denmark, with approximately 1000 of those units installed after COVID-19. As a result, we are extremely busy but still looking forward and developing new solutions.

 

We see ourselves continuing to place a focus on simplifying the interior climate, not only for facility service, but also for human resources. We are always investing in technology and inventing new techniques of data acquisition. Furthermore, we work with a range of models that are applicable to a variety of scenarios.

 

We believe that all classes and offices should require the use of SKYEN or a comparable product.

 

Can you please share your predictions for the PropTech sector?

PropTech will serve as a complement to the ongoing work on Smart Cities. I anticipate that we will see significant growth in IoT infrastructure, to the point where every building and similar structure will be “smart.” Monitoring not only the state of the structure, but also the data used by those staying in the room. With the value added by PropTech, we achieve more sustainable, well- maintained, safe, and healthy buildings.

 

And it will be a more inclusive industry. Both types of companies, but where an increasing number of consumers develop a mindset that challenges established norms.

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!

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