In this week’s episode of The Propcast, Louisa speaks with Scottie Lee, Vice President, Strategy & Research at Equity Residential in Chicago and Marco Biasiotto, Director of Retail and Digital Strategy at Primaris Management Inc. They talk about how PropTech startups can get the attention of funders and VC’s to partner and support their products go to market strategy or fund their scale up. Scottie and Marco share their best advice for any startups looking to secure funding, as well as their do’s and don’t’s of fundraising.
Click here to listen to this episode of the Propcast!
Keywords: investment, proptech, retail, startups, institutions, failure, success
Scottie Lee is Vice President, Strategy & Research at Equity Residential in Chicago where he manages a team responsible for market research, sustainability, resilience, energy and environmental. Prior to Equity, Mr. Lee served as Vice President, Strategy & Analytics at Taubman where he oversaw corporate strategy, market research, financial planning & analysis, and financial & data analytics.
Mr. Lee is a member of the Urban Land Institute. He previously was a member of ULI Michigan’s Technology Local Product Council and was a member of ULI Michigan’s Larson Center for Leadership’s inaugural class. He is an emeritus member of ICSC’s North America Research Group. He previously served on the Governing Board of Detroit Chief Data Officer.
Mr. Lee received his MBA with High Distinction from the University of Michigan and his BS in Industrial Engineering and Economics from Northwestern University.
Equity Residential is an S&P 500 company focused on the acquisition, development and management of rental apartment properties located in urban and high-density suburban markets where today’s renters want to live, work and play. Equity Residential owns or has investments in 307 properties consisting of 79,322 apartment units, primarily located in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, Southern California and Denver.
Marco Biasiotto is the Director of Retail and Digital Strategy at Primaris Management Inc. He oversees the evolving industry trends and provides strategic recommendations that drive success for our shopping centre business. Marco is responsible for developing an insights platform at Primaris while also focused on embracing innovation through emerging technologies and partnerships.
With a retail research and shopping centre career spanning over 25 years, Marco is a leading expert in retail real estate technology and business insights. He recently launched the first ever omni-channel multi-shopping centre marketplace linking real time inventory. He is an active participant in ICSC’s North American Research Group and the Canadian Research Group. Marco holds a master degree in Spatial Analysis from Ryerson University.
Primaris is a wholly owned subsidiary of H&R REIT. Primaris owns and manages more than 7.5 million square feet of commercial space, including 17 enclosed shopping centres located across Canada. H&R REIT is one of Canada’s largest real estate investment trusts with total assets of approximately $13.1 billion at June 30, 2021. H&R REIT has ownership interests in a North American portfolio ofhigh-quality office, retail, industrial and residential properties comprising over 40 million square feet.
Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).
LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the place at the time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people’s careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.
[00:00:00] Louisa: Welcome to the Propcast. Today’s podcast is all about cutting through the noise. And as we all know, there are plenty of products out there, more and more are coming out every single month, day, year, but, what ones actually work and also what makes a good pitch?
And today on the show, we have Scottie Lee, Vice President Strategy and Research at Equity Residential joining us from Chicago, and also Marco Biasiotto, the Director of Retail and Digital Strategy at Primaris Management Inc. Marco is joining us from Toronto. And so welcome to the show Scottie, and welcome to the show, Marco.
[00:00:33] Scottie: Thanks for having me.
[00:00:35] Marco: Thank you very much.
[00:00:36] Louisa: Now why don’t both of you talk me and my wonderful audience through your career to date and Marco, maybe you can start us first, because you’re obviously very well known in the retail real estate technology space. Not only from your current company, but obviously you spent a good amount of time within the innovation team at Oxford Properties.
So tell us how you got into this space and what your role sort of entails.
[00:00:57] Marco: Happy to go through this. I started off at the Center for the Study of Commercial Activities at Ryerson University many years ago, really studying the retail sector. And from there, I moved over to Oxford Properties and then Primaris Shopping Centers back to Oxford Properties and back to Primaris again.
So a bit of a shift back and forth. But what I found in my second time at Oxford Properties was, you know, the questions were “where’s the business going and how can we really use technology to get us there?” And so that’s where I really started changing my focus to really understand, not about what’s the research currently, but where’s the business going to be in five years.
And that’s really what excited me towards getting in the PropTech industry.
[00:01:32] Louisa: I guess when you’re looking at the five years ahead, you maybe didn’t predict the last year and a half we just had. And obviously you can probably talk us through a bit more about the trends you seen it in terms of the retail space, especially in Canada.
Like we sort of briefly spoke about before we hopped on the show.
Now Scottie, what about you? You obviously more about sustainability and energy within residential apartments. And you are involved in the ULI Tech Council, and I think at the beginning of your career you were involved in data too, so talk me and the audience through when your career started to cross paths within PropTech.
[00:02:05] Scottie: So, over the last year I’ve been at Equity Residential, one of the largest multifamily owners and operators in the US. And, I’m responsible for market research and as you mentioned, energy, sustainability, resilience rolls up to me as well. Prior to that, actually how I know Marco, I was at a large US regional mall developer and owner outside of Detroit called Taubman Centre.
So I was there for about 13 years. And both of those kind of experiences as the world is just a little bit of evolved, and particularly around the data that I would say, that’s probably been the entry point. So being responsible for market research, and analytics, particularly in my prior role at Taubman, that really kind of pushed us into this fear, right?
How to better leverage data, both our internal data, but the growing amount of third party or external data. And then once you get kind of in that window, you know, then you start to look around and there’s different sorts of toolsets. And then, as IoT and PropTech has really blossomed, you know, fixed assets and so forth are now generating data as well.
So it starts to kind of come full circle. So my entry point was on the data side, but then everything started to kind of hang from there. Right. So you have different systems, different toolkits, different data sources, obviously. And then most recently here at Equity, as kind of ESG is really, I would say accelerated over the last, you know, 18 – 24 months, getting our arms around and pick it up the problem.
Right. Or maybe even supplementing kind of things that we’ve known all along, you know, but really kind of pick up the problem from a data aspect. And that’s kind of accelerated.
[00:03:41] Louisa: Yeah. We’ll go into later in this podcast about new technologies, but also legacy technologies, which I’m sure both of you have experienced in previous firms. Scottie, we saw each other at Blueprint, and no doubt I’ll see both of you at some events that are coming up, you must get pitched to many, many times a week, whether it’s virtually or sort of at the events and people see your business cards or their cards it hanging from your neck.
How do you go about qualifying all these technologies? I mean, I qualify roles and clients the whole time, but there’s obviously a lot more technical questions you need to also understand the true sort of value within them. Marco, maybe consider start us if there’s any insights you can give us.
[00:04:22] Marco: It’s really interesting. I mean, what I find is, and Scottie, I think you can agree is there’s waves of technologies that keep coming at us. I mean, there was a time when the Mall Apps Groups came at us; customer profiling, customer journey, mall analytics, dashboards, geo-fence, e-commerce. They keep coming in these waves where, you know, it’s a new revolution in one form of technology and there’s multiple companies coming at us with that same technology.
And so there is a lot of noise and there was a time when I was, you know, opening the door and listening to everyone that would pitch just to really figure this out. And I think we’ve refined that a little bit to figure out, you know, these are the key ones that seem to be working in the industry, but it’s through contacts like Scottie and my other counterparts in other Canadian landlords and into the US to see what conversations they’re having.
And so we used to meet every three or four months and we have these conversations to figure out which technologies do you all like, and which ones should we all as a unit gravitate towards. By doing so I think what we find is there synergies because, you know, we’re really competitive, but we’re not in the trade areas in which our shopping centers operate.
We own those markets. So there’s a lot of sharing of information and best practices.
[00:05:27] Louisa: And I guess, is there anything else you want to add to this as well Scottie?
[00:05:31] Scottie: You know, he hit it on the head, right? I mean, you talk to your peers, we all got scattershot and you know, all the CRM systems direct you to the same, you know, 15 people, particularly in the mall space.
Right. Because there’s a much more concentrated area, whereas the same multi-family. But certainly leveraging your peer group, but also, you know, whether you look them up on Crunchbase or what have you, or maybe in their pitch deck, they talk about their investor base and so forth.
Right. You start to see some commonalities and saying, “Hey, have you heard of it about this vendor? I saw maybe you’re not the partner investing in this, but, you know, maybe one of your colleagues are, and, you know, you know, tell me a little bit more about their team, right?”
I mean, a lot of it is about the team and then the technology or whatever they’re trying to sell you. Because oftentimes they’re very early on, right. And wherever they’re trying to sell you today, it’s going to evolve in six months. Right. And that evolution is really going to be dependent on the team.
Really trying to get behind that to see how innovative are there, how stable are they as well? Right. So, because I think one of the things that Marco and I talk about all the time is, you know, you talk to somebody and six months later they’re gone or key team member has gone to another startup.
And we only know that because that person’s calling us again with a new name or a new, or a new business card. Right. And so forth. So, you know, for large organisations, whether it’s Equity or Taubman or Oxford, Primaris, you know, you need these things, at scale, right? I mean, it’s hard for us to kind of keep bouncing around, even if it’s at a pilot every three or six months, because we tend to be a little bit more like battleships than speed books.
So if we were going to engage and want to do something like a pilot, we need a little bit of suitability on partner side or on the vendor side. So those are some of the things that you try to pick at and try to get a good handle on before you really start to engage.
[00:07:20] Marco: One of the really good innovations that we find, we like to share it amongst our peer groups so that the more locked into it, the better off it’s going to be in terms of longevity.
[00:07:29] Louisa: Yeah, over here in Europe and I think Naqash maybe is listening into this when this goes live.
It’s called REIM Tech, Real Estate Investor Management Tech Association. So that has the likes of La Salle, PGIM, Oxford actually part for the European counterpart over here. And they get together, I think it’s every six weeks or something, and it’s something which I started joining when I set up LMRE and they do exactly what you said.
They said it’s been hugely beneficial. And obviously it’s very specific what problems everyone experiences, but that’s literally what they do. They sort of chew the fat, what’s good. What isn’t good? And then they invite two technologies each time they get together to pitch to them, and then they all sort of quiz them.
I mean, it’s pretty brutal just sitting there and listening. And, but obviously, I learned a lot from that as well, I think Naqash is thinking about maybe making this into, going to the US so stay tuned for that, if he does do that.
Okay. So now, our listeners, they completely vary, but for all vendors listening into this podcast, is there any advice you would give to them before they decided to sort to pitch to similar companies for real estate folks in general?
Like any sort of do’s and don’ts, maybe there’s a successful pitch. You guys want to bring up? Scottie, if you want to go first.
[00:08:38] Scottie: I think the biggest thing in commercial real estate, I’ve been very much sensitised to this over the last year is very tailored in your value prop or your demonstration. And don’t think of commercial real estate as just one big sector, because the multifamily is very different than regional mall.
And the regional mall is very different from power centers, or strip centers. So I remember when I was on Taubman. you know, oftentimes if you’re not very, focused, you know, you’ll get these pitches that it’s great. Like, you know, if I was Regency Center for Kimco, it would be great, but I’m not, you know, I was, you know, more like Marco and regional mall side.
And, you know, that’s kind of your shot at us. Right. And then, and so I think the very first thing is just to make sure you’re really tailored, because a lot of these prop tech companies can be helpful across sectors, whether your office or lodging, et cetera. And so when you are making your pitch be very, very, tailored in that regard and, you know, pushing that foward or, you know, double clicking on that idea is, what problem are you trying to solve as well?
Right. And again, it can be common across the sectors, but oftentimes there’s going to be very specific. So if you’re talking to Marco in the retail, regional mall space is going to be a little bit different than Scottie in the multifamily space. And you know, what, really is the problem? And is that problem really meaningful enough or impactful enough to, you know, as Marcos kind of alluded to before, like.. He and I can spend all day literally just taking vendor calls, right. Or, you know, picking from startups and so forth. So, you know, like is the problem that you’re really trying to solve for us all that meaningful and impactful, or is it it’s a legit problem, but maybe a secondary problem and maybe you’re better off as a bolt-on feature to something else. Right.
Particularly like maybe on a data side, which I know it’s not quite PropTech, but on the data side, sometimes we’ll get very small slices and say, “Hey, like we got the best income data” and that’s great, but how can we then marry that with other data that we may look at, other demographic data or typographical data or lifestyle data or something.
And, it’s a big lift sometimes just to kind of push through each of these data vendors, through all the systems and get everyone sensitised to it. So, you may have the best income data, but you’re only solving a small little, issue, right? Yeah. The cost is probably the same as if you got the full boat, right.
Of all the demographics and so forth. Right. And so you may be better off of bolting that onto, partnering with a broader demographics provider or psychographics provider in that regard.
[00:11:10] Louisa: Yeah. We’re seeing a lot more partnerships, also some M&A, so hopefully it allows some businesses to be a little more sort of tailored, like you said, with a clear value proposition instead of leaving it to another businesses to solve, whatever that problem could be. Marcus, anything else you’d like to add on, any do’s and don’t’s to what Scottie just said?
[00:11:28] Marco: No I think he really covered it. From a scalability, I mean, you have some of these shopping centers that, their sales are a billion dollars a year.
You have to give us an innovation that really moves the needle. I’m not going to spend a lot of time working on an innovation that brings me four returns to our shopping center on a daily basis. I mean, it’s just not relevant. So it has to be something that’s large enough and scalable enough across our portfolio.
In terms of big don’ts, the one thing I can’t stand is the constant email blasting that we’re getting from multiple people within an organisation. It’s just, it puts a red flag up to say, I’m out. I don’t want to hear any more from you. You’re done.
[00:12:02] Scottie: Right.
[00:12:02] Louisa: Well, everyone listening in that was a big don’t, so don’t try it.
Okay. So there’s kits if new flash technology out there, which is great. I’m loving seeing the evolution of that happening. But I think what a lot of the early stage technology companies often forget is that you guys have legacy systems and I’m sure you guys would love to have this new tech, which is so efficient. And, you know, you wanted to try new, or you want to pilot new technologies.\
But it’s so important that, people understand that you already have those in place and change doesn’t happen straight away. So are there any technologies you feel that considerable most enhance the legacy technologies to help you or other firms similar to, you know, your ex residential or so forth.
[00:12:50] Scottie: I think there’s lot of work in trying to connect, I would say, legacy systems with more modern technologies, particularly around their data and analytics and so forth. Particularly, I think in commercial real estate and Marco, it’d be great to hear your opinion, it does seem like a lot of our systems have been siloed, the legacy systems, right? Whether there’s our property management systems or demographical, GIS sort of programs. And then if you get onto the operation side, you know, building data, BMX’s and so forth.
Right. And how do we kind of connect it all together without blowing everything up? And so, you know, at times you get pitches of, you can blow it up and start over, but you know, we’ve been around for decades. Right. And it’s very hard to do that and very disruptive.
Right. And so if there’s technologies out there that help us kind of connect the legacy systems together seamlessly, they’d be great. And then I think on the startup side is thinking about knowing that we have a lot of in place systems is, how can you get quickly up and running, right? That’s ease and so forth, right?
You don’t have to do a lot of customisation and so forth. And I think that’s a lot of the aims of a lot of the proptech startups is to do that. That’s their goals. And I do see that appreciation on, you know, say on the startup side, but then it’s, you know, really kind of getting into the weeds and, you know, maybe even co-creating, which I know is a overused word often. Kind of getting into the weeds and then having that demonstration, that case study, and then over time too, right.
Because our systems are going to evolve and technology evolves as well. And so that’s one of the things, going back to your prior question, as you know, one of the things we always ask really quickly is like, “Who have you done this for that’s at scale?” It doesn’t have to be a size of equity, but it can be a landlord with five mom and pop sort of apartment buildings.
Right. And so where have you done this at scale? And for how long, right? Because again, longevity, that is an important feature.
[00:14:47] Louisa: Marco, anything you want to build on there?
[00:14:49] Marco: I’ll just add that, you know, from managing our shopping centers, the data inputs that we’re getting from so many different places, be it from our shopping centers, from our retailers, from the operation side, from our marketing side, and trying to make sense of all of this data.
And they are all based on old systems that have been around 20 odd years. The people that have built them are no longer with the company typically. So nobody even understands how to unpack some of that information. So those old legacy systems are so difficult to advance it into 2021 and going forward.
So there’s a lot of heavy lifting on our end to get the modernised.
[00:15:22] Louisa: Well, I guess also building on that, and this leads us really nicely into this next question, is obviously those people aren’t there anymore by lots of these real estate firms are obviously hiring innovation out.
Marco you’ve been in that role before. We’re seeing obviously Nuveen, Greystar, JLL, CBRE. The list goes on. They’re making some massive new innovation appointments. But also they’re trying to sort of build technology in house and a team using new technology. Do you guys have an opinion or is there any businesses that sort of stand out for you that have been success stories today?
Marco, maybe you can sort of obviously go first because you’ve been directly within these roles and within the innovation team.
[00:15:59] Marco: There’s a couple of examples that are out there. I mean, Westfield Labs back in the day, I think we were all sort of anxiously awaiting to see what their next innovation was that they would release and, you know, great company and great thought process around it.
The problem at the time I feel, and, challenge me, Scott, if you like, but the problem at the time, was the brainpower was there, but the technology wasn’t quite developed yet. So I think, you know, they were ahead of their time. And, and so going forward to today, there are other groups that are starting this and the technology has finally caught up to where people want it to be.
But I think it’s, it’s almost a better solution to go out and there’s so much money now being thrown a PropTech to let them figure it out, let them develop the money and put it into it and just take their best practice.
[00:16:41] Louisa: And Scottie, is there any other success stories you’ve seen or experienced?
[00:16:45] Scottie: Maybe I’ll kind of speak a little bit more when I was at Taubman on the retail side. And I agree with Marco, I think a lot, you know, most of us kind of circled around and agreed that, you know, let the PropTech companies, you know, do the innovating, but then where I think you’ve seen some success stories is, where that co-creation again, I know it’s an overused word is you’ve worked with these startups, that are not fully mature, but have a great idea, have that analytical and technological horsepower that may be lacking in a traditional corporate setting. Yet we have the experience, we obviously have the fiscal assets. And we know what hasn’t worked, right? I mean, Marco probably has a laundry list of what hasn’t worked. Ao we can tell people, you know, here are the potholes don’t step into them because XYZ startup has tried best and it’s just very, very difficult. So, you know, maybe I can steer you into this way.
And so some of the success stories honestly, is actually from things that might not have worked when I was at Taubman. And, Marco actually knows some of the folks there as well that have focused on the innovation and the proptech space and, you know, we’ve done a ton of pilots.
And what you kind of learned from there is the limits of what the technology is, is sometimes it’s just as helpful as when you strike gold and you know, some sort of technology that does actually help you kind of progress. Because what it does is it helps you focus your resources, I’ll say, right.
And, and it allows you to make compromises in a very educated manner. And you’re not kind of grasping for something that really isn’t out there. Right. And I think Marco and I’ve spent, for example, traffic data to give you just like one specific idea. He and I have talked, I know ad nauseum about traffic data. And there are all sorts of problems, in regards of, I think, whatever vendor any of us have ever looked at and even installed. And so, but once you know the limitations of it, right, and you know, you need the systems uptime and you, you know, whether it’s AI or whether it’s whatever computer vision that they’re using, you start to understand what are the limitations of it.
And then you’re like, okay, these are the limitations. Here’s how I can then leverage it, versus just a sheer people count. These will oftentimes to share people count has all sorts of issues with that actual numbers. So I think oftentimes where we found a lot of success was cooperating with these startups.
Right. And then just kind of understanding what the limitations are today. And then that allows us also to kind of look out for what’s next. Right. How do you qualify vendors, right. They’re playing in that sandbox, you’re like, Hey, like this would be very interesting, you know, with new technologies, your ears perk up.
[00:19:27] Louisa: And I guess it goes back to obviously what you’re both saying earlier, too, about comparing, speaking to your peers, your associates, what’s working, what limitations they’re experiencing and everything like that. We’ll slowly get there once we’ve all, I guess you’ve done more pilots, you know. With a landlord, a vendor, an institution will sort of know what works and what doesn’t work.
And as we saw with COVID there’s been plenty of M&A happening and lots of business unfortunately didn’t succeed. So I guess watch the space.
Let’s talk about future predictions, are there any further sort of emerging trends or sort of, other bits of, I guess, looking at further growth areas of investment or other, any sort of businesses that either of us sort of tracking at the moment, or, watching parts of PropTech sort of evolve? Obviously it changes in retail to sort of residential. Marco, anything you’re finding super exciting at the moment?
[00:20:17] Marco: We’ve just launched in the last week a multi shopping center, e-commerce marketplace, where we’re linking real-time inventory of products from our tenants within our malls onto one marketplace. So we’re looking for the test case now, five shopping centers, and that’ll expand in the next little while. So it’s very innovative in that, you know, malls are all trying to figure out this e-commerce, where the future of it is.
And I think it’s really, for us, being able to create with our physical retail company interface into the digital environment. So we’ve built primarche.ca, have a look at it. I think it’s a pretty revolutionary in the shopping center industry.
[00:20:52] Louisa: Well, yeah, I would say that it’s pretty exciting.
March, we should have probably spoken about this earlier. Sorry about that. Everyone listening in definitely check that we’ll be sharing details of this as well at the end of the show. Scottie, is there anything which you’ve been sort of working on or sort of watching closely?
[00:21:07] Scottie: I think around the ESG space, being inclusive of climate resiliency. I think there’s a lot, obviously there’s a lot of focus on that and just generally, and then how do you kind of bring all that data together, right? There’s all sorts of different reporting requirements at the local level, which makes things hard.
A lot of this stuff has been at the city level versus the federal level. And you know, in terms of compliance and disclosures and so forth, but then there’s all these voluntary disclosures that, you know, I cheekily call alphabet soup, whether it’s grants or CDP or what have you. And, each of them are a little bit different, whether CSA, et cetera.
And that’s just kind of downstream, right? And so obviously upstream is how do you collect all this data? How do you calculate all this data? And a lot of this is new, right? I mean, it’s not accounting data. And as soon maybe accounting data, right. And, you know, depending on what the SCC ultimately decides.
And then, you know, from COP 26, you know, talking about a standard sustainability board as well. And so there’s a lot of interest and focus. Right. And that’s just on the disclosure side. Right. And I’ve even gotten to, once he got to the data to property managers, how do you actually use this data?
How do you to improve, you know, whether it’s asset hardening, right. In terms of, you know, vis-a-vis, potential perils, like, flooding and hurricanes and, wildfire and so forth. Right. How do you use this data to cut your GHE emissions or to increase your recycling and your waste diversion programs or conserve water.
Circling around a theme of what Marco and I are both saying is there’s so much data out there too. Right. And I think what you’re saying is cutting through the noise, which is a very apt title too. So then how do you harness all this data to make it actionable throughout the organisation? Right. So it’s just not Marco, saying, okay, I’m looking at this and then can do one or two things is right. You really want to democratise the data and push it out throughout the entire organisation.
So we’ve been looking at quite a bit, including at Blueprint, right. Is at all stages of that journey, right. So whether it’s on the reporting side, like a measurable, right. Or maybe it’s a measurement side. Right. Or, you know, or generating data from your fixed asset, like a hatch or something like that.
Right. Or, eah, you’ve got all the climate scenario analysis, data sets, right? Whether it’s the 4 27 of the world or the Jupiter’s or the world and so forth. So there’s a lot of interesting ideas out there and technologies and data. And it’s just kind of how to, how to bring it all together in one place.
[00:23:36] Louisa: I guess, doesn’t it also come back to, you know, what all three of us were talking about earlier. It comes down to having almost the right stakeholders involved in the businesses. So you two obviously both know what you’re talking about. You sort of understand what the business needs, but lots of these businesses don’t have people like you in their organisations yet.
So I guess what I’m trying to do here at LMRE is help the funds, the institutions, the landlords, all sort of hire people of your sort of understanding and skillset, to sort of really help evoke change and understand where the issue is. Did they communicate it to the tech companies and understand after going to these events, Hey, that product perfect for this. And then connecting, like connecting the dots.
So I think that’s another sort of thing, which the real estate world needs to overcome. But like I said, it will all come with time.
Speaking of time. We are unfortunately coming to the end of the podcast, but we have a final part, Scottie and Marco. And this is for audience to get to know a little bit about both of you.
So how it goes is ours, you know, L is what’s your sort of main lessons than you guys have learned in your career. And then M is mention anyone or a product or service, a shoutout. R is, you know, what has been most rewarding part working in our space. And, E is what are you most excited about, for the future?
So Marco, why don’t you kickstart task with L what’s your major lessons learned,
[00:25:50] Marco: From my perspective, you need to try things. You can’t just stay with the status quo. So you need to be able to be open-minded understand what technologies that you’re going to look at to embrace and bring into the organisation.
What you need to be cautious, because a lot of them will fail or they won’t give you the results you need. For me, at least one of the biggest learning elements that are, picked up in the past while. And then the next question was?
[00:26:11] Louisa: Next one is M, anyone you want to give a mention to or product or service.
[00:26:18] Marco: I would have to give a big shout out to the team of Dropit.
So there are partners on the e-commerce marketplace and, you know, they’re based out of London and they’ve got a phenomenal product. They’ve already partnered with a couple of the US landlords, but I was able to bring them into our tent and then deliver this e-commerce marketplace ahead of anyone else.
So we were first ever globally to be able to do that. And that’s just having great partners with us that understand our business and want to work with us. And we get each other. I think that’s a big thing. Right. We know each other a while, we’ve been down in the deep holes trying to figure things out.
And so now we’ve come up with a wonderful solution.
[00:26:50] Louisa: I guess that will come down to communicating as well. Doesn’t it? Okay. Right. We’re now down to R then E. R is what’s the most rewarding part and E is what are you most excited for?
[00:27:00] Marco: I think for me, the most rewarding aspect is really to be able to deliver a leading edge innovation ahead of everyone else, all of our peers, and for them to look up to this and feel this as something that they need to be part of.
So that’s, for me, at least very rewarding on a personal level. And what I’m excited about the future is, so much money is being thrown into the PropTech industry. And so I’m really excited to see what sort of innovations will be coming out of the next number of years.
[00:27:23] Louisa: Thank you so much for that Marco.
Okay. Right. Scottie, you’re finishing us off. So start us off with what’s the main lesson you’ve learned throughout your career.
[00:27:31] Scottie: The biggest thing would be having empathy. Right? So whether it’s client or a customer empathy, and I think one of the things, know, the example I often use is think about helping your parents with smartphones, right?
And so when the new iPhone comes out or, you know, the very first time they got an iPhone, right. Just having that patience and that empathy and really understanding where they’re coming from. I think, you know, whether you’re on our side of the table or on the startup side of the table and what have you, or just working, you know, throughout your organisation.
I think having empathy will go a really long way. And even if you don’t hit Pater and strike success, initially, I think, you know, throughout your journey, those that exhibit a significant amount of empathy, we’ll certainly do good be just all right at the end of the day.
[00:28:16] Louisa: Right. Okay. Is there anyone you want to give a mention or, you know, is there a product when you give a shout out to?
[00:28:22] Scottie: That’s a great question. I was thinking about that. I think, you know what, this is a big enterprise thing, but what I do love would be maybe like something like Tableau.
I think they were the very first, probably just to really explode out how data visualisation can be made easy, and helping non data people see things in data and in analysis very quickly. Right. And so even if they can’t, like, again, using the parents example, even if the parents can’t create that dashboard or can’t create the data visualisation, the end product makes it super easy.
Obviously now there’s going to be lots and lots of other people in this space to kind of take that simplistic data visualisation and blow it out. But I think, that really, I think helped a lot of people who aren’t necessarily data people, and kind of understand what the power of data can be.
[00:29:15] Louisa: Right. Okay. Now that leads us on to what’s been the most rewarding part of working in PropTech Scottie, and then what are you most excited about?
[00:29:22] Scottie: I think the most rewarding thing it is, working with really smart people, like if you go through Lou and like when we were at Blueprint and so forth, you’re just amazed at, you know, all these entrepreneurs and just how smart they are, even if, you know, and I don’t know what the probabilities are in terms of who makes it through, you know, to a liquidity event or so forth. Right. But just the, enthusiasm and the great ideas that they have, and then they’re putting their own blood, sweat, and tears into that product development.
And I think Marco would agree too because he and I, when we were on retail side together, you know, just through those conversations, even if the product might have been right for us, like, you know, there might have been a sliver or just a nugget of information just through that dialogue that you would have with these, you know, really smart people.
And it’s really rewarding. I think it’s great. And you can kind of have that. And I think on the flip side too, is you see, particularly with early stage startups, you know, when you engage with them, right. And you have that kind of cross sharing of information and you know, it is very rewarding.
[00:30:25] Louisa: Okay. Now the last question Scottie, what are you most excited?
[00:30:29] Scottie: I think in, you know, maybe I’m beating a dead horse is you know, on a data side of things. Right. And it could, whether it’s on the ESG or even kind of financial data, right. You know, you’re going back to, tried and true ERP sorts of systems.
I think if you seen kind of where we were even 15 years ago, versus where we are today and things of, you know, AI or ML, or even like a robotic process automation, right. Just to make things much more efficient and easier for the user so that they can spend more time on the analysis and teasing out through insights.
It is really exciting. And I think, as that ramps up and as, we get more and more data that in you get the tool sets to enable us to analyse both structured and unstructured data much more quickly. So you’re not spending 90% of the time cleaning the data and structuring the data. So you can spend 10% of your time and trying to create this bar graph.
You know, you’re spending 90% of the times and really trying to understand, do you use retail example of, you know, what’s the true cross shopping behaviour between a Lulu Lemon and, you know, and other retailers, right. And what that customer profile look like? And, you know, and then how can we target that if you’re in marketing, right.
Or if you’re leasing, how can I use that data to pitch the new retailers to come to one of Marco’s malls? And I think that’s all, accelerating and I think there’ll be into that, it’s a very exciting time. you’re, I think you’re in Marco might see versus a 15 years ago where the availability of data was much less and how we could use the data was much more primitive than today. And I think it’s just going to continue to accelerate and blow out, over the next, you know, short period of time. Let alone long-term.
[00:32:18] Louisa: Yeah, I completely echo everything you just said, Scottie.
Now I’d like to thank both of you, for joining me on the Propcast. Obviously we started speaking months ago I’m so glad we finally got it in the diary, and obviously it’s pleasure Scottie to actually meet you in person and Marco I’m planning a trip to Canada soon, so hopefully we’ll meet there and also congrats you on your new product launch to the marketplace.
And I’m looking forward to catching up with you both after the show, but thank you again.
[00:32:43] Scottie: Thank you. Thank you very much.
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