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Why Are Digital Twins Getting the Attention of Investors? With Kevin Danehy and Allison Lloyds

29.6.22

In the final episode of The Propcast Season 9, Louisa is joined by Kevin Danehy, Vice Chair, North America and Global Head of Corporate Development and Allison Lloyds, Global Head of Investor Relations and Capital Development at Willow

They discuss why digital twins are getting the attention of investors, what a digital twin is, how they both got into the digital twin space, and how Willow’s customers use their product. While there is an inherent reluctance to embrace change, digitisation is here and it’s time for people in the real estate industry to realise that tech, a digital twin, or data can make their portfolios stronger and more sustainable.

 

Resources:

 

Shout Outs:

 

Key Insights From This Episode: 

  • Working with potential investors and customers, I encourage them to look at things differently. To be more flexible and say, “How can tech, a digital twin, or data make my portfolio stronger or more sustainable?” – Allison
  • We’re leveraging the computing power of the cloud to digitise real world assets. – Allison
  • There’s no secret that the confluence of inflation, rising rates, and geopolitical unrest have had an acutely negative impact on the public market. – Allison 
  • Change is here, we’re not going back – digitisation is here. – Allison
  • There is an inherent reluctance to embrace change. – Kevin
  • With a digital twin, preventive maintenance is accelerated and the utilisation of the rail increases from 85% to the very high 90%. – Kevin
  • Over the last 15 years, the co-location of high rise office buildings along with high rise multi-family apartment buildings integrated with retail and hospitality or hotels, offer the opportunity for an increasingly dynamic live, work, play ecosystem that attracts people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. – Kevin
  • In 1950, 28% of the world’s population were living in urban areas, in 2007 it became 50/50. By 2050, despite the pandemic and migration, the UN and other research indicate that two-thirds of the world’s population will be in global gateway cities. – Kevin

 

About Our Guests:

Kevin Danehy:

Kevin Danehy is Vice Chair, North America and Global Head of Corporate Development at Willow. As Vice Chair of North America, Kevin leads the strategic direction, growth, and management of regional operations. Throughout his career, Kevin has cultivated, established, and led relationships with clients, as well as actively participated in transactional, leadership, and change management activities.

Prior to joining Willow, Kevin served as Executive Vice President & Global Head of Corporate Development at Brookfield Properties for 9 years. In this role, he worked to accelerate revenue and asset value growth across a global portfolio and played a pivotal role in the identification, introduction, and deployment of new technology platforms. From 2019, Danehy was instrumental in the deployment of WillowTwinTM on Brookfield’s premier development, One Manhattan West, a project that has since led to him joining Willow.

 

Allison Lloyds:

Allison Lloyds is Global Head of Investor Relations and Capital Development. In this role, Allison leads Willow‘s external capital activities and is the company’s primary point of contact for both internal and external investors.

Allison was an integral part of Willow’s most recent capital raise. She began her career in real estate, where she specialised in strategic planning and operational performance improvement for multinational corporate clients.

 

About Willow:

Willow is the “digital twin” for the built world. Through their software and professional services, Willow creates a digital replica of a built asset, that collects and aggregates data into a “twin”. Through this approach, Willow enables the owners and operators of major portfolios and infrastructure to make smarter, more proactive, and data-led decisions. By providing data-driven insights, Willow empowers users to manage with greater efficiency, drive operational improvements at scale and provide their occupants with an enhanced and more connected experience. Willow is a global technology company with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Seattle, Dallas, Toronto, London, Amersfoort and Manila.

 

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.

 

About LMRE

LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.

From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.

At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

 

Timestamps:

[02:45] Kevin: How did you get into real estate and how did you move into your position?

  • I have been in the real estate business for over 35 years, I spent the first half of my career at CBRE as an advisor and for about a decade, I was with Brookfield. 
  • Part of my responsibility at Brookfield was to search for the new emerging business practices and approaches that would have a positive impact on the real estate industry and Willow was one of the most interesting.
  • After a significant amount of time with Willow and the corresponding endorsement from the Brookfield team, I joined Willow to help the adoption of digitisation of physical assets.

 

[06:20] Allison: How did you go about transitioning to Willow and why did you make the transition? 

  •  I worked at CBRE in New York and London in the global corporate services division and after a decade I pivoted to organisational psychology and went back and got my PhD. 
  • As my kids got older and the pandemic came,  things shifted and I found myself wanting to re-enter the real estate space. 
  • I reconnected with Kevin and I was always interested in tech and curious about that space.

 

[10:15] Kevin: Can you give us an example of when Willow’s product has been used? You were involved in the Super Bowl, can you talk us through how that would have worked and what value would have added there?

  • SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles where the Super Bowl is held is a beneficiary of having a full digital twin. The digital twin integrates all the different technology systems that exist.
  • A digital twin is an integration hub for technology.
  • The benefit is it allows for the end user to have more data available as well as analytics using science and using artificial intelligence to be able to make predictions. 
  • Some of our projects in the US are Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and One Manhattan West. In London, one of our buildings is 22 Bishopsgate. 

 

[14:45] Allison: Can you talk us through Willow’s fundraising narrative to date and then what you have planned for the future?

  • We have been really thoughtful about how we have raised capital to date, we don’t have a traditional story.
  • We use capital raised to invest in the business. We have a big focus on attracting and retaining top talent. 
  • There’s no secret that the confluence of inflation, rising rates, and geopolitical unrest have had an acutely negative impact on public market and because of this we see VCs scrutinising perspective companies like Willow to a greater degree. 

 

[22:35] Kevin: What is next for Willow? 

  • We’re in the process of digitising Brookfield’s office building portfolio in New York City.
  • Across our categories, rail both in terms of railroad systems, computers, systems, and mining companies there is a large area for growth. 
  • The big opportunity for us right now is to increase our deployment across portfolios. 

 

[28:30] The ‘LMRE’ part, Louisa asks the guests to talk about; 

L– Touch on the main lessons you have learnt throughout your career.

Kevin: It’s incredibly valuable to have a mentor. The harder I’ve worked, the luckier I’ve been.

M – Please give a mention to anyone / product / service.

Allison: Kevin Danehy and Josh Ridley

R– What has been the most  rewarding  aspect of working in PropTech?

Kevin : The physical part of real estate has always been what has thrilled me and gives me a great sense of fulfilment.

E – What are you excited about in the future of PropTech?

Allison: PropTech is a space in which we just see so much potential and it’s about how we can make the future better for generations that come after us.  

 

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