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The 20 most innovative companies in Real Estate

Bowery, USA
Powered by big data, advanced technology, and extensive expertise, Bowery is redefining the commercial appraisal space. Bowery powers its appraisers with a cloud based commercial appraisal writing software and mobile application, allowing them to write full appraisal reports more than twice as fast as its leading competitors. Its powerful back-end database and natural language  enerator create increased efficiency, quality, and consistency firm-wide.

Buildium, USA
Buildium provides easy-to-use, affordable cloud property management software solutions to landlords, professional property management companies, and selfmanaged condos and homeowners associations.
Enertiv, USA
Enertiv uses data to enhance building operations in commercial real estate portfolios, with a focus on office and multifamily buildings. We use a highly granular data set to design tools for making building easier to operate, healthier to occupy, and more profitable to own.
Flip, USA
Flip is a marketplace for flexible housing. They make it easy to sublet, get out of your lease or find a flexible place to live. Flip’s platform handles the entire experience: digital qualification of  ncoming renters, rent payments, security deposits, legal documents and landlord approval.
Foyr, India
Foyr is India’s first online, automated interior designer. Their mission is to solve real life problems through technology, innovation and design. They’re a varied lot of thinkers and doers,  pontinually rethinking what’s possible to help us all do what we love in new ways.

hOM (iamhom.com)is a leading technology-enabled amenity provider that partners with residential and office properties to develop community by providing on-site fitness programming and unique events for tenants.
Huthunt, USA
Huthunt is a first of its kind collaborative renting platform that helps connect people looking for roommates and apartments in a social, collaborative, and user friendly app! They help you find your next apartment, and a person you’ll love living with.
No Agent, UK
For decades now landlords have had two choices. Manage their own properties or pay a letting agent to do it. But now there is a new way for landlords to find tenants and manage their rental property professionally. No Agent’s innovative technology and in-house property expertise offers landlords a simpler, flexible and low-fee way to manage everything from start to finish.
Opendoor, USA
Opendoor set out to reinvent life’s most important transaction with home sellers and buyers in mind. They’ve helped thousands of people sell their homes online in minutes, removing all of the headache, uncertainty and risk from the transaction.
Open Listings, USA
Open Listings’ mission is to make buying a home simple and affordable. They help anyone buy a home without an individual real estate agent. Buyers use their self-service platform to manage the process online — with expert support when needed — and get back half the commission that would typically go to their agent.
PeerStreet, USA
PeerStreet is a platform focused on democratizing access to real estate debt. The company provides investments in high-yield, short term, real estate backed loans. PeerStreet’s unique marketplace allows investors to diversify their capital in an asset class that has been traditionally difficult to access.
Purplebricks, Australia
Purplebricks is the world’s fastest growing estate agent and offers customer a fairer, more transparent and convenient way to buy, sell, or let. Open 24/7, they’ve revolutionized estate agency across the globe. They’ve combined the personal touch of Local Property Experts with cutting edge technology and a central support team that puts customers in control of their sale.
Ravti, USA
Ravti makes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) easier for the Real Estate world. They track, manage, and procure HVAC for large property owners. Removing the headaches associated with HVAC from the Owner’s perspective while making it the easiest business on the planet for the Vendors that serve you.
RealtyShares, USA
RealtyShares is a real estate crowdfunding platform that provides accredited investors access to pre-vetted real estate investment properties and an opportunity to invest as little as $5,000 into each property.

Reposit, UK
Reposit provides an online alternative to the tenancy deposit system in the UK, providing affordability for tenants and enhanced security for landlords.

Riley, USA
Riley provides lead qualification as a service. Real estate brokers buy leads and Riley Concierges text those leads basic questions within five minutes, qualify them, and pass them back to the realtor.

SEEABLE aims to make 3D & Building Information Models (BIM) asset information visible and accessible to a wider audience, creating easy, non technical access to key information. The 2D and 3D applications are delivered across multiple platforms.

SquareFoot, USA
SquareFoot is the marketplace that connects businesses with their ideal space. By re-engineering the leasing process from initial search all the way through touring and lease negotiations,  SquareFoot is fast becoming the go-to destination for commercial real estate leasing. SquareFoot provides access to available inventory via its online listings platform alongside technology and tools that make the space leasing process easy, enjoyable, and efficient.
VR Listing, Canada
VR Listing is a full service real estate marketing company with a focus on immersive technologies. They provide cutting edge, turn-key solutions packaged for real estate agents, and are currently developing state of the art interactive technologies for other segments of the real estate industry.

How Big Tech Companies are Entering the Real Estate Market?

With the seemingly unstoppable growth of big tech companies over the past two decades, many of them are branching out into new industries such as health, automotive or finance. It’s no surprise therefore that big tech is also setting its sight on the real estate industry, the single largest asset class in the world. We take a look at how big tech players are expanding their reach into real estate by segmenting steps of the RE value chain.

1. Property Search
Property search has long been under digital disruption through listing sites such as Zillow and Trulia that make it easier to find homes and connect to agents. Now, big tech companies are making moves to become part of the home searching process as well. In June of 2019, Amazon launched the TurnKey Home Buying Program in partnership with Realogy, the largest brokerage in the US. TurnKey matches those looking for a home with one of Realogy’s brokers and gives financial rewards to buyers in the form of Amazon smart home products, services, and other perks. Two of the biggest Chinese tech giants — Alibaba and Tencent — are also entering the property search market in a bid to profit from the surging Chinese real estate industry. In 2017, Alibaba launched a home rental service through its Alipay app, where customers can search and rent properties without any deposit. The service is powered by the Alipay credit-scoring algorithm and only allows participants with a certain score to join. Tencent is entering into this space through big investments into Chinese prop-tech companies, most notably with its $1 billion investment into Lianjia, one of China’s largest real estate brokerages, and leading an $800 million funding of the online listing platform Beike Zhaofang.

2. Viewings and Development
The real estate industry depends heavily on tenants, developers, and investors imagining themselves in a place that doesn’t yet exist. So it comes as no surprise that virtual and augmented reality tech is finding useful applications in the RE industry, helping to visualize furnished homes and architectural models. In fact, real estate is becoming one of the main industries where VR and AR are applied and is expected to turn into a $2.6 billion market by 2025. Since most (if not all) of the market-leading VR and AR headsets are made by big tech players such as Facebook, HTC or Samsung, these companies are well-positioned to provide the underlying technology for one of the most important digital platforms transforming real estate. Just one of many applications in this space is a partnership between Microsoft and enterprise software Altoura as part of the ‘Microsoft Mixed Reality Partner’ Program. Clients can use Altoura to create a digital simulation of future
property and virtually project it into the room during a meeting using a Microsoft HoloLens.
(Source: Altoura)

3. Property & Land Purchase
The two biggest single US real estate purchases of 2018 were made not by a financial services firm, but by a tech company — Google, paying $1 billion for a business park in Mountain View and $2.5 billion for Chelsea Market in NYC (the city’s second-largest single-asset sale ever). In 2019, Google is enlarging its real estate portfolio at an even more rapid pace, with plans to spend $13 billion on land and buildings by the end of the year. (Chelsea Market in NYC)

Driven by their growing appetite for data centers and expanding workforce, and generous local tax incentives, big tech companies have been heavily growing their real estate portfolios across the United States and abroad. Large real estate acquisitions allow them to diversify away from their core business and are turning big tech companies into partial real estate investment firms with experienced CRE experts on board. Berlin-based Rocket Internet has even outright admitted that they are having a harder time identifying exciting startup ideas and welcome real estate as a way to diversify their portfolio. They established a separate real estate investment fund (Global Realty Capital) and have been making headlines with acquisitions of several large-scale properties in Berlin.

4. Construction
True to its nickname ‘The Everything Store’, Amazon lately expanded its product catalog to include tiny homes and cabins that you can buy ready-made in a few clicks. With its $6.7 million investment into Plant Prefab, a homebuilder that creates pre-made sustainable homes, it doesn’t seem far-fetched that families will soon purchase their entire home on Amazon.com. Their first investment into a homebuilder was made via the Alexa fund and is seen by many as a play to expand the reach of Amazon ́s virtual assistant technology (more on that below). A flipside of the meteoric success that big tech companies have enjoyed is the increasing lack of affordable living in the Bay Area and other hubs, seen by many as an outright housing crisis. In an attempt to position themselves as better neighbors and try to lessen property prices, companies like Microsoft and Google have started to commit significant funds to build homes and unlocking land for construction near their headquarters. While Microsoft pledged $500M for constructing low-cost homes in Seattle, Google committed $1 billion to build affordable 20,000 homes in Silicon Valley.

5.1 Buildings — Retail
Amazon retails’ biggest nightmare, is somewhat ironically getting pretty serious about retail itself. It bought the Whole Foods grocery chain for $13.7 billion, is expanding Amazon Book Stores and plans to open 3,000 cashier-less Amazon Go Stores by 2021. The reasons for this aggressive expansion into brick-and-mortar are manyfold. Physical stores serve as additional places to return items, something that is a big struggle for Amazon as 30% of all items get returned. Additionally, physical stores allow Amazon to collect more data on consumer preferences and pursue a complete multi-channel strategy since customers who shop via multiple channels tend to spend up to twice as much with that retailer. In China, tech companies are disrupting retail at a fast pace as well. Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma actually coined the term ‘New Retail’ as one of five main pillars in their longterm business strategy. One of the most concrete examples of Alibaba’s New Retail is
the launch of its own supermarket chain Freshippo, where the smartphone takes center stage in the shopping experience. Customers can find out more about each product on their app and have the option of scanning products into a virtual basket to have them delivered to their home — meaning that the fresh-food supermarket becomes a fulfillment center.
(Source: RetailNewsTrends)

In May 2019, Tencent teamed up in a new venture with Wanda, China’s largest commercial property firm, to build China’s first smart shopping mall. The mall has a VR gaming zone, holographic adds, advanced payment technologies, and the option for retailers to use WeChat (Tencent’s app) to run promotions. Across the country, the boundary between offline and online is disappearing as supermarkets, convenience stores, shops, and malls receive a digital layer, ushering in a new era of shopping.

5.2 Buildings — Residential (Smart Home Tech)
It’s no secret that tech giants are in a bitter competition to become the number one smart home ecosystem. At a compound annual growth rate of 16.9% in the smart home market over the next few years and an expected market size of $53 billion by 2022, it becomes clear why. Amazon paid $90 million for Blink, a video doorbell and security camera company and seems to release a new Amazon Echo device every other month, along with smart screens that show recipes and the Echo Look, a camera that helps you make fashion choices. In addition, Google recently merged all its smart home products under the Nest brand and is also busy launching new devices such as the Google Nest Hub Max that you can use for video calls and home security monitoring. Apple seems to be moving at a slower speed, but still has a pretty clear intention about being a bigger part of people’s homes with its HomePod and HomeKit program.

6. Property Management
Speech-based assistants such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri are not just changing how we interact with appliances via a new form of interface, but also with service providers around our homes. As part of their Google Assistant Investment Program, Google invested in proptech firm AskPorter, a voice-powered digital assistant for landlords and tenants to interact that helps with everything from arranging viewings to setting up cleanings. Amazon again is active in this part of the real estate value chain with its partnership with Zego, a company that makes smart home management software. Zego’s app already allows tenants to request repairs and pay their rent. Under the partnership with Amazon, Zego now plans to upgrade its app with Alexa-skills to make many more features possible.

Why Mobiles Apps for Your Business?

Mobile devices have drastically shifted the online landscape to the point that in 2010 more than 50 percent of all Internet access was being done via handhelds of some sort. About 45 percent of mobile owners are using their devices to download social networking apps. In fact, 35 percent of Android and iPhone owners in the U.S. use apps such as Facebook before getting out of bed, according to a recent survey conducted by telecommunications equipment vendor Ericsson.

You can use mobile app as an promotional tool for your business. Today, everything including commerce, trading and payment is handled on mobile. That being the case, mobile apps have proved to be the very future of computing. Developing a mobile app and promoting it among your users is hence extremely beneficial to further your business.

You can reach more people (customers). Developing an app for your business helps you reach many more customers, than with a traditional Website.

You can demonstrate your product or services easily using mobile app. You can keep updating your app, to feature different new products every once in a way. Offering users interesting offers and discounts encourages them to visit you more often and spread the good word as well.

You can partner with other application to bring more traffic. With the mobile industry booming like it is right now, it is most advisable for any and every business to develop mobile apps to promote their products and services. Mobile is indeed the way all communication is headed today and so, embracing this technology is guaranteed to produce the right results for your business.

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