We are thrilled to welcome ten startups from around the world to convene in Toronto, Canada for the 2019 Colliers Proptech Accelerator powered by Techstars. We have reached a tipping point in Proptech, the intersection of tech and real estate, with hundreds of applications to our program from each region around the world this year. We received applications from an unprecedented 50+ countries, resulting in the selection of 10 amazing teams! I’m proud to have them join us this September 9th in Toronto for 13 weeks, culminating in Demo Day on Wednesday December 4th.
Building on the successes of last year’s inaugural class along with our initiative to further grow the global Proptech entrepreneurial ecosystem, we are beginning to explore longer-term opportunities and advanced solutions to disrupt the industry. We selected a geographically diverse group of founders looking to build products, grow their businesses, and take advantage of the deep bench of worldwide resources that our program has to offer. This year’s companies are joining from Singapore, Madrid, Vantaa, Gold Coast, Berkeley, Denver and Toronto. We are fortunate to run this program with our global partner, Colliers International, who brings a deeply committed team of mentors and global reach and expertise to our accelerator.
Our entrepreneurs are innovating across a wide range of areas in the built world, including: machine learning/AI, blockchain, visualization solutions including AR/VR and more. Such technology advancements are enabling us to address a broader array of areas further upstream in the real estate value chain, which was thought to be further out in the industry just years ago. An important takeaway here is that this view has changed substantially over the past year alone, which is a sign of how quickly Proptech is evolving. Early adopters in the industry will be pleasantly surprised by our upcoming class.
Lastly, we will be evolving our Demo Day format to meet the needs of an industry craving deeper relationships with startups. This year’s Demo Day format will focus on driving more meaningful relationships between industry and startups through our proud title sponsorship of the Buildings Connect feature of The Buildings Show (December 4-6) and technology partner of The Real Estate Forum (December 4-5), adding a digital innovation lens to the real estate conversation. I have also teamed up with my good friend Michael Beckerman to launch the first episode of CREtech Toronto which will line up a full week of content focused on real estate and tech in the city. It’s time for Proptech in Canada to shine!
To those in the industry who are looking to work collaboratively with Colliers, with other industry leaders, with Techstars and with each other, this is the global platform that will help you succeed and I invite you to join us!
ADEx | Berkeley, USA
ADEx leverages machine learning and natural language processing to analyze legal documents and extract structured data efficiently and accurately. We combine this offline data with online sources to provide deeper insight and predictive analytics.
AREX Real Estate Technologies | Madrid, Spain
AREX is a software company that creates real estate solutions using Blockchain and the most advanced technologies.
Bred Token | Toronto, Canada
Your slice of real estate. Bred Token provides freedom, security, liquidity and tradability on public stock exchanges. The Bred Blockchain fund allows you to control your real estate experience with confidence while keeping it secure, transparent and simple for trading.
It’s time to Invest in Real Estate and grow with Bred
BlueSuit | Denver, USA
BlueSuit creates unique insights for the commercial real estate investment lifecycle by leveraging modern artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to replace and advance the analyst teams exclusive to institutional owners.
Fast Office | Toronto, Canada
Are you struggling to get tenants to make timely decisions on office space? We take PDF flyers and generate 3D layouts with a total cost of occupancy in minutes that gets you to offer fast.
Finneo / Capstack | Toronto, Canada
Finneo is the comprehensive technology platform for Commercial Real Estate Debt management and placement.
PropertyQuants | Singapore, Singapore
PropertyQuants was founded by a team of PhD ex-quant traders looking to apply quantitative finance and data science techniques to global real estate, to improve decision making and help investors beat the market.
Realar | Gold Coast, Australia
Realar is an Augmented Real Estate app that helps people spatially visualize property as life size walkthroughs before it’s built.
Skenario | Helsinki, Finland
Skenario predicts the value and risks in properties using data and AI on both residential and commercial real estate.
Talox | Singapore, Singapore
Talox is a cloud native, data powered inventory and deal management system for the commercial real estate industry in Asia Pacific.
The Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for our 2019 mentorship-driven accelerator.
2018 – A big success but just the start for us
In our first year, there was overwhelming enthusiasm around The Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars. We have reached a tipping point in #proptech and applications poured in from 33 countries resulting in the selection of nine amazing companies from all over the world. These companies worked with more than 150 mentors from Techstars, Colliers and the broader proptech industry for the three-month program that culminated with demo day presentations to nearly a thousand industry professionals and technology investors, as well as a worldwide audience of thousands who watched the event via livestream.
The Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars successfully completed its first year of program with companies representing solutions across the entire real estate value chain such as commercial datasets for occupiers and investors; office services and tenant engagement; big data, analytics and artificial intelligence; space as a service; marketplaces and space utilization; and, IoT. I am so proud at what our first class of companies have already accomplished and thrilled to support their continued success. Hear from the founders themselves in this short video.
2019 – The year ahead
It starts with having a deeply committed partner with the desire and willingness to lead change in an industry. We are fortunate to have that with Colliers, making this a very unique and special program. As an organization of 14,000 professionals that operates across 68 countries, they move extraordinarily quickly to support our companies. We work closely together with global leadership and each region at every step to ensure our founders and their teams receive the best and most appropriate mentorship to accelerate their success.
From Dylan Taylor, CEO Colliers Real Estate Services, “We’re energized by the early successes from our class of 2018 and the resulting partnerships… by strategically investing in the right technology solutions and enterprising founders, we can shape the future of our company and the industry.”
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing exciting details of the 2019 program, my schedule and location for office hours, and news about additional mentors participating. Follow us for updates on LinkedIn or Twitter @benliao #TSProptech
Applications for the Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars are open! Apply today.
This year, nine startups from around the world convene in Toronto, Canada for this first global proptech accelerator – Techstars Class 151.
We are thrilled to announce and welcome the first nine companies to Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars. The program will kick-off September 10th in Toronto, Canada with our Demo day on December 4th.
Earlier this year, I set out to find nine world-class teams who like us, believe that some of the hardest problems yet to be solved within real estate represent some of our biggest opportunities. Each startup in our class of nine has been carefully selected for investment based on their approach to near-term, value-enhancing opportunities as well as longer-term opportunities that, with strong technology platforms, will help push current industry boundaries.
Our global search resulted in nine companies representing seven cities in six countries. They were selected from a strong global applicant pool focused around real estate in a broad context.
Over the next 13 weeks, the class will refine their business, build and gain traction with the market, while accelerating their fundraising strategy and developing their Demo Day presentations. Through this process, the startups will work closely with a global network of mentors from Colliers and from the broader real estate industry, successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. At the conclusion of the program, each startup will present to investors and mentors at Demo Day on December 4, 2018.
I would like to thank our mentors, sponsors, partners and alumni for their generous support in this process. Special thanks to the team at Colliers for their true commitment to the success of our partnership.
Without further ado, here are the 2018 companies:
New York City, NY, US
A Retail Space finds the perfect location for your business through data.
Basking.io is an ROI-driven occupancy analytics platform for flexible office space providers and corporate real estate managers.
Hong Kong, China
Booqed is a digital marketplace for flexible space, helping to connect businesses needing places to work, meet or have an event – with landlords seeking to monetise under-utilised space
Lane is a tenant experience platform designed to build community, connectivity and engagement at any office building.
MapYourProperty is a Zillow for Real Estate Land Development, simplifying the planning and development process to a 3-click solution.
Raybased provides Commercial Building Owners a smart building control platform that leverages wireless technology to enable predictive maintenance of key building systems.
Dallas, TX, USA
RefineRE leverages real-time market data to provide CRE portfolio intelligence for organizations looking to make smarter, better and faster decisions about buying, selling, leasing, expanding, or downsizing their property footprint.
SPCE partners with universities and higher education bodies to enhance their student experience, by becoming their first point of call for the provision of off-campus student accommodation in the UK and North America.
Denver, CO, US
Where teams go to find coworking spaces.
I attribute much of my own success achieved throughout my career to having surrounded myself with some of the smartest and most talented people. Some of these individuals were very uniquely skilled and it was by sharing ideas, working together, learning from each other, experimenting and failing, that we were able to solve some of the most complex problems in order to create extraordinarily successful outliers. It’s not every day you find yourself building a startup that has a trajectory of becoming a global category leader.
Most recently, at Ritual, I was fortunate to work with a world class team with remarkable achievements in expansion and hyper-growth beyond our investor’s expectations and they, at Greylock Partners and Insight Venture Partners, have seen their fair share of top-tier companies (Ritual raises $60 million for global expansion).
Upon reflecting on my time at Ritual, what I found deeply gratifying was helping solve some of the most ambiguous early-stage problems that often plague many startups and then subsequently sharing these learning lessons with new city teams or founders at other startups who were often seeing these challenges for the first time. Despite the long hours and travel involved, I found ways of getting involved with meetups or startup communities to share/learn startup lessons with others and it wasn’t long before I came across Techstars.
I’ve known the Techstars team for a while now and I initially began as a mentor for the Techstars Toronto Accelerator. Needless to say, I was highly impressed with the caliber of Techstars, their network of mentors along with the leadership team. The mission #givefirst really resonated with me and I quickly knew this would be something I wanted to spend more time on.
There’s no time like the present! When the Techstars leadership team contacted me recently about the upcoming Colliers Proptech Accelerator, it felt like the perfect opportunity to focus more of my energy, passion and time. I won’t bore you with my favourite quotes here but, if I were to describe the feeling in one word, it certainly felt serendipitous. Though my career spans over a decade working with startups and large enterprise with a focus on innovation, growth and new market entry, the last five years have been far the most exciting.
I’ve had the privilege to help several companies as an early-stage investor, mentor and board observer as well as my aforementioned role at Ritual. During this time, I was also extremely fortunate to build working relationships with leadership teams at many global commercial real estate organizations.
As remarkable as all that has been for me, I’m about to embark on my most exciting venture yet – I’m thrilled to be joining Techstars as Managing Director for the Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars in Toronto.
Why I’m so excited about the Colliers Proptech Accelerator
Deep Industry Global Partner Network
I am excited for the incredible opportunity to unite pioneering entrepreneurs with Colliers and Techstars. Together, we will uncover and shape enterprising solutions for the commercial real estate industry. The Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars will be a first-of-its-kind program with a global focus. I can think of no better way to begin this journey than partnering with the leading global real estate services company. With over 15,000 skilled professionals operating in 69 countries, we’ll have a diverse set of 80-100 mentors with broad representation across commercial real estate, leading proptech companies, angels, VCs, strategic investors and others to cover all aspects of our cohorts mentorship needs.
Our inaugural class of 10 proptech companies will have unprecedented access to industry leaders, which will help them overcome probabilistic early-stage hurdles (i.e. speculation if real estate customers will adopt emerging technologies and services) towards a more deterministic outcome. Through the Colliers leadership network and real estate introductions, we hope these will help provide the right contacts leading to commercial pilots, partnerships or contracts. As I’ve seen with Ritual, given the right context, these important connections can quickly put any startup on a path to becoming a global category leader.
Industry Timing and Techstars Global Network
Few sectors of the global economy can be characterized as “the last great bastion of the global economy that has not seen tech enabled disruption”. With a massive industry of over $220 trillion in global real estate asset value, timing is critical for startups and though some of the leading real estate players have been slow to adopt technology, we plan on moving quickly on this untapped opportunity. The proptech space has drawn the attention of venture and growth capital in very meaningful ways over the last few years. Investment in proptech startups surged to $9.8 billion in 2017, up from just $546 million in 2013. 2018 will be another record breaking year with top-tier VC’s already making bets and paying close attention.
Alongside a global network of Techstars mentors, we’ll work with you on your fundraising strategy and help you prepare to meet with potential investors, customers, partners and other key stakeholders. I’m excited to work with the broader Techstars team to pull together the most impressive list of mentors and investors proptech has seen to date!
Toronto and the Local Ecosystem
I was born and raised in Toronto though have spent nearly half of my career away from home, in both the U.S. and Europe, before recently returning home to Toronto. I’ve been fortunate to work and and live in countless cities and I can confidently say that Toronto is one of the best communities to build your company (as we did with Ritual). I’m thrilled to see Toronto emerge as one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in North America adding 22,500 tech jobs last year. Without going into too much depth here, I encourage you to read both the section on Toronto in the introduction of Colliers Proptech Accelerator (here) along with the announcement of the first Toronto Accelerator (here) which both articulate why Toronto is now one of the most important tech communities in North America and the global stage!
What we’ll work on together
If you’ve read this far, I hope you are as excited as I am!
You’ve likely sensed this by now, but I’ve made a purposeful decision throughout my career to solve and help others solve very ambitious challenges and that’s what really drives me. I have been humbled and found a deep appreciation working with others on both successes and failures.
Though I’ll be the MD of the Accelerator, more importantly, I hope to be a valuable partner for you in your upcoming journey. As I mentioned, I attribute much of my own success achieved throughout my career to having surrounded myself with some of the smartest and most talented people. I encourage you to do the same and leverage an amazing mentorship network along with a rare opportunity to help you find your own success.
The entire team and I are look forward to working with with you. Applications for the Colliers Proptech Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in Toronto are open now and close May 13th, 2018. Check out the Applications Toolkit and Apply today!