It is that time of year again. The sunbathers on the white sand beaches at Cannes, France are temporarily replaced with an army of formally dressed property professionals from around the world. Reed MIDEM’s MIPIM in Cannes is the largest property event in the world. It draws over 24,000 participants from 100 countries and has around 215,000 square feet of exhibition space.
While this event has primarily been about property markets it is starting to convert more and more space and seminar time to PropTech. After all, many of the changes happening in cities around the world has to do with the rapid adoption of new technologies that have allowed for paradigm shifts like shared ownership, connected citizens and the internet of everything.
One of the major topic so far has been the “Reinvention” of cities. In one of the keynote events mayors from cities like Paris, Milan and Oslo talked about how they set out to reinvent their cities. There was a lot of talk about the growing public concern for issues like climate change coupled with stories of major pushback from certain stakeholders for certain “green” initiatives. One of the most memorable quotes about this push and pull between investors and the good of the citizens was made by Raymond Johansen, the Mayor of Oslo when he said, “The market is perfect as a servant, but not as a master.” Oslo is showcasing its efforts at MIPIM in the area of environmental improvements and combatting climate change.
In addition to some forward looking informational sessions about everything from hospitality to healthcare, a PropTech startup competition was held. The event, in partnership with New York City-based PropTech accelerator MetaProp, was the final battle between startups from around the world that won competitions at preliminary events held in New York, London and Hong Kong.
Ryan Baxter, Vice President at The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and one of last year’s jury members told Propmodo, “This next generation of innovators is accelerating the paradigm shift of how we build, use, improve, and analyze the built environment. I’m glad I didn’t have to judge this year because the field was so crowded with mind-blowing companies that I would have had a tough time choosing a favorite.”
While the competition was strong, three winners emerged. The first prize went to Disruptive Technologies, a company that makes some of the world’s smallest intelligent sensors. “Many commercial real estate companies still use first generation sensor technology or even manual processes to manage building temperature, layout, and maintenance schedules,” said Disruptive Technologies’ CEO, Erik Fossum Færevaag. “When hundreds of mini-sensors can be installed within hours and have embedded connectivity and batteries that last for 15 years, suddenly, the return on investment for moving to an automated, IoT-based solution comes much faster.”
Second place in the startup competition went to Workwell, which offers an all-in-one app for building owners to offer tenants one-touch access to dozens of different amenities and services that seamlessly integrate with their platform. Third place went to PHYSEE, whose next generation glazing technology can fit out glass curtain walls with photovoltaic, sensor enabled windows that generate immense amounts of both energy and data while offering owners a near-immediate return on their investment.
According to James Dearsley, a partner in PropTech Consult and one of the startup competition jury members, there was a marked improvement in this year’s finalists compared to 2017. “The pitches were more succinct and with clear value propositions,” remarked Dearsley. “It was a close run competition but Disruptive Technologies had the edge with significant scale and clear IP around their sensor technology,” he added.
As demonstrated by the popular startup competition, MIPIM has been increasingly engaging with the PropTech community worldwide. In fact, as this year’s event draws to a close, organizers are already full steam ahead on a dedicated conference to be held in Paris in June: MIPIM PropTech Europe. And this October, for the third year in a row, the US real estate community can look forward to MIPIM PropTech NYC in partnership with MetaProp.