A key emerging trends in real estate, proptech is defined as all innovation at the intersection of real property and technology. It describes the changes in how we invest, operate, build and use real estate. As part of the ULI Symposium, a unique “conference on wheels,” the proptech segment of the event kicked off at Evergreen Brickworks with a keynote address by George Carras, CEO and founder of R-Labs. The tour was an exploration of ideas, local companies and personalities in the GTA leading the charge in the emerging proptech industry poised to disrupt the broader real estate industry.
Since 2014, disclosed funding for proptech has risen from $1.3 billion to $5.2 billion, indicating the rapid growth of the early stage real estate tech market. These tech companies aim to deliver solutions to address climate challenges impacting real estate, the “sharing” economy, and smart building construction, to name a few. The mandate for proptech is to harness technology not just for technology’s sake, but to use data to make informed human-centric decisions.
Led by Geoff Olsen, Director of Partnerships at Enwave, attendees were ushered to a tour bus to the next leg of the event at Sidewalk Labs’ Queens Quay location. Under Alphabet, the parent company of Google, the New York-based startup imagines a future where technology and urbanism unite to help create a world-class waterfront neighbourhood in Toronto. The directive to use technology to serve the public is inherent in Sidewalk Lab’s vision for a highly sophisticated smart neighbourhood in the city, one that is measured by a sensor network and served by progressive approaches to residential, retail, energy, and transportation solutions.