I am still amazed at last week’s CRE//Tech event in New York City. I have been attending the events since the beginning and it’s tremendous to see how far this organization has come in such a short time.
In the beginning, the tech companies dominated the speaking panels. At that time, it was important for them to have a platform to discuss and describe their products because no one in the industry knew how tech could impact real estate.
I stood out like a sore thumb in my suit and tie. I was a target (potential customer) for each tech company and I was bombarded at times as one of the few brokers in the room. I learned about each one and even decided to use a few in my practice. Back then, a personal highlight was seeing VTS and Hightower square off as they were usually near each other as exhibitors. Today, they are one company.
I didn’t want other brokers at the event. I wanted the knowledge of what was coming next all to myself.
That’s all changed.
CRE//Tech is now a movement. It’s a community.
This community knows that every win for the community makes the next win that much easier. A successful funding round for one will lead to the next for someone else. I won’t even talk about what a successful exit or IPO would mean for the sector.
The crowd of almost 700 people was by far the largest crowd I have ever seen at a CRE tech event, including landlords, brokers, corporate real estate executives, and tech companies. Not only was I not the only broker in the room, but I wasn’t even the oldest broker in the room. Because there were so many other potential customers, I had to seek out tech companies to speak to rather than them approaching me.
Regarding the content, the speakers were simply amazing!
Without going into too much detail, one panel was more interesting than the next. My personal favorite was the VC panel, which included a few of my friends, Brad Greiwe and Jason Berman. The VC’s are the ones that see every deal. They know what’s coming next. To hear this panel talk about what they’ve invested in recently and where they see the industry headed was very cool.
Also, a highlight was the broker panel which included Chandra Dhandapani, CBRE’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer, as well as her peers from JLL, Colliers, and Cushman & Wakefield. To have all of these leaders on one panel, sharing freely, really speaks to the movement of our industry. While they are all competitors, they know a rising tide lifts all boats.
As a fan of the sector and an investor, my mindset has shifted. I want everyone to attend these events. I want our industry to move forward at a faster pace. I want my clients to realize the information that’s available to them, at their fingertips, at a moment’s notice. The adoption of tech will raise the level of service landlords provide tenants, brokers provide their clients, and most importantly, companies provide their employees.
If you attended a CRE//Tech event in the past, but didn’t attend this year’s event, I urge to attend next year when there will be eight events throughout the country. The event will be unrecognizable. The content, the exhibitors, and most importantly, the culture and vibe has shifted. The industry is moving forward at a rapid pace and CRE//Tech is the way to stay on top of what’s coming next.