We are living a constant digital evolution, where practically all sectors have suffered it and from which there is no turning back. Companies we adored as omniscient, immovable, and indestructible totems turned out not to be those deities immune to the fierce competition of evolution.
As an example, ten years ago, the cover of the prestigious Forbes magazine was dedicated to Nokia and read; "Nokia, 1.000 million customers, who dares with the telephony giant?" Ten years later, Nokia's ordeal and its loss of market share to ostracism is something we all know. In just a decade, they went from a market share of 41% to just 0,4% in 2017. Its CEO, Stephen Elop, defined Nokia's decline in the following sentence: “We did nothing wrong but we lost”. Ten years later, we might think that they were not agile enough when it came to going from Cell Phone to Smart Phone, which is what the global market demanded and demands.
For us, the change that is coming is from Real Estate to Digital Real Estate. Our business, real estate, will not be an exception. Fifteen years ago and with the skepticism of many, the Idealista website appeared in Spain, today no one thinks of buying or selling a house in Spain without first going through Idealista, Fotocasa or the like, even if only to take the pulse of the market and have comparable prices. Such is the success of this real estate digitization that we already have more than forty real estate portals, “Market Place” or “Peer to Peer” on the Spanish Proptech map and with almost two hundred technology companies dedicated to different areas of the real estate sector, a figure that increases month by month.
But what are Proptech? They are the new digital companies or Startups that with their technological component and their disruptive digital vision are transforming the real estate business.
But what are Proptech? They are the new digital companies or Startups that with their technological component and their disruptive digital vision are transforming the real estate business. This new universe or ecosystem accommodates numerous companies or projects, which with their new business approach are transforming the real estate sector. Activities such as the sale, investment, commercialization, management of real estate assets, analysis of "Big Data" data or financing, practically each one of the subsectors or specializations of Real Estate, has or will have its own version 2.0 or Proptech model.
The evolution of the real estate sector is not limited to the well-known and already commented real estate portals of sale, today and from the comfort of our sofa we can obtain an assessment of our house, sell it, visit a new property with virtual reality as if We were inside the house, even before it is finished, obviously we can buy it, we can follow the evolution of the construction in real time and choose the finishes through augmented reality. The entire real estate cycle of a sale is already available in the Proptech ecosystem, where you can even pay for houses with Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.
These small and disruptive new companies need to coexist and grow hand in hand with the big giants of the sector.
But the Proptech, not only live by and for the finalist private user, but day by day they are expanding and becoming more sophisticated, accessing all the targets in the sector.
Private real estate investors also have their place in this new market, there are platforms that allow, through “Crowfunding” or collective financing, that any citizen can access a market until now exclusive and restricted to large assets.
Professional investors, such as Investment Funds, Socimis, Insurers ... have in Proptech an excellent opportunity to increase the value of their assets and the attractiveness for their tenants, from data analysis to driving experiences with innovative projects such as Citibox lockers that serve to improve the online shopping experience by leaving your purchases in your own building without depending on third parties. Many large owners are already installing them in their buildings, thus offering their tenants added value to the user experience.
Thanks to all these changes and constant evolution, the digital transformation of a traditional market such as real estate is already a reality. The application of technology by Proptech in this sector is offering answers in a shorter time, more efficiently and much more innovative.
The collection and analysis of "Big Data" data is giving us the possibility to identify the market needs, before the user knows them, this anticipation of the market is turning many Proptech and their data into the new "ElDorado ”. Publications such as TheEconomist, this year have already highlighted on their covers that the most valuable Resource in the world is "Big Data". Those who know how to analyze it and, above all, implement it, will have won the race of the Real Estate digital revolution.
These small and disruptive new companies need to coexist and grow hand in hand with the great giants of the sector, an exciting cycle to which we can apply the Deusto Business School fable of “The elephant and the gazelle that want to dance together”. Where gazelles are emerging companies and elephants are incumbent companies, and only thanks to joint work will the former be able to innovate and be more competitive and the latter achieve high levels of scalability. Seen what was seen and quoting Alice in Wonderland, “We have to believe in impossible things more often. Only then will we be prepared for when they come true ”and real estate will not be the exception.