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The publication "Firestarters" offers guidance through the proptech jungle. Photo: elenabsl / Shutterstock. The publication "Firestarters" offers guidance through the proptech jungle. Photo: elenabsl / Shutterstock.

An idiot’s guide to PropTech

Judi Seebus
Judi Seebus
Editor in Chief, PropertyEU

Even the proptech dummies amongst us can see that the role of the real estate industry is changing thanks to the accelerating pace of new technological developments.  But why are these technologies developing so fast, how are they impacting on our built environment and what are the implications for the various actors in the real estate industry? Two even more fundamental questions are: what are the key technologies that are transforming our industry and who are the most promising proptech start-ups to watch? These are some of the questions that the PropertyEU editorial team aims to answer in our new publication Firestarters.


Innovative Startups Battle at EXPO REAL 2018

The first edition has been made possible by our founding sponsors REIN (Real Estate Innovation Network, an initiative of EXPO REAL) and Union Investment. Both REIN and Union Investment are doing great work in providing direction in the proptech jungle. For the Startup Battlefield that REIN will be hosting again this year in Munich, the 25 most promising proptech companies in Europe have been divided into five categories:


  1. Invest: Real estate investment and financing
  2. Market: Buying and selling as well as renting
  3. Plan & Build: Solution for building planning, and process optimisation in building and intelligent materials
  4. Smart City & Work: Intelligent solutions for connecting urban functions and new workplace solutions, co-working, and supporting systems
  5. Manage & operate: New technologies in the management of buildings and processes


The 25 finalists were chosen in May this year during a two-day event in Berlin from a preliminary selection of over 1,600 candidates. They will pitch their product in front of thousands of people during the finale of the Real Estate Innovation Contest 2018 at EXPO REAL in October.

While the Start-up Battlefield is a key event on the REIN agenda, it is not the only reason why the platform is gaining traction across the European real estate industry.  Thomas Herr, head of digital innovation at CBRE EMEA puts it this way: ‘What I like about REIN is that it is driven by the right thinking: the goal is to pool the power of the big corporates with tech start-ups to provide a forum where they can offer fresh and affordable ideas.’


Networking is key for PropTech Companies

Herr is by no means alone in his support for the REIN initiative. In an interview with Firestarters, Andreas Arndt, CEO of pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, noted that initiatives such as REIN provide support in multiple ways. ‘They allow for established players to connect with new and probably more innovative players. In addition, such networks facilitate the exchange between traditional corporates from different steps in the real estate value chain. This is very important, because digitalization goes beyond automation of single processes within a company and can support the day to day interactions in our business. In that sense, the network can form the basis for meaningful standardizations in exchanging information.’

PropertyEU sees a lot of misunderstanding and uncertainty in this nascent but booming segment of the property industry. We also see it as our task to provide the necessary guidance to our readers. A key section in the magazine – ‘An Idiot’s Guide to Proptech’ – focuses on the main technologies set to transform the real estate industry in clear language dotted by practical examples. Firestarters is a 100% PropertyEU publication, working in the tradition of bringing transparency to the European property sector from an independent source. The magazine will be available at EXPO REAL and we look forward to your feedback.

At EXPO REAL 2018 join the Real Estate Innovation Forum in Hall A1. Learn about technologic progress and new developments in the property industry via thrilling speeches and discussions, including concrete action plans. Moreover, the Real Estate Innovation Network presents you 25 hand-picked top start-ups from the sectors „Invest“, „Market“, „Plan & Build“, „Manage & Operate“ as well as „Smart-City & Work“. Meet further digital pioneers at Tech Alley. Profit from the prop tech trend and get your ticket to EXPO REAL 2018 now.

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