CREtech recently spoke with Colliers International Senior Vice President of Technology and Innovation, USA Jake Edens. In this role, Eden manages technology and innovation strategy for the U.S. business and works with business leaders and IT teams to create new applications for advisors and support staff to help his company build an organized and connected data ecosystem.
During the conversation, Edens addressed how he envisioned technology impacting the commercial real estate industry in the coming years.
“A couple of my favorite examples for technologies are still probably five to 10 years out is how autonomous vehicles will change the importance of, ‘location, location, location’ and how block chain will provide efficiency and liquidity by allowing investors to trade small ownership shares of individual assets,” he told CREtech.
Edens also discussed how his company is working to not just to keep up with, but stay ahead of the industry curve. The executive explained that Colliers has its attention on capturing and organizing more data (property, lease, debt, relationship to name a few) automatically through the company’s workflow and collaboration tools so it can offer specific insights from the deal and assist its clients in making better decisions.
“We want to not only know what is happening, but why it’s happening and have data to back it up,” Edens said.
Additionally, Edens shared how the Colliers Proptech Accelerator (powered by Techstars) would connect startups with experts worldwide to develop innovative and disruptive tech in the property and real estate industries. Startups can receive funding as part of their acceptance and will be hosted in Toronto, Colliers’ home city, for a 13-week program that will focus on developing and accelerating their business plans and transformational ideas.
The accelerator will run during the fourth quarter of 2018. The three-month intensive program will end with a Demo Day, where the Proptech startups will pitch their businesses to hundreds of global investors.
CREtech concluded its chat with Edens by inquiring about how tech companies can best position themselves to partner with the major commercial real estate services firms. Edens explained that any startup or company that wants to make a difference has to be able to show it can bring value to individual professionals. If a technology can show it has value, it will find its way to the bigger corporate entities, according to Edens.
“Ultimately, if it helps the advisors on the ground deliver better service to clients, the technology will be embraced,” he told CREtech. “It’s also important to understand how technology fits into the larger vision of large commercial real estate services firms. Colliers, as an example, is looking for technologies and solutions that will integrate into existing datasets and workflows. We want connectivity and collaboration, not siloed information.”