July 27 UrbanTech Newsletter


Data Is Transforming the
Commercial Real Estate Market

Real estate giants like JLL, CBRE, Newmark, and others are adapting to a new environment in which they are no longer the primary arbiters of market data in the commercial real estate sector. Tech companies with large transaction volume and innovative data collection methods are offering an alternative. In response, large CRE brokerages have diversified their businesses, rolling out advisory services for their clients and moving into areas like property management that are less cyclical than the data-dependent brokerage side of the business.  

The catalyst of these shifts dates back to 1987, when CoStar began amassing data. CoStar collected data the old-fashioned way: by talking to brokers and landlords, taking photos and looking at building tenant rosters. A few years after, CompStak entered the market, providing CRE data using a crowd-funding approach to gather information. That data is worth a lot to brokers. CoStar doubled its income in the most recent quarter and has been trading above $400. CRE tech startups like ReonomyCherre, and others have raised millions to collect, resolve, augment, and deliver data to companies through APIs. 

Now, VTS is launching a tool of its own that amalgamates things like average base rents, tour activity, what kinds of industries are looking and average transaction times for different sectors. Ten-X also recently launched a dashboard that provides data about the asset and comparables for brokers. As data proliferates, the role of brokers will change drastically. The historically hyper-local world of commercial real estate that relied on personal connections for data will be replaced by a much faster-moving commercial marketplace where those with the best data will be able to act on the best deals.  

What We're Reading


  • Chinese have been on a buying spree for the past few years, propping up prices and infusing cash into the US real estate market. Now, for the first time, they have become net sellers of commercial property. 
  • Urbanization is central to human flourishing, and cities have become the engines of growth and innovation across the globe. 
  • Toronto added more tech jobs in the past 5 years than Silicon Valley, according to a new report by CBRE. Toronto is among the best values for tech firms, with cheaper labor and cheaper real estate, as well as a well-educated workforce. 
  • Parking has eaten America's cities, accounting for astronomical costs and wasted space. 
  • Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explains why he is bullish on e-Bikes and scooters. 
  • An astounding amount of traffic congestion comes from cars cruising for parking and cars that have double parked. Sidewalk Labs startup Coord is providing more accessible data about curbs and what you can do on them. 
  • NYC has passed a law that will regulate NYC host activity to stop people from operating illegal hotels. 
  • One founder makes a case for data-driven city planning

Real Estate

  • Felix Homes is part of a trend of new brokerage models. The startup guarantees that a seller will be able to offload their house. If Felix cannot find a buyer within 90 days, the startup purchases the house at an agreed upon price.  
  • WeWork has launched a brokerage service to help companies find office space if traditional WeWork offices are not a fit. 
  • Read about Blokable's quest to disrupt prefab and to solve the affordable housing crisis. 
  • The team at Cadre gives an assessment of the competitive, low-yield real estate investment market, suggesting a more defensive, yield-oriented investing strategy. 
  • Mark Smukler of Bixby discusses tenant retention and how property managers can become better at communicating with their tenants. 
  • Enertiv is using data to streamline building operations, eliminate expenses, and improve tenant comfort. 
  • Over 5 million renters have lost money in rental scams. Scammers pose as landlords of vacant properties and receive deposits from would-be renters. 
  • Softbank senior investor Justin Wilson gives some insight into what guide's their real estate investment decisions: "When we look at businesses, we want to find opportunities of companies that are really leveraging data extensively and in everything that they’re doing. We want to invest in platform businesses.” 
  • Here are 7 tech tools that are helpful for real estate investing. 
  • Overstock.com is moving into real estate with Houserie, which provides a retail destination for property managers and landlords. 


Branch Technology  has built  the world's largest 3D printed sculpture

Branch Technology has built the world's largest 3D printed sculpture


  • ConstructionDive provides a list of articles about the future of construction job sites, including topics like sensors, storm-resilient sites, connected equipment, drones, AI, and safety tools. 
  • Read about Knowify, a top-rated construction app (and Dreamit UrbanTech alum!) that automates the field side of construction with features like time clocking, field purchasing and reimbursement tools, work orders, and photo sharing. 
  • Proptech areas like virtual reality, drones, and blockchain have the potential to unlock land and opportunities for much-needed housing. 
  • Luxury buildings are spending big bucks on lighting to draw in tenants and guests for commercial spaces. 
  • China has created a skyscraper with a massive waterfall that costs $118 per hour to operate.


  • Seattle based storage startup Livible raised $16M in funding led by Global Logistics. 

Upcoming Events

Disrupt CRE San Francisco | September 13 | Register for this event with panels on the state of CRE Tech, how buildings are using CRE tech products, and more. Register

AI and Truth | September 18 | Part one of an event series at New Lab exploring technology, humanity and the future with Manoush Zomorodi. The Radicant brings together experts across disciplines to discuss pressing issues we face collectively as a species related to emerging technology. More

CRE Tech Chicago | October 18 | Michael Beckerman and the team at CREtech are heading to Chicago with proptech industry leaders. More

BuiltWorlds Hackathon | Chicago | October 19-21 | Developers, makers, and built industry experts gather to hack solutions to burning built world problems. More

BuiltTech Week | Atlanta | October 22-24 | This conference brings together hundreds of AEC and technology startups, innovative corporate professionals, and investors to explore the latest in the built environment. More

CRE Tech Virtual Demo Day | November 6 at 12 PM ET | Watch as some of the most innovative startups in commercial real estate pitch their products. More

Built Worlds Venture West Conference in Palo Alto | November 8 | This full-day event brings together the world's leading startups and investors focused on the built environment. More 

NHHC OpTech | November 14-16 | This is one of the premier events for what's on the horizon for the multifamily sector and property operations and technology. More

Open Jobs