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JLL Spark & Concrete VC Announce EMEA PropTech Hunt

By Phil Butler | March 12, 2019

The global brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) announced this month launching a search for real estate technology in the Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA). In partnership with UK investing advisers Concrete VC, JLL's proptech investment arm JLL Spark, are to identify the most relevant startups in which to invest in the coming months.

JLL Spark

As part of their new partnership, Concrete VC will continue to evaluate commercial real estate technology startups for JLL Spark, in order to identify the best candidates for JLL investing. Mihir Shah, co-CEO of JLL Spark, offered this statement:

“We’re thrilled to partner with Concrete VC to uncover and invest in the best proptech startups in Europe. We’re looking forward to increasing our investment in Europe and connecting those startups with the customers and resources they need to grow and scale in commercial real estate.”

Regarding the EMEA move, JLL will relegate funds for Concrete VC to deploy to companies that will most benefit in their particular markets. So far, JLL Spark has made 10 investments since its launch in 2017, ranging from a few hundred thousand to several million dollars, in companies including Dealpath, Jones, Hubble, Skyline AI, Honest Buildings, HqO and Vergesense.

In recent EMEA PropTech news, the Coyote platform meshed a partnership with Nimbus Maps and WiredScore to provide clients with market insight and intelligence on owned assets and investment opportunities. On that deal, Concrete VC's Chris Stephenson had this to say:

"I think we could see the potential for consolidation of disparate companies that are specializing where they’re coming together into either combined offerings, partnerships, or mergers that become larger and do more for the client so they’re not just single purpose. I expect when that happens there will be great investment into those.”

On the flipside, EMEA startups face significant obstacles on their road to viability and business success. A joint study by Union Investment and GTEC based on a survey of 100 PropTech startups revealed the following general obstacles startup teams face:

• Slow and cumbersome decision-making processes are a primary obstacle
• Building use phase offers the biggest potential for cooperation
• Building performance benefits the most from Technology

Jörn Stobbe, Chief Operating Officer of Union Investment Real Estate GmbH framed the issues for the study:

“Regulations, IT security and documentation requirements, combined with a myriad of prescribed processes, all create an obstacle course for startups which hinders cooperation with established real estate companies.”

The point here is that global players, VC firms, and others in the PropTech success matrix must lend not only financial backing to this startup ecosystem, but their business and legal expertise as well. The bottom line is, EMEA PropTech startups without such expertise stand very little chance of succeeding. So, JLL's moved into the region is good news for technology innovators in Europe and the Middle East aimed at boosting real estate tech.

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
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