When buying a piece of real estate, there is much more that goes into the process than a simple financial transaction. It can be exceptionally complicated and time consuming; involving property zoning, compliance inspections, and seemingly endless contracts and affidavits. There is a new category of products, websites, and mobile apps known as “proptech” that is designed to streamline and modernize the cumbersome process of browsing, buying, and building real estate. Proptech is short for property technology and is sometimes referred to as real estate technology. It can extend to smart building technology, space management, and architecture . 2014 saw the highest number of proptech company launches in the last decade, at 255 new companies in that year alone . Commercial property is the top type of real estate asset that proptech startup CEOs have chosen to focus on.

The Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank was responsible for at least 1.76 billion U.S. dollars in funding for various real estate tech companies in 2018. The largest of these, Katerra, received about 865 million U.S. dollars in investment. In 2017 alone, over 13 billion U.S. dollars were invested in various proptech companies worldwide. This figure has since dropped to about five billion U.S. dollars as of 2018. One proptech website, Propy.com, is a listing site that specializes in removing barriers to real estate purchases. In 2017, it received about 16 million U.S. dollars of funding in cryptocurrencies, a practice known as initial coin offering which is becoming increasingly popular.

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of real estate tech deals worldwide has increased consistently from year to year, amounting to 454 deals as of 2018 . The average value of these deals has also seen a strong increase in that time period, rising from three million U.S. dollars in 2014 to about 16.7 million U.S. dollars in 2018.

The influx of proptech startups has serious and exciting implications for the real estate industry. A 2018 survey of commercial real estate capital investors found that 65 percent of respondents expect proptechs to have a significant influence on commercial real estate worldwide . According to the same survey, about 31 percent of commercial real estate investors plan to invest in proptech companies , and 26 percent plan to partner with proptech companies in order to cash in on this innovative new class of technology. Some of the most disruptive innovations that proptech is responsible for are smart building technologies, pre-fabrication of buildings, and building information modeling (BIM).


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