We are kicking off our 2022’s series of interviews with a talk with Jakob Stoumann, Hub Director at PropTech Denmark. Jakob describes himself as “an anthropologist, ‘hub specialist’ and entrepreneurial business developer working with regional development, innovation, startup ecosystems, and newtech.” 

He is currently leading PropTech Denmark’s efforts to accelerate and nurture innovation and transformation in real estate, as well as being in the board of PropTech-related organisations such as Nordic Innovation House, Digital Hub Denmark, and the European PropTech Association. 

Main takeaways from our interview with Jakob Stoumann:

  • The PropTech industry is growing towards its maturity and 2022 will bring many new investments
  • There isn’t a future for real estate without proptech
  • The future of work is hybrid

Jakob Stoumann is an experienced professional deeply involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He has been working closely with many proptech companies and thinks that this industry has just started maturing.

In 2022, from his point of view, we should see an increasing amount of investments (A, B and C series). 

We will also see an increase in mergers and acquisitions generated partly by established service providers buying proptechs to strengthen their service offers, but also by a beginning consolidation where some of the larger and more successful proptechs take over smaller proptechs with stand-alone solutions.    

For those who are fond of this growing industry and are thinking about just starting their proptech company, Jakob’s piece of advice is to focus on finding a key problem,  pain point or unexploited potential in the real estate sector, where digital solutions make it possible and profitable to do something about it. 

He adds that exploiting an untapped potential for real estate players should mix with a deep understanding of the workings and structures of commercial real estate, as well as the role of the many different players in the value chain.

The equation of a strong proptech startup then also includes two elements:

  • PropTech Associations – it is always a good idea to join your local proptech association to get access to real estate knowledge and network. In this sector, it is all about network.
  • Innovation – which shouldn’t be summed up just to invent new things. “The core is really about ‚Implementation’ – the ability to actually use and implement new ideas, solutions, systems and business models in your organisation in practice,” he says.

But the thing is that while this sector still has some steps to take until complete maturity, we can already foresee a future where real estate won’t thrive or even survive without technology. 

Some real estate companies might be slower in adapting to the new digital reality than others. But digitisation is such a pervasive force making it impossible not to be impacted by it sooner or later – also in real estate. It might sound a bit cliché-like but really it is digitise or die

Real estate companies that have already started to integrate technologies in their processes focus on various types of solutions. We see new platforms, apps, AI, or VR-enhanced products or software emerging in all parts of the value chain. Are some of them more impactful than others?

Some of the areas, where we are seeing the greatest interest right now are solutions related to tenant experiences & communication, ESG and energy management, hybrid workspaces and automation of property and asset management processes and reporting.   

These are also the areas where we have the most low-hanging fruits and/or pressure from users, clients and society as such for better and digitally supported services and solutions. 

The aforementioned ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals are most than just a buzzword in real estate. Given the current social reality and the massive climate changes we are witnessing, real estate is focusing more and more on achieving these goals. And proptech can help.

There are already many well-tested proptech solutions on the market that can help real estate cut energy consumption quite easily with 10-25%. And this without compromising comfort and indoor climate. 

However, right now one of the most contributions of proptech is that new IoT and AI based solutions enable building owners, operators and users to measure energy use and CO2 emissions much more precisely – and in real time. 

Good data is really the foundation for doing something about the problem. If you can’t measure it – you can’t manage it. 

But proptech also plays a central role in integrating renewable energy sources in our buildings, in delivering climate-neutral construction processes and materials and in enabling a truly circular real estate economy.   

How are we working in 2022? 

Moving our conversation from proptech to the future of work, we wanted to know what 2022 has in store when it comes to work trends. Are offices still valid, will people prefer flex spaces or their own homes more? 

The key answer to all of these questions? Hybrid working and hybrid workspaces.

Offices will still be in demand, no doubt, – but how and when we use them will change. And in order to manage our increasingly hybrid workplaces and hybrid workforces, we increasingly need digital solutions. Both for adding an online virtual layer to our physical workspaces – but also in making it easier and more seamless to manage, access and use our physical offices, when we need them.  

To conclude our interview, we kindly asked Jakob to tell us what should we expect from PropTech Denmark in 2022.

First of all, we are working hard in preparing and developing a load of member events for 2022. We are among others planning deep dives into data-driven decision-making in real estate, better tenant experiences, co-living & new residential concepts, efficient & sustainable construction processes, the future of real estate financing, and much more.

In spring we will also bring you the biggest and most important real estate innovation event in Denmark and the Nordics – PropTech Symposium 2022, where we will dig into how new disruptive technologies, innovative business models, a rapid growing ESG-agenda and the inevitable race towards carbon zero is impacting and changing real estate just now! It will be a mixture of first-class networking opportunities, inspirational talks, and thought-provoking debates.

Finally, we are also intensifying our work to bring new proptech insights and inspiration to our community. Very soon we will publish Danish PropTech Report 2022 bringing exclusive insights and key statistics on digital transformation in real estate and the Danish proptech scene. 

As a brand new initiative, we are also preparing a proptech catalogue targeted at established real estate players, with an overview of proptech-solutions and proptech companies in Denmark.

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