Carolina Wachtmeister, the current Head of Digital Transformation and Service Development at Newsec, is a business development professional. Carolina has experience in real estate, proptech, financial services and fintech. Carolina is also a Partner in Stronghold Invest, an active investment company and owner of Newsec, with a long-term view and an entrepreneurial culture. During her past tenure, Carolina invested much time in analyzing the property market and understanding the technological innovations within the space. In her current role, she is focusing on supporting Newsec with developing and digitizing their offering by leveraging technology to future-proof its operations.
In conversation with Proptech Outlook Europe magazine, Carolina shares her insights into the ever-evolving space of real estate and property investments, with digitization as the cornerstone of property management. “The property industry is gradually maturing and understanding the benefits of digitization. It will be important going forward that companies find their core to understand what to build versus buy, i.e build partnerships to establish core competencies in integrating solutions and technologies,” mentions Carolina.
What are some of the roadblocks and the emerging trends in the Proptech space today?
Previously, the Proptech space struggled with market access. Despite several promising startups and trustworthy solutions, it has always been an obstacle to access the right solutions to bring much-needed transformation and growth. Our industry has historically underinvested in IT and digitization, which has led to the industry being laggard in terms of investing in IT and digitization. Furthermore, the real estate and property management sector is at an early stage and somewhat struggle in finding the balance between buy, build, and identify their core strengths. Other industries have been through these phases where they have found their core competences and partnered with best of breed solutions. The property management sector is taking steps toward adopting new technologies into their workflow and operations. In order to accelerate this, companies need to stay close to their vision and strategy and allow digital solutions and technology to be enablers of the strategy and vision.
The real estate industry is facing a huge technology transformation, and it has become incumbent for companies to align the transformation and technology roadmap to their existing strategies. It is also beneficial to visualizing incremental steps and creating value along the way so as to foster change and innovation.
Despite being a slow adopter of technologies, the largest asset class shows huge potential in terms of value creation. This deepened interest in new technologies has been heightened by the expansive emphasis on sustainability, where technology creates opportunities to support the transition to more sustainable buildings, along with tenant experience as its subset. While there are several enablers of change, including connected buildings, concepts, data enablement, data sharing, and automation technologies, companies view sustainability as their priority in their agenda going forward.
Please elaborate on the technologies that impact the Proptech space.
In my opinion, there are three major trends that drive change, that is sustainability, tenant experience and data. Then there are enablers for this, such as sensors and IoT, data enablement and automation technologies. These innovations enable the seamless communication of building data by property managers and real estate professionals, which can then be utilized for improving their operations and processes. Another big change within the proptech space is being driven by automation technology. This helps employees focus on the core value drivers and eliminates the need for tedious, mundane tasks.
Digitalization within the proptech space also enables the provisioning of value creating services for tenants, which ultimately can increase operating profits.
What should be the right approach to identifying the solution providers and partners within the industry?
I would say the most important aspect to keep in mind is to truly understand the company’s existing capabilities and know what needs to be incorporated to make it better. This, in turn, helps to have a better dialogue with the solution provider or partner. For the partner, it is critical to take heed of the real estate market, the key value drivers, and the core problems to truly address the property owners’ and managers’ issues.
As a property management firm ourselves, we are heavily invested in improving the core processes by digitizing them. We are also looking at bringing in newer solutions and platforms for future-proofing property management. With a future-oriented outlook, we urge companies to have the right know-how to access data and get valuable insights from the property. In effect, we have also introduced a collaboration platform for us and our clients to push new solutions and improve our property management workflows and services.
What does the future hold for the Proptech space?
There are many improvements that mark key milestones in the proptech space with exponential growth in funding volumes and the number of budding startups in the industry. The coming years might witness more consolidation as well as increased cooperation between traditional real estate companies and tech startups. As property management keeps evolving, companies must focus on improving the use of data and new software for moving forward into more contemporary dimensions of proptech with speed.