Collaboration, the future of PropTech?

Collaboration and consolidation are among the most essential methods for providing property professionals with the best possible products and services. It’s my belief that continued reluctance to partake in this conversation goes against the core purpose of PropTech.

When I was working at M7 Real Estate, I was a technologist within a property firm at a time when that was still pretty strange. The firm sensed early on that change was coming and started to investigate how they could best place technology at the heart of their business. This was 2009, and there was literally nothing out there and what little there was, wasn’t good enough to buy.

The only way was to build something for ourselves, and that’s where the seeds of Coyote were sewn. Today, our platform is still built around the core lessons that I learned whilst working at M7; every feature solves a genuine real-world problem. A desire to make something quicker, better and an ultimate belief ‘there had to be a better way’. Without this collaboration between technology and traditional property, we would never have garnered this knowledge, and our platform would be weaker for it.

Today, there is still wide reluctance, in PropTech, to work together. I worry that, if this continues, we risk killing something special.

Problems solved; problems born

PropTech is delivering astonishing innovation on an almost weekly basis; ours is a broad and wildly varied industry. My main focus, however, is data, so it’s within this context I’ll make my point.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that PropTech has solved and reintroduced similar variations of the same problem.

It used to be that data and information around property was inaccessible at best and unavailable at worst. When PropTech first started to truly establish itself as an industry, it carried with it the ability to capture, analyse and report on every aspect of the industry, providing invaluable insight into performance and market activity.

However, in the years since, a bounty of new companies, all with their own methods for extracting value from data, have entered the market. Because of this, although data is indeed more valuable and accessible than it has ever been, there are now so many different companies providing various incompatible datasets, all of which contain different versions of the truth.

If our industry’s ultimate goal is to provide the best possible solutions to property professionals, conflicting data from competing companies goes against that and contributes to a foggy landscape that is increasingly difficult to navigate.

There’s nothing to fear about a common goal

When PropTech was young, it was understandable that companies were keen to keep their cards close to their chest. We didn’t really know what PropTech was yet, unaware of its true potential. That meant that any good idea had the potential to be the industry defining idea.

But that’s not the case anymore, and it’s frustrating that many industry leaders still seem reluctant to share their work and consider the ways in which teaming up might be mutually beneficial.

This is especially strange when two companies share similar qualities, audiences, and goals. Together, they can surely achieve more and, at the same time, contribute to decluttering the PropTech ecosystem.

We did it with it Realla by partnering with them in order to enable data to flow easily between our platforms. We did so because we both have one common goal; to provide the best possible service and insight for our clients.

Coyote & Realla; together

There is a natural synergy between Coyote and Realla. We both believe that openness and the free-flow of data between systems is the future.

Ultimately, this empowers them to make more astute and timely decisions on investment and leasing events.

Without collaboration, all we are destined to do is analyse and re-analyse our own datasets, creating a narrow picture which, over time, spirals concentrically to a pinpoint. Without being truly open, the value of data disappears.

The future of PropTech, and therefore property, is dependant on open-mindedness, open-data, and open-conversation. This agenda is now being championed by industry bodies like the UKPA and the RICS, and to me personally, that’s nothing but great news.

If PropTech is something you love doing then what’s more fun than finding like-minded people to push you, teach you, and learn from you? Because, at its essence, that’s all we’re really talking about here.

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