Property Events: A week in tweets

Posted on 21 September 2016 by Susan Freeman

Movers and Shakers

We hosted our first IPF Next Generation event, featuring a high powered panel discussing the changes on the horizon in the world of proptech, chaired by Julian Carey, Managing Director of C2 Capital. The panel included:

Ian Thomas, Co-founder of Lendinvest – the world’s first online lender of property finance offering greater speed and efficiency in the mortgage market.
It is one of the fastest growing financial services in the UK and since inception it’s lent over £700 million on over £1 billion worth of assets.

Ian spoke about starting up a prop-tech business, the challenges, and how he sees the future as an operator and entrepreneur in this space.

Dominic Wilson, Co-founder and Managing Director of Pi Labs. An ex lawyer,
Dominic launched Pi Labs in 2014 having spotted an opportunity to create a property focused venture capital business looking at prop-tech businesses.

Pi Labs creates an ecosystem for a cohort of new prop-tech businesses which it nurtures and supports over the first six months by funding them up to their series A funding rounds.

Oli Gaymond, Product Manager at Google. He joined Google in 2010 and has worked in London and Zurich and across different parts of the business including
YouTube, search and ads before moving to his current role as a Product Manager in Android ware.

His job is to build pervasive computing experiences, such as finding ways for people to use computers to changing the way that
we interact and behave in day-to-day life and business.
He spoke about future trends in tech and provided an insight into Google’s predictions for the next 10 years.

Wilson fundamentally sees technology as democratising the value chain. He said that proptech  is becoming more and more mainstream. He was just back from Singapore and Malaysia meeting with investors and sovereign wealth funds, and very large property companies operating in those markets, are desperate for some sort of tech assistance. But, conversely, in the tech sense they are quite behind London as they are very big real estate markets, but they are aware of the future potential of what prop tech could do for them as a business.

A member of the audience asked whether service providers like agents and lawyers are paying enough attention to prop tech and whether they are investing enough money and time in it, to which Wilson replied:

"Well Mishcon certainly are!" –  we clearly gave the right impression!

Gaymond said, in his opinion, that machine learning is going to transform everything. At Google, it is already in use across the entire business. So if you want to prepare your businesses for the change that’s coming, you should really be looking at the areas of your business today that have a lot of rote, manual tasks. Machine learning, he said, is going to be transformational – there is no question about that, the only question is how far and how deep it goes and how we can push it:"machine learning will be more about enabling humans to focus on higher value tasks".

Oli Gaymond, Product Manager at Google. He joined Google in 2010 and has worked in London and Zurich and across different parts of the business including YouTube, search and ads before moving to his current role as a Product Manager in Android ware. His job is to build pervasive computing experiences, such as finding ways for people to use computers to changing the way that we interact and behave in day-to-day life and business. He spoke about future trends in tech and provided an insight into Google’s predictions for the next 10 years. Wilson fundamentally sees technology as democratising the value chain. He said that proptech is becoming more and more mainstream. He was just back from Singapore and Malaysia meeting with investors and sovereign wealth funds, and very large property companies operating in those markets, are desperate for some sort of tech assistance. But, conversely, in the tech sense they are quite behind London as they are very big real estate markets, but they are aware of the future potential of what prop tech could do for them as a business. A member of the audience asked whether service providers like agents and lawyers are paying enough attention to prop tech and whether they are investing enough money and time in it, to which Wilson replied: ‘Well Mishcon certainly are!‘ – we clearly gave the right impression! Gaymond said, in his opinion, that machine learning is going to transform everything. At Google, it is already in use across the entire business. So if you want to prepare your businesses for the change that’s coming, you should really be looking at the areas of your business today that have a lot of rote, manual tasks. Machine learning, he said, is going to be transformational – there is no question about that, the only question is how far and how deep it goes and how we can push it:”machine learning will be more about enabling humans to focus on higher value tasks“.

Knight Frank Launch of their 2016 Global Cities report

There was a great turn out at Knight Frank’s Claridges breakfast launch. I was honoured to sit between Peter Freeman, a founder of Argent, and leading architect Ken Shuttleworth – both men in their different ways have been instrumental in the shaping of London as a global city.

The presentations highlighted the report’s findings. A key point for me was the rise and rise of collaborative offices. They are now everywhere, whereas just three years ago they were still just an American phenomenon. Hopefully the same will be true of collaborative living and multi-family development. We were also told that tech and business restructuring is making other cities attractive as business process outsourcing grows.

Grainne Gilmore, focusing on residential, said large scale institutional investment in PRS is expected to continue to grow in the UK. Connectivity is essential, with 93% of Londoners wanting to live within 1 km of a transport hub.

The choice of ex Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott as a speaker at the event was inspired!  He talked with insider knowledge of the anti-elitist movement in the US which is mirrored in the UK. Interestingly, he said that if the referendum had been held in any European country (other than Germany), he believed the result would have been the same. The EU should listen to its citizens, he said, who are fed up that it has failed to address existing problems. In his view, the EU needs Britain for defence, cyber, police and immigration so is therefore likely to maintain links.

His clear message was that the UK will have to paddle harder to remain influential as a world power.

Broad Appeal Dinner

On a slightly different note, Mishcon de Reya was delighted to support this year’s Broad Appeal cricket dinner at the Long Room at Lords to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association charity. We raised over £53,000 –  a really good result. The room was packed with cricketing legends current and past. Chris Broad encapsulated the different generations by introducing the ‘hip’ table which included current cricketing idols Stuart Broad, Alex Hayles, Johnny Bairstow and Matt Prior. He then introduced the ‘hip replacement’ table of himself, David Gower, Chris Cowdray and legendary rugby player, Rory Underwood!.

Chris Cowdray ran a very effective auction and achieved a great result for a most deserving charity. The after dinner Q&A chaired by David Gower with Stuart Broad, Matt Prior and Rory Underwood was most entertaining, even more so if you understood the cricketing terms and references!

Movers & Shakers breakfast seminar Brexit – who is developing London?

Early the next morning I battled the elements to attend the Movers & Shakers breakfast seminar ‘Brexit – who is developing London?’ The impressive panel included Helical’s Mike Slade; U and I Group Deputy CEO, Richard Upton; David Partridge of Argent; Craig McWilliam of Grosvenor; and Anthea Harries of The Crown Estate. It was chaired by Jerry Freeman from GVA.

The overall message from the panel was keep calm and carry on running your business, although at times the banter between Slade and Upton lent more towards the ‘carry on’ films of old! Partridge made the point that talent is the critical thing and we have to make sure we don’t turn that tap off. Like many, he reckons it will be five years before we know what Brexit means. Richard Upton stressed that London needs to work as a cohesive city and that collaboration is key. This was good to hear as our jointly sponsored Estates Gazette Collaborator of the Year award was shortly to be announced – Congratulations to Government Property Unit!

A fascinating week of early morning and evening property related events to book end the working day.

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