Everyone attending the conference was eager to check out Brooklyn’s newest building, located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Dock 72, designed by S9 Architecture, is a project completed by Rudin Development and Boston Properties. It opened up just this year and boasts a spectacular view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skyline.
The 675,000 square foot building is one of the biggest developments in NYC outside of Manhattan in years. Given the conference’s focus on prop tech and innovative real estate, CREtech was excited to be the first ones to use this state-of-the-art event space with unbelievable and collaborative work spaces.
One of the newer additions to the conference this year was the use of the Brella app, a network matchmaking app. Conference attendees created a profile about themselves and their companies and then noted what they are looking for and what they have to offer, facilitating 1-to-1 meetings. Many joked that it was like a dating app for conference networking, but overall everyone was very appreciative of the efficiency that the app created.
It even told you what table to meet your prospective client at. Based on these criteria, Brella members could browse through over two thousand conference attendees and even filter the members using the app. For example, if you were a prop tech company seeking a venture capitalist, you could then filter your search to only apply to those attendees.
Many advised when booking meetings to be careful to space out your time slots so that you don’t have back to back meetings. The times were only 15 minute increments, so if you had a strong connection with someone, it could be hard to wrap up and make it to your next appointment on time. The bottom line is that Brella is the best networking tool we have encountered for this type of conference.
There was an amazing lineup of influential speakers on two stages throughout both days of the conference. Another perk of the Brella app is that you could block off your schedule so that no one could request meetings during a specific time slot if you were very interested in a particular talk at that time.
One group of speakers were at the Keynote Stage and others spoke at the Innovation Stage, which was smaller but features talks equally as impactful with many thought leaders, especially in the startup world. While there were many talks I was looking forward to attending, I could not make it to all of them due to networking meetings as well as great conversations at the exhibitor booths.
At the Innovation Stage, one speaker of particular interest to me was HqO founder Chase Garbarino. His talk was titled, “Proptech Without Purpose, Don’t Buy It.” Originally, I was drawn to this talk because Chase’s wife is a former coworker of mine when I worked at Reebok. I knew Chase was a leader within the proptech industry and looked forward to learning more about his work with HqO.
After Chase’s talk, I was particularly moved by his overall message, which was applicable to anyone, not just those in real estate. He spoke about how technological innovations were supposed to make us more connected to each other, but instead it has actually made us more isolated. Chase cited several studies that focus on the correlation between technology and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Not only does social media use correlate with depression and loneliness, but recent studies have actually proven that social media can cause depression. While Chase sees technology and social media as a problem, he also thinks we should use the power of its presence to bring people together and solve the problem it has created.
With HqO’s tenant experience platform, the technology brings people together, creating a community beyond one’s own company and throughout an entire building. Chase even cited the Innovation and Design Building, where Reebok’s offices are located. He said it brings people together across industries by having a gym everyone can access and workout together.I look forward to learning more about HqO, since they are headquartered in my area and are making monumental changes in the proptech industry.
Another speaker who I really enjoyed listening to was Lisa Picard, President & CEO of EQ Office. Her talk, Building Value with CRE’s New Power Tools, was extremely informative and also drew on several studies that applied to the human race and our adaption of various tools. She explained that studies show the human brain actually lights up (within the creotal cortex) when we see a tool.
As a result, Lisa advocated that we need to find purposeful proptech. As QuantumListing’s Customer Success Manager, I was intrigued to hear Lisa stress the importance of developing an effective customer experience where the customer interacts with the brand. As she said, in today’s day of the on-demand economy, we want everything everywhere all the time.
Lisa asked the audience, have you ever cancelled an Uber because it was two minutes away and you couldn’t wait? I don’t know about you, but I certainly have. It was intriguing to hear her speak to this idea since QuantumListing has recently been leveraging the on-demand economy in our recently introduced advertising and promotion features.
Lisa also focused on the fact that customer retention is very expensive and difficult in this day and age because the omnipresence of new technology is a constant threat. At QuantumListing, we couldn’t agree more.
Our founder David said when talking about QuantumListing’s origin story, “it’s more cost effective to keep a customer than to try to get a new one.” Overall, Lisa emphasized the importance of a personalized user experience that learns from its data and then adapts.
There were many other talks that I hoped to attend but was unable to, but I look forward to reading about them and potentially watching some footage. One of these talks was given by Ben Liao of Techstars, titled From Startup to Scaleup, which I was interested to hear due to QuantumListing’s recent growth and exciting potential.
The description mentioned the recent influx of technology startups and how the real estate should respond. Other talks that caught my eye were How to Run a Technology Pilot and Win (or Lose) and Bridging the Gap between CRE and Tech.
We also enjoyed several successful networking meetings and conversations with companies exhibiting at booths. Here at QuantumListing, we believe in the power of collaboration within the commercial real estate technology industry and we know we can get much further together. With many new introductions made at the CREtech conference, we look forward to future collaborations with new companies. Thank you to all involved in planning this successful conference and we cannot wait to attend another CREtech event.