Tech to take centre stage at MIPIM as sector investment stumbles

Ranked: The ten biggest proptech investments of 2016

Proptech will be taking the centre stage, literally, at this year’s MIPIM event in Cannes (14-17 March), with a much-expanded “Innovation Forum” moving from the fringes to the middle of the main exhibition space.

Tech innovation was introduced as a component of the world’s property market five years ago, and the sector has fairly bloomed since to encompass everything from energy solutions and intelligent buildings to crowdfunding. US incubator MetaProp NYC reports that over 2,000 tech-led property-centric startups launched worldwide in 2016.

Research by venture capital database CB Insights estimates that, in just the first nine months of 2016, real estate tech companies raised $2.1bn across 167 deals, led by some heavyweight investments in the US and Far East. While there’s a pretty clear rising trend for proptech investment deal numbers, however, the amount being spent seems rather lumpy.

The most recent quarter’s data – Q3 2016 – shows a massive 82% drop in funding dollars compared to the previous three months, but this was mainly due to Chinese online-to-offline services company Homelink‘s $926m Series B investment, which vastly inflated Q2’s tally.

Looking to the longer term (that’s about five years, in tech worlds),  Q3 2016 saw the lowest funding total for real estate tech companies since back in Q2 2014.

Most well-funded real estate tech startups (first nine months of 2016)

Company Total Disclosed Funding ($m)
Homelink $926
Fangdd $311
Aiwujiwu $305
SMS Assist $255
Real Matters $203.75
PropertyGuru $194.92
Compass $193
Redfin $166.95
Ten-X $141.75 $131.24

Confidence among proptech investors, however, remains high; research by MetaProp indicates that 92% of investors believe that they will match or increase their 2016 investment in 2017.

This year’s MIPIM Innovation Forum will host 60 exhibitors and a conference programme, with a particular focus on energy matters (exhibitors include EMBIXE-nergy and ENGIE), crowdfunding (a strong presence has been booked by Anaxago), and intelligent buildings (e.g. CameGewissOikosSiemens Building Technologies); there’s also expected to be good things in the virtual reality and marketing space, from the likes of Matterport.

MIPIM’s Startup Competition returns for a second year, with nine tech startups “providing innovative solutions designed for the global real estate community and urban managers” firms due to be shortlisted.

Filippo Rean, Head of the Real Estate Division at Reed MIDEM: “When we first introduced the tech startup community to the real estate sector at MIPIM 2012, Proptech was a relatively new concept. Now innovation has become a major topic at MIPIM. This is reflected by our decision to move the Innovation Forum to the centre of the Palais des Festivals, at the heart of MIPIM. Real estate professionals want to discover the latest technology that can help them in their business and international investors are looking to develop and grow their investment portfolios in proptech”.

MIPIM runs from 14th to 17th March in Cannes, France