Imagine it's the early 2000s and you own a bookstore. One day, you hear about new e-reader technology that could make books obsolete. What would you do? If you're Jeff Bezos, founder of "the world's largest bookstore" Amazon, you think critically about the opportunity to use this development in your favor. Jeff Bezos is reknowned and respected for many reasons, but at the top of that list is certainly his willingness to step into progress and embrace the possibilities it brings.
"What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you - what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind - you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn't a strategy."
- Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO, Amazon.com
Over the past few years, the commercial real industry has started leaning into the future as well. Recognizing that purpose-built CRE technology creates value while streamlining processes, traditional real estate players are not just becoming customers, they're also becoming enthusiastic investors.
Here are 17 real eastate leaders directly investing in CRE Tech
Daniel Tishman, Vice Chairman of Tishman Realty Corporation
Mr. Tishman holds several senior leadership positions across the Tishman family of companies and its parent company AECOM. Earlier this month, he announced that he would be taking on an additional chairmanship at software provider Ecorithm. Tishman has invested cash into the startup in the past and now hopes to steer the company toward more robust growth.
Andrew Farkas, Chairman and CEO of C-III Capital Partners
One of the earliest real estate executives to see the potential for technology in the industry, Andrew Farkas led his firm C-III Capital Partners to invest in Real Capital Markets, a leading marketplace for buying and selling commercial real estate. Just last month, CBRE announced its own marketplace, CBRE Deal Flow, built using RCM's technology.
The private equity giant recently became the largest owner of real estate in the world. At the start of 2015, VTS announced a strategic investment valued at $3.3 million from one of Blackstone's funds.
Barry Sternlicht, Founder & Chairman of Starwood Capital
Sternlicht made several investments over the past three years in a variety of companies from wearable technology to vacation marketplaces. In August 2015, he joined Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, one of the largest commercial real estate services firms in the world, Bill Rudin, CEO of Rudin Management Company, and Brandon Shorenstein, Managing Director at Shorenstein Realty, in the most recent round of investment into leasing management platform Hightower.
Marty Burger and Tal Kerret, CEO and CIO of Silverstein Properties, participated in a $31 million Series A round for real estate crowdfunding site, Fundrise. Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group also made a strategic investment in the platform.
The Milstein family has long supported technology companies through the creation of Grand Central Tech so it was no surprise that they officially formed a tech investment arm, Circle Ventures. In 2015, Circle Ventures became an investor and stategic partner in Honest Buildings.
The largest real estate investment manager in the world is becoming an active technology investor as well. In two years, CBRE has invested in UniKey, smartphone-enabled key technology, and LiquidSpace, a startup network of office spaces.
Jared Kushner, CEO of Kushner Companies
This past spring, Kushner Companies' CEO Jared Kushner partnered with his brother Josh of Thrive Capital to form Cadre, a real estate investment platform focused on institutional investment. NYC's largest office landlord, SL Green, participated in Cadre's financing round as did former Vornado CEO, Mike Fascitelli. Josh is also an investor in Honest Buildings.
And so on...
Real estate services firm JLL backs HiRise, an online office leasing marketplace. Shopping center REIT Macerich has made two investments in crowdsourcing delivery service Deliv. Harrison LeFrak of the LeFrak Organization participated in Series A funding round for PeerStreet, a marketplace-lending platform for real estate loans.
Who is missing from this list? What investments do you think will happen next? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.