Which PropTech Conference?

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One of the fastest ways to gauge the potential of any hot new industry vertical is simply to attend a conference dedicated to it and study the people in attendance. Of course the quality of the conference is critical to the success of this plan but in general it works. This is what I did in 2017 when I attended my first PropTech event in London.

With a real estate career spanning more than 25 years and a lifelong fascination with gadgets and technology, you might think I would have caught on a little earlier, but the truth is it was not until January 2017 that I heard this hot new buzzword ‘PropTech’ for the first time.

It was over coffee with a scottish pal Danny Kinnoch who was in Dublin for the day looking at real estate opportunities for a client. We sat down for a chat in Keoghs on Trinity Street and as I am known to do I was babbling away about some innovative new property idea.

I can still remember Danny’s reply like it was yesterday. “Yep, everyone seems to be talking about PropTech these days”. Huh?! You mean there’s a word for it?  And that was it, Day Zero of my obsession with PropTech. That was how it all began…

In this article I will cover:

  1. Reasons to Attend a PropTech Conference
  2. PropTech Conferences I will Attend this Year
  3. My Global Top 5 PropTech Conferences

Reason to Attend a Conference

In my opinion there are 3 primary reasons to attend any conference, and they are:

  1. To Learn
  2. To Meet
  3. To Sell

To Learn

After that fateful afternoon with Danny I embarked on my very own Tim Ferriss style accelerated learning program. I had decided I would put my PropTech education in the hands of James Dearsley whom I discovered was not only a co-host on the PropTech Podcast but he also had a terrific weekly blog called the Sunday PropTech Review.

Later that year I travelled to London for my first PropTech conference FUTURE:PropTech. Held in Victoria House I found my way to the room and up there on stage, MC for the day, was James looking a whole lot taller in real life than he ever sounded over my car speakers.

Notwithstanding my steep learning curve I arrived in London feeling pretty green, a Newbie for sure, but an enthusiastic one. Walking around the event and listening to all the talks helped me fill in a lot of blanks.

I left the conference later that day with an armful of brochures and a pocketful of business cards, my mind brimming with ideas and an unshakable feeling of excitement. It felt as if I had just stumbled onto something that whilst still in its infancy was potentially massive.

I was buzzing.

Now the cynical amongst you might say I got a little too caught up in the atmosphere, others might question what I was drinking that afternoon. But there was a palpable excitement in the room that day that is difficult to explain other than to say it felt like opportunity knocking. This is not something you would appreciate from reading an article on Google, you have to feel it for yourself.

To Meet

Another unique aspect of conferences that you are unlikely to glean from a blog is the opportunity to meet and speak with industry leaders and influencers. Oh sure you can read all about them and their valuable insights, but it’s not quite the same as meeting someone face to face. You also get a far better sense of the vibrant community starting to emerge around an industry.

Try setting up a meeting with a busy influencer or entrepreneur operating on the other side of the World and you are going to struggle. Even if they happen to live in the same city as you finding time in their overflowing diary can be a serious challenge. However with a conference everyone has flocked to the same room and are usually there with an open mind.

Within an hour of walking into my first PropTech event, I was sitting in front of Leo Lo from Hong Kong. Leo had noticed my name on the delegate list and reached out to me over LinkedIn. We had a friendly discussion around PropTech and we agreed to meet again in Dublin a week later. Leo has since gone on to establish Asia PropTech an incubator and funding ecosystem for startups. He also runs his own event Propteq Asia which is associated with Brian Brosnan and his business Propteq Club.

A short time later I was sitting with Lucinda Kelly and Eddie Holmes, the other co-host of the PropTech Podcast and at the time Chairman of the UK PropTech Association. Since that meeting Eddie and James have gone on to launch Unissu a global PropTech market data & analytics portal.

Lucinda who had also travelled from Dublin was there to pitch her newly established startup Popertee to investors attending the event. Fast forward two years and Popertee has gone from strenght to strenght, winning multiple industry awards and expanding its operations from Dublin to the whole of Ireland and the UK.

Yes PropTech, like the wider technology sector, is in a constant state of change and nowhere is that more obvious than at a conference. Spontaneity is great but I would always recommend you book a few meetings well in advance.

To Sell

Attending a conference is a great way to sell and a great way to learn about the many products and services available on the market. I always make a point of visiting the various stands to learn what I can about the startup ecosystem and all the new products being launched.

At last years FUTURE:PropTech event I met with the lovely people from Locale. Bear in mind I was not at the event to buy anything, but I came across their stand and was intrigued so asked a few questions. One year later I have signed a contract with Locale to roll out their occupier engagement platform across our business park East Point.

Yes conferences are a great way to sell a product because you are in a room with open minded prospects and it’s really just a numbers game. If you pitch your product to enough people you are bound to land a sale.

The best advice I have around selling anything is to make sure you are pitching to someone who is in the right frame of mind. To learn this you should ask plenty of questions so you fully understand their needs and build a genuine rapport with them. Nobody likes the hard sell, but if you build a good rapport with someone you will remain in their subconscious long after the event and at some point in the future they will either buy or recommend you to others. It also helps to have a killer pitch.


PropTech Conferences I will Attend this Year

I should start with a clarification in respect to the conferences I am covering here today. Obviously I have a particular interest in PropTech, but I do not think it prudent to focus exclusively on products and services based around a narrow industry definition.

There is much wider technology ecosystem emerging around real estate, which includes new and innovative business models, such as for example ‘Coworking’ that whilst potentially disruptive does not strictly fit within everyone’s definition of the term ‘PropTech’.

So with all that out of the way let’s get into this. A few weeks ago I attended the Dublin Tech Summit and in the coming weeks I will be attending no less than four conferences, all with a link to technology, some with a specific link to PropTech or real estate innovation in general.

Those events are:

One thing you will notice straight away is that they are all located relatively close to one another with the furthest in Paris, this is something I hope to rectify in 2020 with plans for a global speaking tour of sorts, but I digress…


ARVR Innovate, Dublin

10 May 2019

Now in its 6th year, ARVR Innovate is a Dublin based conference run by Alex Gibson who I had the pleasure of meeting on Carol Tallon’s radio show on Tuesday evening [listen here]. Alex is a man of many talents and passions, virtual and augmented reality being one of them.

Whilst ARVR Innovate is not specifically focussed on the real industry I personally take the view this technology could be a gamechanger in the property sector. There are so many potential applications you really need to attend a conference like this to fully grasp it.

For further details www.arvrinnovate.com

FUTURE:PropTech, London

14 May 2019

Now in its 5th year and growing rapidly FUTURE:PropTech will host more than 2000 attendees, 100+ speakers and 80+ companies. It’s come a long way from the tiny event that Gary Chimwa and his team held back in 2015.

As I mentioned already the 2017 event was my first PropTech dedicated conference. That event lit a fire in me and I left with ambitions to become an influencer of sorts myself so you can imagine my delight when they reached out to me this year as one of the Irish PropTech community’s influencers.

For anyone yet to buy their ticket, please feel free to use my discount code GG20. For further details www.futureproptech.co.uk

ASDToken, London

13 June 2019

This event will be a first for me, but in my opinion it’s an important conference nonetheless. I believe the tokenisation of real estate could unlock substantial opportunity but also potentially unleash substantial disruption – who knows?

If PropTech is still in its infancy then Tokenisation has yet to be truly born. Its an area full of risk and one I know very little about, but nevertheless its an area I am convinced needs to be understood by anyone with a serious interest in the digital transformation of real estate. I hope my attendance at this event will help me fill in some of the gaps.

For further details www.anysizedeals.com/event/asdtoken-ldn

MIPIM PropTech, Paris

1-2 July 2019

I’ve been attending the flagship MIPIM event in Cannes for years, the first I attended was probably about 16 years ago now.

The Paris event will be my first dedicated MIPIM PropTech event and it promises to be huge. One has only to look at the calibre of their Advisory Council with the likes of Aaron Block, Amanda Clack and Dan Hughes to know this is another must-attend-event.

The organisers host three dedicated PropTech events every year – MIPIM PropTech Europe, MIPIM PropTech NYC and MIPIM PropTech Asia.

For further details www.mipim-proptech.com


My Global Top 5 PropTech Conferences

The global real estate industry is a crucial part of the wider global economy, worth trillions of euros/pounds/dollars/yen. Consequently any product or service category with the potential to generate efficiencies or disruption in that industry is eventually going to get noticed.

PropTech is one such category that has indeed finally gotten noticed and the inflows of venture capital pouring in are now measured in multiple billions per annum. This in turn has generated rich opportunities for event organisers. But which conference are the best?

Who better to help me put together a global Top 5 list of PropTech Conferences than the very speakers and influencers critical to the success of each event. The PropTech influencer community is truly global, with members spread out across the planet but conveniently we stay in regular contact via a vibrant WhatsApp group established by Wouter of Holland ConTech & PropTech.

My WhatsApp call to action went out at 7.25am

“Guys I am making a video on the best PropTech/real estate innovation conferences in the world. I would like to make it a global list so could you give me your recommendations please”

Within 10 minutes Wouter Truffino had replied, followed closely by Sean Godoy and Antony Slumbers. Three hours later I returned to find a wealth of information from this terrific global network, my thanks to the following people for their contributions:


So without further ado the Top 5 PropTech Conferences:

No. 5 – Provada Future, Amsterdam

4-6 June 2019

Whilst I will confess this was not a conference I was familiar with myself I have since been reading up on it and am hugely impressed by is sheer size with over 25,000 attendees showing up over the 3 days.  The speaker lineup includes Wouter Truffino and many other European influencers.

For further details www.provada.nl

No. 4FUTURE:PropTech, London

14 May 2019

As I mentioned earlier I will be attending this conference this year, its 5th in existence and the lineup of speakers is very impressive with Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall in the US and Emma Hendry of Hendy Group in Australia.

For anyone yet to buy their ticket, please feel free to use my discount code GG20. For further details www.futureproptech.co.uk

No. 3 -MIPIM PropTech, Paris

1-2 July 2019

Also on my own schedule for 2019 I am really looking forward to this conference. The speaker lineup again is impressive and I expect our own Carol Tallon to make an appearance on the stage along with Aaron Block of MetaProp and Faisal Butt of Pi-Labs.

When talking about MIPIM it is important to mention the two other dedicated PropTech events they host in New York and Hong Kong but also the massive annual real estate pilgrimage to Cannes in the South of France. You should really try to attend at least one MIPIM event every year.

For further details www.mipim-proptech.com

No.2 – Expo Real, Munich

7-9 October 2019

Taking place later in the calendar this Munich based event is now in its 21st year and is colossal in its scale. During the 3 days of this event there will be no less than 45,000 attendees and more than 2,000 companies from 72 countries represented.

Most Irish real estate professionals know better than to try arrange a meeting with a broker or agent in the 2nd week of October because more often than not they are all away at Expo Real, this is another event I am considering attending myself in 2019.

For further details www.exporeal.net

No. 1 – Realcomm & IBcon, Nashville

13-14 June 2019

And finally, in first place, we have another long established real estate conference that is now entering its 21st year in existence, Realcomm has positioned itself at ‘the Intersection of Commercial and Corporate Real Estate, Technology, Automation and Innovation’ and has a sister event running alongside called IBCon which is positioned as ‘the smart connected high performance Intelligent Buildings conference’.  

Whilst I had heard of Realcomm I did not realise its importance in the annual event calendar nor the strength of its reputation amongst my peers in global PropTech community with Antony putting in a very good word and Magnus backing it up followed by Ben and Chungha. It also worth noting that Leo’s Asia PropTech will be a proud supporter of Realcomm and IBcon in 2019.

For further details www.realcomm.com

The End

I hope you found this article helpful. Should you have any questions or wish to comment please do so below as I am always more than happy to engage. Should you wish to connect with me you can do so on any of the social platforms listed below:

My videos can be found at www.proptech.tv

My blog can be found at www.proptech-innovate.com

My podcast can be found at www.anchor.fm/gavinjgallagher


written by Gavin J. Gallagher

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