4 Trends Start-Up Founders Can Leverage to Shake Up the Real Estate Industry

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Hey, startup founders!

We think your next venture should be in the real estate space. Here's why. 

Did you know that the average American spends over 26 per cent of their annual income on housing? That is estimated to be more than they spend on technology, clothing, healthcare, and food, combined.

Clearly, the real estate industry is a huge driver of our economy with ample opportunity for budding entrepreneurs, so why aren't we seeing more innovation in the building industry space?

“There are huge opportunities for start-up founders in the building industry— and they are mostly being ignored. Why? They are all chasing venture capital, and VCs don’t speak real estate.”
— Nicole Fichera

Nicole Fichera, Co-Founder and Principal at FWD Partners, has noticed a pervasive blind spot blocking potential ventures from view. “There are huge opportunities for start-up founders in the building industry-- and they are mostly being ignored. Why? They are all chasing venture capital, and VCs don't speak real estate.”

If you are in the business of creative transformation, the real estate industry is a great place to start your next venture. To help uncover some blind spots and unearth high-potential opportunities, here are four trends to consider:

1: A Craving for Convenience

According to a recent survey, more people are seeking walkable communities that provide easy access to amenities, cultural experiences, and public transportation. This is an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs to capitalize on creative and unconventional real estate in an effort to build connected, well-resources communities that blend residential, commercial, and cultural spaces.

2: Technology Rising

No surprise here, so let’s quickly look at two ways technology is having an impact:

  • Revolutionizing the Buying and Rental Process: With the rise of companies like Zillow, prospective buyers and renters can swipe their way through hundreds of listings to quickly identify keepers and duds. This saves customers time and fundamentally changes the role of the Real Estate Agent. This shift in the customer-agent dynamic creates a prime opportunity for entrepreneurs to disrupt customer service models and enhance the experience for buyers, sellers, renters, and landlords. For a few examples of innovative start-ups tackling this space, check out this article from Forbes.
  • Changing Expectations of What our Spaces Offer As our professional and personal lives become more blended, our spaces have been increasingly adapted to meet multiple needs. This highlights an opportunity within the constant creative interplay between the functional uses of our spaces. This includes both spatial design and new technology (think Internet of Things) to help people maximize the potential of their surroundings.

3: Preference for Rentals

Current potential homeowners are more risk-averse than previous generations, which is leading to a preference for renting instead of owning homes. This creates a ripe opportunity to disrupt this preference by drastically rethinking the face and structure of home ownership. This can include changing the built environment, re-envisioning the process through which homes are bought and sold, and reshaping the systems through which most homes are financed.

4: A Focus on Experience and Community

As the sharing economy is gaining traction and co-working spaces are becoming more popular, it is no longer simply enough to just offer a physical space; real estate businesses must now offer an experience to remain competitive. From in-office happy hours within co-working spaces, to community events hosted within a residential condo complex, there are emerging opportunities for real estate start-ups to design community building experiences using a combination of the built environment and people focused programs.

With these four trends in mind, start-up founders can tap into the building industry and introduce innovations that improve the ways in which we experience our homes, offices, and shared spaces. Instead of chasing venture capitalists, a better strategy is to connect with someone who speaks the language of real estate. 

To learn more about how FWD Partners can provide critical support to your real estate start-up, please sign up for the mailing list here or contact them directly here.

Nicole Fichera