Builders' Almanac 2021

Forecast 2: Proptech

What will Canadian Proptech Look Like in 2021?

Harvest Builders Staff

Trends, recommendations and forecasts for the proptech world in 2021

What will Canadian Proptech Look Like in 2021?

Overview

Property technology (“proptech”) encompasses everything from construction technology (e.g. a project management app for builders and contractors) to architectural technology (e.g. interactive 3D rendering tools) to real estate technology (e.g. online marketplaces). 

The GDP of the construction industry alone in Canada totals $141 billion. There are significant opportunities for observant entrepreneurs to create value by using technology to help this industry improve experiences for end users, simplify processes, and eliminate inefficiencies using data-driven business decision making. 

Trends

Recommendations

  1. Focus on streamlining processes while communicating the value for end users. Seventy-six percent of industry investments in proptech are motivated by a need for more efficiency. Moreover, there are low levels of systems integration in the industry, with industry leaders ranking the extensiveness of their integrations as 4.7 out of 10. Harvest's own proptech venture, Propra, aims to fix things by improving the rental management experience for both landlords and tenants through better communication and maintenance management tools, greater transparency for both sides, and lowering operational costs for property management teams.
  2. Provide support for data-driven business decision-making. The property industry produces and accesses ample amounts of data from the various applications used. Providing a single pane of glass for all of this data and an easy way to access, interpret, and operationalize it represents a significant market opportunity for startups. 

Watch out for

Companies like Brazil’s QuintoAndar that simplify the process of those looking for a new home, and help manage the relationship between property owners and tenants at scale. 

Across Canada, $45 billion in payments flow from tenants to landlords each year. A percentage of this goes into the pockets of leasing agents, and a cut of that flows through to property managers. Startups, including Propra, focused on facilitating the rental process from start to finish through a modern app are drawing investment.

Technology is allowing property managers to do more than go paperless, but to access everything from lease agreements to maintenance documentation with ease. The adoption of cloud-based tools has made it easy for employees to quickly access information and keep operations moving smoothly. The creation of property management software-as-a-service tools offers a way for property managers to consolidate their digital workflows. Instead of switching from email to Google Drive to DocuSign to an invoice management system, they can seamlessly manage entire internal value chains all within one digital platform. 

Proptech also presents exciting opportunities for the rental market as well, particularly when it comes to searching for properties or tenants. Online rental platforms have minimized the need for brokers and allowed renters to book viewings and contact property owners at the touch of a button. That said, there is still a broker market for technology to support. Cloud-based tools can make it easier for brokers to manage more clients by streamlining workflows like lease agreement signing or reference checks in a one-stop-shop platform. Cloud tools also allow brokers to spend more time meeting with potential clients and going to showings while managing documentation from their phone. 

Harvest Builders Staff
Forecast 3: Cleantech
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