In Review: The Charter Hall PropTech Accelerator 2018

In Review: The Charter Hall PropTech Accelerator 2018
July 2, 2018

In Review: The Charter Hall PropTech Accelerator 2018

The Why

The real estate industry has long been considered a laggard insofar as technology adoption has been concerned with more than 40% of real estate companies still relying on spreadsheets and paper-based processes to manage properties today. However, today’s business landscape is fast changing thanks to the exponential growth in technology and the lower barriers to entry that it presents for disruptors such as Uber, Airbnb and Zillow. It’s no longer a matter of choosing to innovate, it’s a matter of innovate or die.

Unfortunately for many incumbents, it’s not as simple as flicking a switch to transition from “the way things have always been done around here” to thinking and working like a disruptive startup, nor should they. Large organisations have been built to deliver on a repeatable, scalable business model that makes money today, but it can’t come at the expense of what will create value and make money tomorrow.

While many incumbents are slowly navigating the path forward to becoming more innovative internally, some are also looking outside the building to fast-track innovation by partnering with emerging tech startups in their field.

A corporate accelerator program brings together the domain expertise, resources and networks of a large industry incumbent with the talent, tech and speed of startups, to leverage each other’s strengths and create new game-changing solutions; it’s kind of like bringing together the power of George Foreman with the speed of Muhammad Ali.

Charter Hall, one of Australia’s largest property groups, owns and manage 332 commercial properties around Australia, and sought to complement its internal innovation initiatives by gaining exposure to emerging talent in the PropTech space. According to Re:Tech, PropTech startups have gone from strength to strength in the past four years, having attracted just US$500M in VC investment globally in 2014 to over US$12.5B in 2017 with a recent KPMG report indicating that PropTech is set to become a US$20B market by 2020.

As such, Charter Hall partnered with Collective Campus to develop and run Australia, and Asia-Pac’s first PropTech accelerator program, the Charter Hall Accelerator. A number of program partners supported the startups, including Amazon Web Services, SendGrid, Zendesk, HubSpot and AutoPilot.

The Process

We sat down with key executives from Charter Hall such as its CTO Aidan Coleman, its innovation lead Craig Rodgers and its head of digital, Oliver Sebastian. This helped us to gain a better understanding of its business model and strategy. We used this to inform the types of startups we were looking for.

We ran an elaborate online marketing campaign as well as roadshow events in Sydney and Melbourne to attract startups from across Australia. The roadshow events brought together thought leaders in the proptech space, as well as program mentors, to discuss the what, why and how of proptech as well as drum up additional interest in the accelerator program.

Roadshow event in Melbourne

Listen: The Future of Real Estate @ the Charter Hall Roadshow event in Melbourne

When all was said and done, we  secured 48 applications, including one from the Philippines.

In addition to business model and strategic alignment, we evaluated the startups across a number of factors, including management team, traction, value proposition, market opportunity, defensibility and more.

This informed an initial shortlist of 15 startups that were invited along to our 2-day bootcamp and pitch night held in Melbourne. Having worked with the startups across the two days to better understand and hone their business models, the scene was set at Charter Hall’s HQ for the pitch night where each of the 15 startups shared their vision and how they plan to execute on it.

Pitch Night @ Charter Hall HQ in Melbourne

Video: Watch the highlight reel from the Charter Hall bootcamp and pitch night

With only four spots available for the startups, it made our decision after the bootcamp incredibly difficult as there were always going to be some high potential candidates that missed out.

However, after much deliberation, the final four were:

InSpaceXR: virtual reality solutions for architects, engineers and the construction industry

Bricks & Agent: property management and maintenance portal

Snaploader: 3D visualisation of CAD floor-plans for the real estate industry

Estate Baron: property investment and development crowdfunding platform

FlexiSpaces, an internal project team from Charter Hall, were given a wildcard entry into the program and are working to optimise underutilised space by leveraging sharing economy fundamentals.

13 Weeks

The 13 week accelerator program brought together a number of mentors such as Benjamin Chong of Right Click Capital, Jonathan Hannam of Taronga Group, David Hodges of Loc8, Julian Boot of Equiem, Shelli Trung, Josh Rowe of RealAs and Jon Ellis of Investorist.  Aside from the mentoring, startups participated in weekly workshops on topics such as finding product market fit, branding and communication, marketing and sales tactics, leadership, time management and more in addition to business model coaching sessions with the team at Collective Campus.

Finally, the startups sat in strategy sessions with executives from Charter Hall across its industrial, retail and office divisions, they were introduced to numerous influential stakeholders across Charter Hall’s network and got pilot programs off the ground.

The program culminated with the Demo Day at Charter Hall HQ in Sydney where startups had an opportunity to present what they had achieved during the program and what was next in front of an audience of real estate players, investors and tech enthusiasts.

Charter Hall’s Aidan Coleman addresses the audience at the Demo Day in Sydney

Video: Watch the highlight reel from the Charter Hall Accelerator Demo Day

Results

Snaploader accelerated during the program, doubling its monthly revenue during the 13 week program.

InspaceXR established a pilot program for Charter Hall and is now working with the company on its 130 Lonsdale St development.

Estate Baron is working with Charter Hall to explore applications in the blockchain space and has partnered with Collective Campus to establish Konkrete, a blockchain-based platform whose mission it is to help more Australians afford property.

Bricks & Agent experimented rapidly throughout the program and closed a number of deals, including a significant deal to provide its platform to Little Residential’s property managers.

FlexiSpaces, a team comprised of Charter Hall employees, developed a minimum viable products for its commercial real estate sharing platform, which is being tested internally.

Charter Hall continues to work with all of the startups.

Press

The program generated lots of media interest across Australia and Asia and contributed to Charter Hall making the Australian Financial Review’s Top 20 Most Innovative ASX200 Companies list, in addition to its CTO, Aidan Coleman, making the CIO50.

Just some of the press generated by the program included:

Australian Financial Review

Charter Hall Backs Four PropTech Companies

Charter Hall Partners with Collective Campus

Australia’s 20 Most Innovative Companies 2018

CIO Magazine

CIO50 Stories - #23: Aidan Coleman

Smart Company

Charter Hall Partners with Four Aussie PropTech Startups

Techwire Asia

Changing the Real Estate Game with Proptech Accelerators

Jumpstart Magazine

Celebrations And Concerns Part Of Growing Pains For PropTech In Australia

Construction Global

Charter Hall Paves Way for Innovation

The Urban Developer

PropTech Takes Hold as Startups Aim to Disrupt Industry

Impact on the industry

Since the Charter Hall Accelerator program was announced in late 2017, two new proptech accelerators have followed, including the Colliers Proptech Accelerator in Toronto and Propell Asia in Singapore, backed by JLL and Lend Lease. The former also announced a US$100M proptech venture fund called Spark Global.

Thinking About Running an Accelerator Program?

Corporate accelerators offer organisations a number of unique advantages including:

  • Deeper engagement with the startup and innovation ecosystem
  • Exposure to new trends and identification of new value adding opportunities
  • Reinvigoration of company brand
  • Attracting and retaining top talent
  • Boosting employee engagement, supporting mindset change and seeding a culture of innovation
  • Generating new industry-specific commercial opportunities
  • Increasing speed to market
  • Financial exposure to startups

If you or your organisation want to learn more about running an accelerator program, contact us at www.collectivecampus.io/contact

Innovate or die.

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Steve Glaveski

Steve Glaveski is the CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Campus which he established to help companies and their employees to create more meaningful impact in the world in an age of rapid change and increasing uncertainty. Steve also founded Lemonade Stand - a children's entrepreneurship program, wrote the Innovation Manager's Handbook vol 1 and 2, hosts Future², an iTunes chart topping podcast on corporate innovation and entrepreneurship and is a keynote speaker. He previously founded HOTDESK, an office sharing platform and has worked for the likes of Westpac, Dun & Bradstreet, the Victorian Auditor General's Office, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Macquarie Bank. Follow him at @steveglaveski and Book a free 15-minute call with Steve to talk through your innovation objectives.

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