NYC Real Estate Tech Week: Startups on the Horizon

The BuiltWorlds team and attendees followig the panel event

New York, NY - the impetus for Western prosperity, innovation, technology, commerce, and art for the last century also served as a capital-laden powder keg for aspiring businesses. But following a global pandemic, an urban exodus brought this role into question. New York's grasp on tech entrepreneurs began to teeter towards precarious as they sought refuge amongst growing US cities, such as Austin, Raleigh, and Miami.

As the home to eight-and-a-half million people, New York has perennially dominated US construction and real estate. Combined with its conducive atmosphere for the digital revolution, New York made an ideal launchpad for Construction Tech, PropTech, and Building Tech startups throughout the 21st century. However, many of these startups joined other tech entrepreneurs in leaving large urban areas for smaller cities (~500,000 population) incentivizing innovation.

Recently, a public policy wave has reinvigorated the Building Tech movement in New York. The Inflation Reduction Act and Local Law 97 have led property owners and developers to evaluate carbon emissions and building sustainability as key profitability levers. Now there is a need for a new generation of solutions that work within existing buildings to meet policy guidelines. This is opening the door for climate-conscious entrepreneurs and an influx of capital for their ideas, specifically from New York.

The focus of NYC Real Estate Tech Week presented by MetaProp was decarbonizing and digitizing the built environment. We had the pleasure of encountering numerous startups in Manhattan during Tech Week that are contributing to this transformation.

A panel speaks on decarbonization at Propmodo's PropTech Challenge
A panel speaks on decarbonization at Propmodo's PropTech Challenge

In attendance at the MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University Alumni Celebration was an esteemed collection of startups representing all five of the Accelerator’s cohorts dating back to 2015. Several of these startups that caught our attention include:

  • Furnishr - Platform that can design and deliver room furnishings in one day.
  • Afterlife Ag - Turning food waste into upcycled products for urban cities.
  • TracFlo - Online financial tool to help contractors mitigate project risk through cost tracking and change management solutions.
  • Optii - Predictive technology that optimizes hotel operations.
  • Enertiv - Operational intelligence platform for commercial real estate.
  • Hoozip - An online marketplace for off-market real estate.
  • OnSiteIQ - Construction intelligence and monitoring for real estate developers.

Propmodo’s PropTech Challenge was a pitch competition that brought forward a pool of 21 contestants in the building decarbonization space to highlight innovations in the sustainable Building Tech environment. Below are some of the finalists who were selected to present their business models to the audience:

  • Thalo Labs - Winner of the Proptech Challenge, Thalo stood apart as it is a unique solution that easily and accurately monitors greenhouse gas emissions in buildings.
  • - SaaS solution providing net-zero roadmaps for large commercial real estate portfolios; PropTech Challenge finalist.
  • Cadence OneFive - Decarbonization and adaptation of existing multifamily buildings; PropTech Challenge finalist.
  • Carbon Quest - Designed an energy efficient advanced wastewater treatment process to permanently sequester carbon dioxide; Proptech Challenge finalist.

BuiltWorlds hosted a panel discussion addressing the intersection of Construction Tech and PropTech sponsored by SoloInsight. This event allowed representatives from SoloInsight, SHoP Architects, FullStack Modular, and Skyline Cockpit to speak about the state of the PropTech and Construction Tech markets, NYC as a tech hub, the catalysts for technological adaptations, and how to address macro factors facing the AEC space (labor shortages, fears of tech adoption, etc.). Below are the startups showcased on the panel:

  • SoloInsight - Provider of CloudGate, a no-code workflow automation platform that unifies all workforce amenities into a seamless smart building experience. SoloInsight removes legacy paper and pen functions from the building experience. Founder & CEO Carter Kennedy gave his perspective on the state of New York as an innovation hub, explained revolutionary security developments across all industries, and presented the case for automation in the built world.
  • FullStack Modular - Merging offsite volumetric modular construction with new technologies to bring an unprecedented level of control, predictability, and scalability to multifamily development. Founder & President Roger Krulak brought a unique perspective to the discussion on the modular industry, recommendations to overcome AEC-specific hurdles as a startup, and the current need for tech adaptations in the built environment
  • Skyline Cockpit - Preceding the BuiltWorlds panel, Skyline Cockpit’s Future of Crane’s demo allowed attendees to witness co-founder Aviv Carmel remotely operate a tower crane in Tel Aviv, Israel from Yonkers, NY. With no latency in the feed, immersive cameras strategically positioned on the crane, and a patented positioning system, their retrofit solution is safer and more efficient than traditional crane operations. New York-licensed crane operators in attendance lent validity to this solution.
Skyline Cockpit team, Zachi Flatto and Aviv Carmel, remotely operate a crane in Tel Aviv from NY
Skyline Cockpit team, Zachi Flatto and Aviv Carmel, remotely operate a crane in Tel Aviv from NY