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James Dearsley: A MIPIM startups update from Cannes

This week I’m lucky enough to be out here in Cannes as a PropTech Ambassador for MIPIM, the international real estate exhibition, conference and networking event.

It’s an extraordinary event spread over 5 days, bringing together 21,000 of the world’s biggest property players. It’s anticipated that more money will be spent this week than at Cannes Film Festival, as investors scramble to get a piece of the industry’s brightest companies.

This year, I am honoured to be part of the jury for the MIPIM Startup Competition Finalists. It is the first time this award has been presented and the nominations are curated in an interesting way;


Out of 120 entrants from around the world, they have been whittled down to 9 companies spread over three categories; Building, City and Transaction. Within each category, one company has been chosen from each of the three cities where the final rounds of nomination were held: London, New York and Hong Kong.

I am really pleased to see that this is a very future looking shortlist. There is a serious focus on future proofing here, thanks to a huge nod to Smart Cities and Buildings.

It is also clear that we are starting to understand how, in order for smart cities to knit together,  they must be underpinned with transparent and speedy transactions, as well as alternative forms of investment.

Some of the jury members will be grilling the participants on Wednesday (15th) afternoon followed by the announcement of the winner.  I will be sure to bring you up to speed with everything that happens in next week’s column.

In the meantime, here is a breakdown of all the companies up for the prize:

Building Category

Chainels - London Finalist

Founded in 2012 and based in Rotterdam, Chainels is the first online communication platform for business parks, shopping areas and inner cities. Their B2B platform works to improve communication, security and marketing for shopping areas and districts.

Cunio - Hong Kong Finalist

From Frankfurt, Germany, Cunio connects landlords, tenants, property managers and service providers.

Their vision is to be the state-of-the-art product for the building management processes of residential real estates. Their SaaS solution is a virtual meeting place that centrally manages all relevant information for a flat or building.

Ravti - New York Finalist

Florida based Ravti are working to disrupt the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry.

Co-Founder Alex Rangel once told TechCrunch that Ravti was similar to software solutions like KAYAK; ‘Just like travellers can use KAYAK to find the best rates for travel plans, building managers can use Ravti to save money and better manage their HVAC repairs.’

Property owners are able to use Ravti to manage all of their HVAC units and easily dispatch their preferred vendors to help them.

They already boast over 30 million square feet of real estate utilising their tech.

City Category

ParkBee - London Finalist

Dutch startup ParkBee makes private parking garages available to the public. The benefits are two-fold; one, the car driver enjoys superb parking locations at an affordable price, second, the owner of the garage generates profit from leasing it out.

The whole process is simplified through their app which allows for a keyless, cloud-based system for entry and exit of a garage.

Add Weup - Hong Kong Finalist

Founded in March 2016, Taiwanese startup Add Weup have seen a fast growth to this point.

They are hoping to disrupt the currency exchange industry, with a key focus on tourists returning from a holiday.

They have identified that most of us end up leftover foreign currency which when exchanged back suffers from high exchange rate fees.

Situated in airports throughout the world, Add Weup machines allow you throw in your leftover coins and notes and then sends you a unique URL to your phone to begin the process of depositing the exchanged money into your PayPal (or other online payment platforms) account.  

Alternatively, you can donate the money to charity

Envelope - New York Finalist

From New York, Envelope is a software company offering a 3D urban mapping platform which integrates proprietary geospatial datasets, sophisticated algorithms, and iterative scenario analysis to help real estate professionals identify and visualise opportunity.  This allows for faster, smarter, and more discreet investment decisions.

Transaction Category

Storefront - London Finalist

US company Storefront are the world’s leading online marketplace for the short term rental of retail space.

Their aim is simple, to help online businesses gain access to the vast benefits of the offline market place through short term pop-up shops.

Their unique tech allows them to best measure the locations most suited to each client’s needs to help achieve maximum revenue.  Typical rental periods are 1 day - 18 months and they currently work with over 10,000 commercial space owners across 3 continents, launching over 7,000 pop-up stores globally.

Popular Street - Hong Kong Finalist

Based in Hong Kong, Popular Street is the creator of the residential rental platform, WeDeal.

For landlords and renters alike, WeDeal’s software helps to streamline the marketing, scheduling, viewing and signing of a house without ever needing to deal with the hassle of high street property firms.

Their website reads as follows: Our mission is to deliver a hassle-free and rewarding rental experience for everyone.

Stacksource - New York Finalist

From New York our final company is Stacksource, who are ‘out to bring modern technology to the old-school market of Commercial Real Estate Loans.’

Disrupting the notoriously inefficient and sluggish business practices of the commercial real estate sector, their aim is to become the online platform for commercial real estate loans.

They help their customers to secure CRE loans from a wide variety of lenders including banks, private lenders, and online marketplace lenders.

Don’t forget to check in next Wednesday to read all about the winning company.

*James Dearsley is founder of the Digital Marketing Bureau and a PropTech communicator. To sign up to James’ Sunday PropTech Review, click here.


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