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Commercial real estate firm Colliers Proptech Alum Step Up: Covid-19 Challenge

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The global real estate giant teamed with tech accelerator Techstars in 2018 to start the Colliers Proptech Accelerator initiative.

Commercial real estate firm Colliers International has pushed back its 2020 Proptech Accelerator class to 2021 because of health and safety concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic, but it said tech startups from its two earlier classes have already developed virtual tools to help the commercial real estate industry navigate the pandemic’s impacts.

One portfolio company, Basking, for instance, uses AI and WiFi to provide real-time occupancy monitoring of workplaces so employers can ensure their employees are maintaining safe distances and optimize cleaning services according to real-time utilization. Another, FastOffice, gives brokers a virtual office walk-through tool, so that tenants can review and edit floor plan layouts and seat configurations in real time.

The global real estate giant teamed with tech accelerator Techstars in 2018 to start the Colliers Proptech Accelerator initiative. Since then it has invested in 19 early-stage real estate tech companies. Techstars has a portfolio of more than 2,100 companies and a market cap of more than $26 billion to support and develop its portfolio companies.

The startup companies in Colliers’ portfolio have “quickly adapted their services to tackle some of the biggest problems we face today,” said  Ben Liao, a managing director at Techstars who leads the Colliers Proptech Accelerator, in an announcement.

Last year Colliers chose 10 companies from six countries to take part in the 13-week accelerator program, which connects real-estate focused startups with mentors to refine business plans and develop technology.

Colliers and Techstar executives reaffirmed Colliers’ commitment to the Proptech Accelerator. Collier’s vice president of strategic investments, Zach Michaud, said Covid-19 is accelerating the commercial real estate industry’s shift to digital applications, so the business tools Colliers’ portfolio companies have been developing, such as virtual office tours and workplace occupancy analytics, offer a “competitive advantage in these challenging times.” 

“Our commitment to the Colliers Proptech Accelerator is unwavering,” Michaud added. “Ben Liao and Techstars will continue to build and enhance the program across multiple fronts through 2020 in partnership with Colliers, with the goal of making 2021 the best year yet.”

“Colliers continues to be a catalyst for change in the industry, working with the best early-stage proptech companies to find innovative ways of offering differentiated solutions amid a global pandemic,” Liao said.

Another Colliers portfolio company, ADEx, uses artificial intelligence to offer contract audits to clients that focus on pandemic, force majeur and material adverse change language to help them reduce liabilities. A Retail Space provides landlords and tenants with foot-traffic information for any address in their city.

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