Prop-techs driving innovation in property sector

12 October 2021
Hamburg offers ideal conditions for start-ups, says Dr Rolf Strittmatter, Managing Director of Hamburg Invest

Digitalisation is impacting both urban planning and the property sector. And the focus is on property technology start-ups at the international Expo Real underway in Munich from October 11-13, 2021. Hamburg is well positioned in the sector and counts among the pioneers, according to Dr Rolf Strittmatter, Managing Director of Hamburg Invest.

Hamburg News: Can you cite an example of digitalisation?

Strittmatter: The CityScienceLab was set up six years ago in HafenCity, backed by the City of Hamburg and the University of Hamburg, to research the digitalisation of cities. The lab is a co-operation with the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The CityScienceLab uses urban data and develops new tools and digital city models (CityScopes) to make cities healthier, more liveable and more efficient. That forms a basis for visualising and simulating complex urban developments.

Hamburg News: And what about the property sector?

Strittmatter: Digitalisation simplifies business processes, especially in rentals and sales, crowdfunding, portfolios and temporary leases. The new “smart home” is also based on digitalisation with emphasis on prop-techs.

Hamburg News: About how many prop-techs are there at present?

The figures and ways of counting them differ considerably. Comdirect Bank lists them as a subgroup of fintechs or start-ups focusing on financing. Germany has a mere 200 prop-techs, according to a survey in 2020. Around 42 such companies are based in Hamburg, according to Startup Detector, an information service for the start-up ecosystem. Thus, every fifth German prop-tech is based in the Hanseatic city, which is not a bad figure at all. 

Hamburg News: Can you name some of Hamburg’s prop-techs?

Strittmatter: The Hamburg-based start-up Breeze Technologies, for instance, attracted plenty of attention during the pandemic. As a leading provider of air quality sensors, data and analyses, the inventors based in Hamburg's Innovation City, Harburg, help companies measure and improve the quality of air. The company has received funding from several EU start-up schemes and won numerous prizes including the Future Hamburg Award 2021.

Another Hamburg-based company, Uniberry, offers flexible access management based on QR codes and its so-called comydo system. Reos GmbH has developed a property management platform for smart suburbs and concepts for smart cities while DiConneX specialises in the digitalisation of buildings.

Many of Hamburg’s prop-techs are also involved in the established property sector in keeping with the merchant city tradition. Zinsland, for instance, offers online investment opportunities in property projects. A merger saw the company become part of Exporo, another Hamburg-based platform for digital property investments.

Hamburg News: How does Hamburg Invest promote prop-techs?

Strittmatter: Hamburg Invest gives companies the opportunity to present their business at Hamburg’s joint stand at Expo Real for a small fee via its Startup Unit. This year, three prop-techs will be presented at Hamburg’s joint stand in Munich.

moovin Immobilien is an expert in residential property rentals and seeks to combine cutting-edge technologies with personalised customer service while ownr rethinks housing to put more people in their own homes through leasing. Meanwhile, Stacey Real Estate specializes in co-living, i.e., communal living for a limited period of time.

Hamburg News: Mr. Strittmatter, thank you very much for the exciting interview!

Sources and further information

Hamburg Invest

Hamburg Invest is the one-stop agency for relocations and investments in Hamburg as well as the main partner of commerce on all business development issues. A wide range of services is available especially for SMEs. Hamburg Invest also markets urban commercial and industrial sites - from site development, advertising and customer approach to the land contract. Technology and knowledge-based start-ups find their central point of contact there.

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