Nine Four Insights

Real Estate-as-a-Sales Channel

A theme that we often discuss is how many industries and sub-industries converge with a real estate asset throughout its lifecycle; for example: mobility, energy, maintenance, leasing and marketing, construction, lending, supply chains and logistics, and tech-enabled services of various forms…to name a few. There are convergences for everything that we touch in our personal lives. It’s staggering. As a result, there’s an incredible number of startups with massive variabilities that try to sell to property owners and managers and through to residents.

For a startup, developing a relationship with an owner or manager can be a dream. These companies can realize efficiencies as marketing efforts land (literally) close to home, at scale. Companies selling products and services utilized in the home can unlock meaningful value with owners and managers due to this proximity and potential exclusivity.

The Nine Four team sees the wide-ranging products and services that multifamily owners and managers are pitched, and it’s an incredible challenge for real estate professionals to try to assess whether there is value in developing relationships with these companies. It’s hard enough for venture investors, and that’s all we try to do. Can these startup products attract or retain residents? Are there any meaningful incentives to spend time marketing these products or services? How much time is required to do so? Is that time better served elsewhere? On top of a manager’s day-to-day, learning and understanding what the most meaningful items are for the plethora of people that interact with a building and its residents is a relatively monumental task and is a source of frustration for many startups who put time and effort to trying to develop and leverage real estate partners as a sales channel.

Industry practitioners understand this problem, and often invest in venture capital funds, start corporate venture funds, innovation groups, or partner with startup organizations for the education and startup pipeline. Owners and managers are getting better at realizing the value that the relationships with startups that sell to and through them can create but it’s a double-edged sword: the most disruptive companies probably aren’t selling software to someone they hope to displace.

Taking advantage of your real estate as a sales channel requires knowledge, understanding, and the right startup pipeline. You don’t want to miss the company that can impact your business, or the industry. This is why Nine Four Ventures is kicking off a program to test technologies ourselves, create case studies, educate our partners, and share our knowledge. If you’re a startup that would like to be embedded in Laramar properties or processes, be on the lookout for an announcement next week. If you’re a real estate practitioner, click here!

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