Home News CBRE’s Vikram Kohli On Big Real Estate’s Big Proptech Moves – Commercial Observer

CBRE’s Vikram Kohli On Big Real Estate’s Big Proptech Moves – Commercial Observer

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September, commercial real estate services and investment giant CBRE announced invested $100 million of VTSan asset lifecycle management platform and one of Proptech’s most successful and fastest growing companies.

Vikram Kohli, Global Group President of Business Intelligence, oversees technology integration at CBRE and has risen through the ranks of the Southeast Asian market over the past two decades, taking up his current position just over a year ago. In that role, Kohli brings his extensive knowledge of the global real estate business to the day-to-day leadership of his CBRE’s approximately 3,000-member global technology team, which reports to him, as well as major technology investments such as investing in VTS. Bring to trading.

Additionally, although not a technologist, Kohli is unique among leading commercial real estate executives in that the firm’s tech group reports directly to him, but he believes it is the company’s tech users, clients, We believe this is also an advantage for engineers and technicians alike.

Cori We spoke with PropTech Insider from CBRE’s headquarters in Dallas in late November.

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

What made CBRE invest so much in VTS?

VTS is one of the most successful proptech companies in our sector. Especially in corporate spaces where we see a lot of churn. And this is one company that has stood the test of time. Its technology has redefined industry professionals and even the space of their minds. The investment in VTS is consistent with our strategy of partnering with external companies that bring strong resources to our plans and people. We also want to accelerate their growth and create a differentiated technology platform for brokers and clients.

What was the purpose of the relationship between the two companies?

At a macro level, the partnership will give employees access to marketing technology platforms. We have created several unique integrations with CBRE’s systems to provide a better end-user experience for our employees. For clients, such partnerships yield more differentiated insights than usual. It puts us in a strong position to offer this kind of technology and innovative solutions to our clients and professionals. It also aligns with our technology strategy of building, buying, partnering and investing to create differentiation. We are not focused on building everything ourselves. We are open to partnerships and investments and this fits with our overall strategy.

What initial value did CBRE see in VTS? Did that value meet in the way you originally envisioned it, or has it changed?

This is for our experts and company to draw insights internally and from external clients. VTS is primarily used as an in-house brokerage workflow tool, giving employees access to data and insights in terms of better helping clients. For external clients who are landlord communities, it provides a better view in terms of tenant experience. You can see what’s really going on in the building and what’s going on when new tenants come in. So a great internal tool from a workflow perspective and a great insight tool for clients to become better operators.

In many markets, including New York City, the return-to-office rate remains below 50% even after COVID-19 emerges. What is the added value of VTS in this framework?

A big added value is understanding what’s going on in the building’s tenant community. what are the workers thinking? How often do they come back to the office? What day of the week do they come back? Landlords can really understand what’s going on in their portfolio. This gives landlords the better data insight they are looking for today. I think that’s really important.

It also helps brokers understand which buildings are working with certain types of tenants and which are not. This gives us a better understanding of what is happening in the market. One of the areas VTS is working on is authentic experiences with the VTS Rise app. That combined with our property management business gives us a better view for landlords. So there are many ways to change the tool itself, and landlords are wondering how to improve occupancy in some buildings through these insights.

CBRE is known for acquiring companies that liked not only traditional companies, but also proptech start-ups. Why not VTS?

Again, our strategy is to build, buy, partner and invest to create technology differentiation. This is an overarching theme when we invest in proptech. VTS has a funding round and had the opportunity to be the lead investor in that round. As such, he contributed $100 million of the $125 million funding round. That was the context of why we didn’t buy them outright. I also think it’s important that VTS maintains its culture and autonomy. We are a growing company.

We have been adopted by many companies so far. Looking at the track record of proptech in particular over the past few years, the background behind this investment is that we are the lead investor and we need the autonomy and culture that some of these companies have developed. is important for their growth, coupled with the strategy of we respect that.

Is this a next-level example of the evolution of intermediary services? Effectively outsourcing the basic functionality of CBRE to a proptech company like VTS?

CBRE provides clients with superior real estate services in terms of advisory. That is our core business. Where proptech comes in is to enhance the core services we offer our clients. As a result, I don’t think of this as outsourcing, but as enhancing what I offer my clients. As we enhance our service, if something is improved by a third party, I think we’ll always follow our compass to be open to such options. After all, we are an advisory business. We are in the business of providing great insight and knowledge, and whatever helps highlight that is the path we take.

Do you expect brokers and other members of CBRE to have to engage with companies like VTS on a more regular basis and become an integral part of their work?

yes. For all the professionals who are part of this business, staying in close touch with what’s going on in these companies and using it to derive better insights and offer better advice is essential to financial services. It’s just an evolution of the industry, as it happened in the industry. I think real estate is the same. The importance of the individuals and teams serving our clients is never lost. I think that was the most important thing. But the tools they have at their disposal are far better than they used to be, and it would be a disservice to their clients to not use them.

What is CBRE’s big picture for the world of proptech startups?

As a philosophy, we encourage market innovation. We believe that if the industry innovates and the industry evolves, everyone wins. We get the majority of the industry. So I think anyone can do it. We are always looking for technologies that can enhance our business. As I said earlier, I think we are always looking for opportunities to buy, partner with, or invest in things that benefit our business. Find companies that can help you scale and grow by investing in sector-focused VC funds. This will also enhance CBRE’s offerings to clients.

You have grown professionally on the business side of CBRE. How did you get involved in your current role of overseeing technology and making deals like funding VTS?

I have worked in multiple parts of Asia and multiple cities in the US. He has also worked in various parts of the business including marketing, leasing, outsourcing strategies and technology deployment. Much of my experience is more business than technical. When I got involved with technology, it was either as an end user or someone using it in the marketplace to drive growth. Also, deploy it, not develop it.

What happened there was a strategic move on the part of the company. We wanted business people to focus more on the platform and technology side. Because we often hear that there is a chasm between what the business wants and what the technology offers. My role is to fill that gap. We have some great people on the tech side who are behind a lot of the thinking about what we do, but what I bring is the business side of things. I feel my value comes from being in business and connecting the dots between technical research, finance and strategy. This is a very exciting and interesting combination that we are trying to capitalize on.

Contact Philip Russo at: [email protected].

Update: This interview has been updated to reflect the correct number of employees in CBRE’s engineering department.

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