PropTechs… – The Property Chronicle
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The Professor

…in the context of a sometimes cynical and overwhelmed commercial real estate industry.

As of 20 July 2021, the website we started at the University of San Diego, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate,, has 2,484 listings of PropTech firms. Admittedly, some are duplicates or not really commercial real estate (CRE). Yet, just within the US there are probably over 2,000 startups, along with a host of established firms we could classify as ‘PropTech’. Here we define Proptech as any firm that provides data, analytics, measurements or monitoring information, systems optimisation about property and does not provide any actual physical space.  PropTechs may need some infrastructure such as sensors and cameras, or drones and connections to servers that allow the data to be processed and displayed, or automatically used to tweak operational systems, and thus there is a requirement of computer data storage. The functions of PropTech firms can include inspections, marketing and leasing, building operations and energy management, investment analysis, valuation, risk analysis, security, financing, investor reporting, trade area analysis, sales projections, rent setting optimisation and many more. In this context, firms we never called PropTechs before can now be considered as fitting within the definition, such as CoStar, Real Capital Analytics, Compstak, Altus (ARGUS), YARDI, Zillow, Appfolio, Skyline, Redfin, Schneider Electric, Johnson Controls, Black Knight and Measurabl among them. Several information conduits or aggregators have also sprung up to help us focus on promising newcomers, including CRETech(, Unissu (, MIPIM Propel ( or tracking the PropTech capital trackers like GCA Advisors – A Premier Global Investment Bank (, or MetaProp at  MetaProp | Home and of course the grandfather of corporate real estate, facilities management and tech,, started by Jim Young. Most of the PropTech aggregator websites are geared towards investors eager to bet their money on the next best thing that will revolutionise the real estate industry.

The pitch and the reality

Attend any of these PropTech oriented conferences, online or in person, and you will hear a familiar story.  

The Professor

About Norm Miller and Zhengzhen Tan

Norm Miller, PhD is the Ernest Hahn Chair and Professor of Real Estate Finance at the University of San Diego School, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. He is Vice President of the Homer Hoyt Institute and can be reached at Zhengzhen Tan, Research Scientist, MIT Center for Real Estate; Executive Director, Sustainable Urbanization Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She can be reached at

Articles by Norm Miller and Zhengzhen Tan

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