I collaborated with Jesse Onslow and Maddy Russell on this report for Pi Labs.


Foreword from Pi Labs founder Faisal Butt:

In times of uncertainty, the true value of innovation becomes that much clearer. The upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic downturn has disrupted workplace and industry status quos. In many cases, it feels like a decade or more of technological adoption has taken place overnight.

While commercial real estate has traditionally been slow to adopt new solutions, the sector’s appetite for innovative ideas and technologies has only grown in response to the crisis. At Pi Labs, we’re incredibly proud of the hard work and creative thinking that the proptech sector is demonstrating in the face of current challenges. We’ve seen a surge in enquiries for our portfolio companies and believe this is the beginning of a new chapter for proptech.

There are still many unknowns ahead of us. This period has brought unprecedented hardships and organisations of all sizes have struggled to anticipate how best to respond. Startups, in particular, have needed to carefully consider previous goals and milestones as they re-appraise the landscape ahead. There are still abundant opportunities in new technologies. The road to unlocking them, however, must now be tread a little more cautiously.

In this report, we aim to chart the state of proptech innovation during these volatile times and forecast how long-running workplace trends are evolving. Remote work has challenged the way business leaders think about their real estate assets and the very purpose of physical offices is under review at many companies. The impact of workplaces on human productivity and wellbeing is coming under scrutiny. Economic instability has reshuffled workforce needs, establishing a new scramble for talent and surging interest in robotics and automation.

The future of work has well and truly arrived, and the consequences will be felt for many years to come.