Hacking the NYC Skyline: ReTech Holds First Ever Real Estate Tech Competition
Introducing the Internet of Really Big Things.
A buzzing, mostly male crowd drinking beer on tap at a coworking space? Oh yeah, it’s Demo Day.
Last night at WeWork’s new “Charging Bull” location in the NYC Financial District, ReTech held what they claimed was the world’s first real estate tech challenge. The crowd was a combination of the New York startup scene and notable real estate figures, putting selvedge denim and gingham short-sleeve shirts alongside pinstripe suits and paisley pocket squares.
“We work in [a real estate] industry that isn’t technology forward, but that’s what we need,” featured judge Jared Kushner told the crowd at the start of the ceremonies (Discolsure: Mr. Kushner is the owner of Observer Media, which publishes Betabeat). “Building owners have to start behaving like technology companies.”
Many of the startups were simply yet another listing site that pulls from open data to make online maps, leading the judges to ask: “How is this any different?” Unsurprisingly, none of those web apps even placed in the top three.
Here are the big winners from last night’s Hacker Challenge:
Kisi (1st place) – The keycards that many modern pencil-pushers use to get into their office can get lost, stolen, can’t be tracked, and generate no data. In the Internet of Things, we can’t have that. Kisi allows your phone to become your key, unlocking not just your buildings and offices, but eventually bicycles, garages and cars. Their service includes a software dashboard for landlords and tenants to manage digital keys online. Kisi’s list of happy clients — WeWork, AlleyNYC, Techstars, and NYU Polytechnic — along with a fun presentation helped win approval from the whole audience.