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Cushman & Wakefield Teams With Startup Accelerator To Fuel PropTech Innovation

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Cushman & Wakefield has formed a partnership with startup accelerator Plug and Play. The real estate services giant is now a founding partner of the Plug and Play Real Estate & Construction program.

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Established in 2006, Plug and Play oversees industry-specific accelerator programs. It launched the Plug and Play Real Estate & Construction program earlier this year as a spinoff from one of the company's oldest programs, which is focused on the Internet of Things.

As a founding partner, Cushman & Wakefield will work with Plug and Play startups to place bets with early stage PropTech companies, later-stage tech investments and thought leaders in both CRE and technology, Cushman & Wakefield Chief Digital Officer Adam Stanley said.

“Our global partnership with Plug and Play’s Real Estate & Construction program is an exciting extension of our commitment to leading innovation in real estate,” Stanley said.

Cushman & Wakefield's move is the latest in the real estate tech arms race. Besides Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE, Colliers International, JLL and Newmark Group have been heating up their investment in tech infrastructure recently.

“I think it’s probably the biggest underlying trend that we’re seeing in the marketplace,” CRETech.com CEO Michael Beckerman told Bisnow earlier this year. “The brokerage firms, in particular the big five I would say, have all now aligned themselves with either a VC accelerator [or] hired their own in-house tech talent." 

In some cases, the brokerages run their own accelerators. Last summer, JLL Spark, that company's PropTech division, launched a $100M global venture fund to invest in burgeoning tech companies

JLL Spark Global Venture Fund will invest specifically in tech startups that aim to make real estate development, management, leasing and investing more efficient for real estate professionals, particularly JLL clients.

In a separate but also recent deal, Cushman & Wakefield has agreed to acquire Quality Solutions Inc., a leading facilities management firm that specializes in on-demand facility maintenance and project management services, Commercial Property Executive reports.

The acquisition reportedly will expand Cushman & Wakefield’s facility management capabilities by leveraging QSI’s supply chain of more than 50,000 suppliers and more than 75 facilities trades.