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How JLL Spark Is Focusing On Tech As The Future Of CRE

From virtual reality to building information modeling, technology is fast becoming an integral part of the real estate industry. Many startups and tech companies are honing in on the real estate industry to add more products to the growing PropTech sector.

JLL expanded its tech capabilities with the launch of JLL Spark, an entity focused on creating new products, investments and supporting startups in the real estate tech industry.

JLL Spark co-CEO Mihir Shah

JLL Spark co-CEO Mihir Shah shared his thoughts on the latest in real estate tech and how JLL Spark will play its part in the evolving PropTech industry.

Shah, an entrepreneur and product executive, most recently was vice president and general manager of mobile at Groupon. He and JLL Spark co-CEO Yishai Lerner were co-founders of, which was later acquired by Groupon.

Bisnow: What is driving the growth behind the real estate tech industry?

Mihir Shah: I could make a good case that need is driving growth. For many years, real estate was viewed as a dinosaur in terms of its adoption of technology but, like it has in so many sectors of the economy, tech has started to take hold in real estate. It’s not hard to imagine technology transforming real estate like it did transportation. Once technology takes hold, it’s not going to stop. Technology is continuously developing and new advances can propel industries forward at a dizzying pace.

Bisnow: What are some ways the real estate industry can benefit from technology?

Shah: There are many ways, but like other sectors of the economy, real estate will benefit from greater efficiencies and increased productivity through technology. It already has to a great degree. Real estate is a very data-driven industry. Investors make decisions to buy assets based on data. Developers make decisions based on demographic and financial data. Technology can help streamline those decision-making processes. There are non-data applications too. Look at virtual reality. Two years ago, VR was nonexistent in real estate. Today, we see so many applications from advanced design to pre-marketing of to-be-built space.

Bisnow: How do you envision JLL Spark will help the real estate technology segment?

Shah: Our goal is to build new technology-based businesses across the broad landscape of commercial real estate. Our challenge is to understand our clients’ ecosystems so that we can identify the greatest pain points and determine where technology can have the greatest impact. We will base our priorities on this information. Our plan is to create a team to build products, make strategic investments and/or incubate companies to help them grow. As we figure out what products to market, we’ll have lots of JLL resources to test those products.

Bisnow: What types of technology do you expect will be part of JLL Spark's offerings?

Shah: It’s too early to say exactly because we’re still in the process of analyzing and understanding those pain points but, if you look across the existing landscape, we’ve already seen smart building programs, virtual tours and the beginnings of big data in commercial real estate. We’re still in the very early innings for PropTech so this is a good time for an independent business like JLL Spark.

Bisnow: What do you expect real estate tech will look like in the years ahead?

Shah: That’s a tough one. I don’t have a crystal ball. I do know, with some confidence, that it will look a lot different than it does today. Hopefully, JLL Spark will play a significant role in the transformation and proliferation of efficient, productive technology in the real estate sector.

Related Topics: JLL, PropTech, JLL Spark, Mihir Shah