Day 1 of South Korea’s most prominent startup festival, COMEUP 2021, saw a gala opening event with several insightful panel discussions, expert talks, startup pitches, presentations, mentoring talks, Q & A sessions, and more.
This year’s event is a mixture of online and offline sessions organized to strengthen communication and exchanges between startups, global investors, and global companies.
The 3-day long global startup festival is Asia’s most distinguished startup event. COMEUP 2021 edition has been organized under the futuristic theme of “Meet the Future – Transformation” to address the challenges and the course corrections that startups had to endure internationally to be in tandem with the rapid changes the post-Covid world is witnessing.
It is a platform for global startups and Korean startups to expand their horizons by meeting global investors, agencies, mentors, attending discussions, and more.
One of the agendas on the first day was to look at the real estate sector from an entrepreneur’s vista and analyze the changes that have been triggered by the Covide-19 pandemic prompting a sea change in the Proptech sector. These changes are catalyzed by digital transformation and advancement, making headways for technologies like AR, VR, and 3D imaging in the real estate sector and changing how people perceive Proptech.
Three-panel discussions were held, dealing with different aspects of Proptech, designed in an innovative format of fireside chat for better participation and understanding of various nuances in real estate and its changing dynamics.
COVID-19 and the Growth of Proptech
Seongtae Nam moderated the first fireside chat, CEO ZipFund who has worked extensively throughout Seoul and New York on commercial real estate investment and development. The panelist included Simon Bae, CEO of Cupix and a serial entrepreneur and innovator who has been leading the growth of the 3D scanning and cloud-based 3D industry for decades.
The panel experts shared their views on how Proptech got a jolt after the outbreak of Covid-19 that pushed it out of this industry from its sweet slumber, which otherwise has huge inertia towards change. The rapid adaptation of tech propelled by the pandemic has changed the way Proptech was viewed.
Simon Bae said, “Nestle is using our expertise of 3D image capturing and space management to monitor its 200 plants worldwide.” He explained that technological advancement in the Proptech sector is not confined to just real estate and construction as many conceive it. Proper collaboration and partnership, the technologies in the industry can also assist in the growth of other sectors, and it has become a fact in the post-Covid-world.
The panel expert shared their vast experience in the field and discussed the boom in the real estate sector with lower home loan interest rates and rising liquidity in the market and called it an opportune time for investment in the industry. They briefly discussed the challenges ailing the sector and discussed Facebook’s Metaverse and its impact on the Proptech sector.
Simon Bae shared his experiences of starting in the US and briefly explained the challenges that one faces in the world’s fiercely competitive marketplace. He concluded by saying that there is a kick to face the competition at a global level because if one can survive and make an impact at this level, it is always easier for them to take their business to other corners of the world.
How Proptech Changes the Use of Space: Changing Cityscape
Sumin Kim, CEO of Local Stitch, moderated the second fireside chat. The panelist included Soohyun Chung, Founder and CEO of NSPACE, a Space Value-up Startup that transforms unused urban space into affordable city space.
The panel experts discussed the rising prices of real estate after the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on changing the perception of space for both owners and tenants. Based on their market experiences, the panelist highlighted the concept of space and its evolution quickly. Real estate is witnessing structural shifts in the way properties are being operated. Real estate owners and operators both have an appetite for proactive, agile, and cloud-based operations management.
Soohyun Chung said, “Moreover, in 2021, these spaces have turned into a chameleon, meaning that these spaces have turned into a multipurpose room. If the owner is not allowed to rent out their spaces, they would convert it into a studio and offer it to people for their photoshoot.”
She added that even building owners have evolved, and they are trying to build their spaces to attract the MZ generations and are contacting Proptech consultants to carry out the work for them. At the same time, occupants expect seamless experiences with improved communication and control of their spaces. With advancements in IoT and Cloud, which are now widely accessible and affordable, the industry is witnessing a rapid transformation.
Proptech: Evolution of Place and Lifestyle
Finally the fireside chat on property was followed by a panel discussion that revolved mostly around Protech and the Metaverse’s evolution and how this will be the next big thing disrupting the real estate sector. Taehee Lim, CEO of IGIS IP, moderated the panel discussion. His company specializes in investment in the prop-tech sector. The panelist included Sungwoo Ahn, CEO of Zigbang, currently Korea’s No. 1 Proptech company and Sujin Lee, CEO of Yanolja that has expanded its business portfolio by providing a leisure booking service while adding major hotel brands and automated hotel solutions to its features.
The distinguished panel discussed the future course of the Proptech industry with an emphasis on Metaverse. Citing the example of Tesla, Sungwoo Ahn said that like the automobile industry is witnessing a transformation both in terms of software and hardware, a similar ripple effect will be felt by the real estate industry. He said that the shift wouldn’t be a smooth one, and players in the sector who are ready to embrace these changes and adapt to the transition will survive and be part of the future in Proptech.
You can follow the above COMEUP 2021 session live over here: