Real Estate Giants Hot on Cybersecurity, Lukewarm on Consumer Apps at Columbia RETech Forum

NYC’s biggest real estate firms are “paranoid” about cybersecurity and excited by virtual reality: panelists

Industry giants also say they’re lukewarm to consumer-facing tech at Columbia forum on entrepreneurship

September 30, 2016 
By Chava Gourarie

Real estate tech upstarts are focused on better tools for consumers, but New York’s graying veterans of the industry see cybersecurity, virtual reality and smart building technology as the key to maximizing the bottom line, speakers at a panel on entrepreneurship at Columbia University said Thursday.

“Cybersecurity is number one for me,” said Marc Holliday, CEO of SL Green Realty who moderated one of the panels. “Is this a burning issue for your firms,” he asked the other panelists, “or am I just paranoid?”

Columbia University Trustee and CEO SL Green MarcHolliday ’90GSAPP

If he was paranoid, so were they, the other panelists, including Robert Entin, chief information officer at Vornado Realty Trust, assured him.

The Columbia University entrepreneurship event at 237 Park Avenue featured a panel of real estate startups and investors, moderated by Zach Aarons of the real estate tech accelerator MetaProp NYC, and a second panel of industry veterans from some of the city’s biggest real estate companies, moderated by Holliday.

The veterans and upstarts openly acknowledged a difference in philosophy at the panel. The startup panelists were mostly intrigued by consumer-facing platforms and repeatedly expressed eagerness to more industry openness toward innovation. [Rest of Story]

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