Event Recaps

PropTech Innovation at Columbia’s First Hacking for Real Estate Technology Class

On the heels of its first PropTech pre-accelerator, Columbia just wrapped up its first Hacking for Real Estate Technology class, culminating in student presentations of innovative PropTech solutions to issues facing the real estate industry today.

“The Hacking for Real Estate Technology class is another way that GSAPP is collaborating with the wealth of PropTech expertise available at Columbia and in New York City in order to help students unlock their innovative potential,” said Josh Panknin, Associate Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP).

PropTech companies look to solve problems in the real estate industry with innovative technology. In this class, students tackled construction inefficiencies, renting in NYC, and the next wave of real estate investment using the blockchain. They found ways to help international students get their bearings in a new market and how to level the playing field for developers, which would allow newer companies to enter into and invigorate the market.

Leading up to the presentations, the cohort spent 12 weeks immersed in the worlds of PropTech and entrepreneurship under the guidance of Professors Panknin and Zach Aarons, ’13BUS, co-founder of leading real estate tech accelerator and seed fund MetaProp NYC.

Offered through the Master’s in Real Estate program at GSAPP, Hacking for Real Estate Technology provided students with exposure to expert guidance from industry experts, startup entrepreneurs, Columbia Business School representatives, and Columbia Entrepreneurship. Students finished the class by presenting their PropTech ideas with fully functioning websites that they built in a concurrent Programming for Innovation in Real Estate computer class.

“These students learned from experts, conducted field research, and in the end brought their fresh perspectives to create impactful solutions for the industry,” said Aarons.

“The course fostered entrepreneurship and gave me the tools and road map to develop a business in PropTech,” said Elliot Berenger, ’18GSAPP. “It provided guidance and access to professionals at the top of their craft who have been through it. This has led to several teams pursuing viable businesses. It’s great to see Columbia collaborate and lead the way.”

“This class taught me everything from storyboarding to wire-framing and delivering kick-ass pitches, and both the speakers and judges Josh and Zach brought in were fantastic,” said Ruo Piao Chen, ’18GSAPP. “I highly recommend this course for anyone who wants to uncover the possibilities of having a self-made career in real estate technology.”

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