JLL Spark Opens Up on Value of Proptech and The Numbers Are Astounding


Houses, apartments, buildings, offices, they’ve all been ‘getting smarter’. The lights dim and adjust automatically depending on the time of day, room temperature can easily change depending on various personalised factors, and from the comfort of your chair you can easily find the person that you’re looking for.

Tech — Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) in particular — have made our work and personal lives that bit easier.

And tech, as you all know, evolves fast and disrupts at an even faster rate. This time, tech has come to revolutionize the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, and key players of the industry are quickly jumping on board.

“Commercial real estate is at a tech ‘tipping point’.” – Mihir Shah, Co-CEO JLL Spark


Simply put, property technology (AKA proptech) is “technology specifically designed to improve processes in the property industry” (Gnomen).

Tearsheet dives deeper into defining proptech as “a set of cross-industry technologies changing the way we research, rent, buy, and manage property. (…) Proptech is predicated on connecting various pieces of the property market, so that participants in the real estate ecosystem (think buyers and sellers but also brokers and lenders) can make better decisions with less friction.”

Enter JLL Spark, a new business led by two Silicon Valley veterans, Mihir Shah and Yishai Lerner.

Technology’s impact on the real estate industry has been increasing exponentially according to Shah. “In 2015, $1.9 billion was invested in real estate technology companies around the world, and that number rose 36% in 2016 to $2.6 billion.”

Allwork reached out to Mihir Shah to learn more about JLL Spark and how the co-founders plan to disrupt the CRE and proptech market.

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“JLL Spark is an initiative that will launch us into innovative new areas of proptech by building a team that will create new products, make strategic investments, and incubate proptech startups.

JLL Spark will report directly to JLL’s CEO, Christian Ulbrich and Shah and Lerner expect to anticipate and deliver on rapidly changing tech-led client requirements and accelerate JLL’s position within the realm of digital real estate services.

Basically, JLL Spark will focus on discovering, developing, and implementing smart tech solutions for real estate, with a particular focus on CRE.

Though as it stands, the ones that will benefit the most from JLL Spark will be JLL’s clients, their work could very well set the pace and the bar for how real estate tech innovation can make the property experience more nimble and agile. “Just like transportation has been transformed by technology, the opportunity is now for this to happen in the real estate industry.”

“We won’t be applying technology for the sake of technology.”

“Yishai and I are new to the real estate industry. We are analysing the ecosystem of real estate and assessing where there are pain points and opportunities that can be solved by technology. Then the time will come to identify opportunities we want to pursue.”

The goal is to build products, make strategic investments, and incubate startups that will revolutionize the way real estate portfolios are run and managed.

For the workspace-as-a-service industry, this could, potentially, mean innovation in spaces, design, and management. But, like Shah says, “we’ve only just begun to look at the world of possibilities, so it’s too early to know.”

Regardless of JLL Spark’s trajectory and plans, proptech is bound to make a splash in the industry, and operators should be ready to embrace it.