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The ability to disrupt one of the world’s largest industries

How Israeli PropTech innovation is dominating smart cities

Online platform for creating professional 3D models from 2D architectural plans. Photo credit 3DCOM
Online platform for creating professional 3D models from 2D architectural plans. Photo credit 3DCOM

Challenges from post pandemic-related roadblocks continue to create barriers for property and construction industries worldwide in 2023. As a result, innovation has flourished and a new generation of ConTech and PropTech solutions have emerged to address these challenges. Enterprises and investors are increasingly interested in disruptive technologies in the ConTech and PropTech domains, and Israel is emerging as a market of focus.

A report by the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods noted that a record $4 billion of VC equity funding flooded the PropTech field in the first quarter of 2022, hitting an all-time high. This was an increase of 41 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, and a 31 percent increase from the previous year. These impressive statistics followed a record year for PropTech fundraising, when VC investment in the sector reached $11.7 billion.

According to Deloitte’s January 2022 report, “Shaping the Future of Construction and Real-Estate”, there are now more than 250 Israeli PropTech startups. To put it into perspective, there were only seven Israeli PropTech startups in 2008.

The BuiltUp Ventures (BUV) fund, specializing in innovative, pre-seed, Israeli property and construction technology, recognized the potential global disruption capabilities that Israeli startups might have in these two up-and-coming sectors.

“BUV created an ecosystem where investors and startups can come together to launch new technological solutions that are changing the PropTech horizon, a

With a new office in Dubai, BUV has strategically positioned themselves in critical go-to-market hubs. Photo by Shutterstocks well as enable a more secure financial path for startups. Until recently, these types of opportunities were only available to an elite group of investors”, explained BUV CIO Zev Steinberger.

With offices in NYC, Tel Aviv, Canada and a new hub in Dubai, BUV boasts an impressive portfolio ranging from PropTech, WaterTech, AgroTech, Urban Aviation and ConTech solutions for intelligent property management platforms and smart cities.

“Following the Israeli-Emirati PropTech and ConTech conference in Dubai, we realized what a potentially crucial impact Israeli innovation will have on the construction industry in the coming years. The interest in our portfolio companies was overwhelming,” explained Steinberger. “The fund provides diversification for the investor whilst keeping them industry centric.”

One sector particularly gaining tremendous attention is Augmented and Virtual Reality. Augmented reality (AR) is a promising market that is expected to completely revolutionize and expand the capabilities of retailers, Property developers, the gaming industry and the Metaverse as a whole over the next five years. The global AR market was worth $882 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 55.8% over the next half a decade, according to Mordor Intelligence who provide insights to clients such as Microsoft, 3M, Pfizer and Coca-Cola. BUV identified the tremendous impact that the AR/VR industry was going to have on the Real Estate industry, even before the plan to build the Metaverse emerged. As a result, they welcomed companies like Augmind and 3DCOM to join its portfolio.

“3DCOM’s proprietary technology and online platform for creating professional 3D models and tours from 2D architectural plans is a game-changer for the real estate industry”, explains Steinberger. “The company provides the ability to tour an entire apartment or office before it has been built, enabling the developer to provide an immersive 3D experience. Furthermore, the product is available in a remarkably fast turnover time.”

Another interesting company making international waves in BUV’s portfolio is Airwayz, a smart cities Drone technology. Airwayz offers software-based AI that enables any type of drone to be part of an autonomous drone fleet and perform multiple tasks in a variety of fields.

The Airwayz’ Dynamic Unmanned Traffic Management System (UTMS), can make autonomous decisions, such as flight validation and approval. “The vision is to turn cities and towns into drone friendly environments where every drone operator, either private or government related companies, can add their own innovative service of delivery, Air Taxi, Policing, security, HLS, firefighting and more, without worrying about long approval cycles for every flight or granting expensive airspace to a single operator”, explains Steinberger. “As we speak, Airwayz is launching one of several pilot projects, the first being with the port city of Rotterdam”.

Steinberger is excited about the fund’s future. “Despite being a young fund, BUV’s portfolio companies are showing impressive traction and demand, and the savvy investor who is industry-centric can benefit from a variety of smart city solutions, all under one roof.”

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