written by Zander Geronimos

I recently was in Sweden for the Nordic PropTech Awards and wanted to share the inspiring experience I had. I participated in the awards and the venture capital panel, sharing MetaProp’s global investment perspective while also engaging with local startups. It was truly a unique experience, from net zero dining, passionate entrepreneurs, and exemplary technologists.

The awards took place on February 6th at the Kista Science Tower in Stockholm. With over a 132 nominees, the winners received complimentary membership to the national proptech associations, mentorship, pitch coaching, customer introductions, and the preeminent recognition of excellence in Nordic PropTech innovation.

The event’s main goal was to be carbon neutral and the opening of the event was a great showcase of this commitment to sustainability and engaging physical space. The attendees arrived for the welcome dinner the night before at ChouChou in the heart of Stockholm. The meals were zero environmental impact guaranteed foods including 3D constructed filet mignon and synthetic salmon. We were hosted by the owner Gustav Johansson who walked us through his vision for the menu, his interest in engaging vacant retail, and franchising the restaurant in markets abroad. Following this immersive meal we were greeted by the awards’s magnanimous organizer, Roger Tofft the Founder of PropTech Sweden as well as the team from Invest Stockholm. It was a warm welcome and generated the fervor for the following day’s event.

Following an arrival at the impressive Kista Science Tower, the awards ceremony was kicked off by the delegation of the Nordic PropTech Association with a welcome note from PropTech Denmark’s Michael Ambjørn who emphasized criteria of excellence and collaboration amongst the participants.

The attendees of the event included various real estate players including StrongHold Invest, NREP, Skanska, and many venture capital investors. Additionally, the MIPIM team was represented following their partnership with the Nordic Awards announcement.

Following the opening discussions and presentations which included adaptive reuse of retail space through socially engaging activities, were the breakout sessions. I joined the data session with the team at Coor, Frederick Sandquist, Head of Innovation and Gerhard Senldhofer, Founder and CEO. The Coor team has an aim to establish a data integration protocol in assets as well as startups. This is a critically important initiative given the amount of investments in IoT, Smart Building technology, and digital twin deployments that have occurred globally. The concepts that were driven home were back to collaboration and sustainable design, which were hailed as the hallmarks of the conference alongside the excellence in innovation.

The lunch was keeping in line with the theme of a net zero impact meal within a beautiful atrium. Following this innovative dining experience, the venture panel was assembled. I joined my colleagues Klara Ritter of PT1, Kamjar Hajabdolahi of Blq Invest, and our Moderator Jonas Bergqvist of Almi Invest. The discussion ranged from best practices of deployment, the state of real estate’s capital markets, the ongoing crises of energy and affordability, and of course the interest in the Nordic PropTech market. Our panel delved into the challenges for startups in a burgeoning market but also emphasized the unique opportunity of the Nordic’s sandbox to generate “problem obsessed companies” and then partner to enter scale up markets across APAC, Europe, and North America.

As the venture world lent its perspective, the award winners were cheered for their success. The winners by category include:

Invest & Finance: Navian which combines industry-first technology products with end-to-end real estate services. With a team combining experts in technology, real estate, and financial services, the Navian supports real estate projects from origination through funding to execution and exit.

Sustainable & Healthy Buildings: Stykka, is for ambitious real estate professionals who want to be at the forefront of the sustainability movement without compromising their asset value. Stykka helps you upgrade your kitchens to smart, durable ones that will significantly reduce your operating expenses and carbon footprint.

Contech: Recoma, Manufacturing and sales of 100% recycled and circular, high quality, and affordable construction material. Saving waste from incineration and giving it new life in the circular economy. 0 waste, 0 emissions, 0 additives, 0 water.

Property Management: Unloc, is an aggregation of digital lock systems, allowing users to administer access across systems and to open all doors through one app, the Unloc app. Unloc believes in a world where security and convenience can coexist on a whole new level, untapping the potential of digital technology.

New Real Estate Experiences: xNomad, is a marketplace platform for short-term retail space. They connect brands and e-commerce stores with short term retail space to create a pop-up store experience. Their rapidly growing listings include rent full white box spaces, shop-in-shop and shared pop up spaces.

Market: Propstreet, is about providing real estate investors and brokerage firms direct access to the most relevant business opportunities whenever and wherever. Propstreet connects vetted investors with verified brokers in a community for confidential commercial real estate transactions.

Urban Mobility & Logistics: Spirii, is a global platform for EV-charging. A market-leading management system to operate, manage, and scale your charging business. Spirii wants to lead a simple and smart transition towards sustainable transportation by offering innovative, agile, and end-user oriented e-mobility charging solutions.

Congratulations to the winners! We are excited to see their continued success and expansion.

At the closing of the event, the keynote speaker, Jonas Birgersson epitomized the conference’s themes of collaboration, sustainability, and excellence through standardized protocols and unified execution of deployments in energy with Via Europe. Jonas is famous for his work in broadband IT and early days of connectivity. His session included the iVia Europe initiative to standardize energy transfers and expand fiber deployment. This initiative and its underlying open integration ethos was the underpinning of all the award winners and presentations. Jonas emphasized the historical inventions of Bluetooth and internet protocols which will act as cornerstones for entrepreneurs and proliferation of proptech in the ecosystem.

In closing the experience of visiting the Nordics in person to witness the passion for innovation in the built world was highly rewarding. It was great to meet with fellow investors, talk through problems across the value chain with entrepreneurs and emphasize MetaProp’s commitment to the region. We are grateful to our partners at Stronghold Invest and thankful to our hosts.

Thank you for organizing and hosting, Roger Tofft, Michael Ambjorn, Daniel Butenschøn, Mikael Långström, PropTech Denmark, PropTech Sweden, Proptech Norway, PropTech Finland.

I look forward to my return to the Nordics for the PropTech Symposium ‘23 in Copenhagen.