While technology is having a disruptive impact on real estate, it will not change the core business of real estate investment managers. Kevin Colket, managing director and head of Asian acquisitions at Starwood Capital Group, talks to PERE on the role technology would play in the firm’s real estate business.
I think technology can have a major impact on cost. Whether it is knowing when to shut the lights off, whether is tracking usage, whether it is new technologies that enable real estate to operate more productively and efficiently, but at the end of the day the core business is not changing.
Will Starwood Capital invest in venture capital-style investments? And I think the answer is, yes, whether it’s through our funds or whether it’s through some of our other businesses. But the goal is to take those technologies and learn from them, and drive value to our core businesses, our core business won’t change.
I think the one exception is things like AirBNB, where it is the hotel business and they’ve enabled a business that never existed before, or was just purely inefficient through vacation rentals. Logistics is a growth business. Will we invest in logistics centres that are exponentially higher tech than they were before because that’s where the demand is? Yes.But the course business of what we do hasn’t changed and technology is just going to enable us to make better decisions and to optimize performance.
Now, in technology, nobody knows who’s going to win or lose. So while we will make investments to stay close to it, I think it’s really, to figure who’s going to win in a winner-takes-all world of all these new technology solutions where the goal is really to be an ‘arms dealer’ and provide the same technology to everyone to get maximum data, I don’t below that’s our core business.