I love Chicago. I’ve lived and worked in many neighborhoods ranging from Lakeview to Lincoln Park to Old Town to Gold Coast and in buildings of all shapes and sizes. Despite having many great memories and experiences in each of these parts of the city, the one constant is that I’ve never lived or worked in a building that created those experiences. No matter how fancy and amenitized or simple the property, there was always a gap between the building and the people that lived or worked there that inhibited connectivity within the building population. Ironically, the greatest source of connection probably came from complaining with colleagues or fellow residents about a building’s inability to create meaningful experiences or convenience. One of the reasons I’ve been in so many parts of the city is that no building has felt like a fit, so I’ve moved on.
As a Millenial, I grew up in a world that revolves around technology. Tech is the connector to get from where I am to where I want to go, both literally and figuratively. I live with tech integrated into so many parts of my life from tracking fitness activity and sleep, to networking and connecting with friends, to listening to music, and most importantly, to making sure I wake up on time to hit those daily activity goals. Siri/Google is within an earshot when I have a question or want to change the song, Zoom calls help strengthen my relationships with family and friends during social distancing, and UberEats keeps my taste buds happy. There are so many examples of software and services making my life better, more efficient, and making me happier. Technology even helped me find a job at a company I love: Rise Buildings.
On a bright summer morning in 2018, I met Prasan Kale, Co-founder and CEO of Rise Buildings. I was in the process of pivoting my career from retail and industrial real estate development to commercial and urban multi-family development. Prasan had worked for a number of real estate firms that I was interested in exploring opportunities with, so after reaching out to him via LinkedIn, we met at Dollop Coffee shop to talk shop over a cup of coffee. Little did I know, Prasan was already hard at work on Rise. Heading into the meeting I had no idea Rise existed let alone what the company’s ethos/mission was. Nor did I have any real interest in real estate technology, because at the time, property technology (aka “PropTech”) was really just getting started.
After that conversation with Prasan, I started to understand why I never felt connected to my buildings, no matter what location, amenities, or perks the property boasted. I kept searching for something that I couldn’t find because the places I lived and worked didn’t have the tools to foster connectivity, which also meant it was harder to work or live there. They were all missing something that could take the building and turn it into a community. The missing piece of the puzzle, I discovered, was technology.
We live, work, and play in a way that involves some type of real estate and technology is playing an increasingly important role in our lives; yet those two facets remain largely distinct from one another. Prasan helped me recognize this lack of integration between real estate and technology and that there is an incredible opportunity to help people connect with environments we all spend so much time in. Needless to say, I was compelled enough to take the risk on what was, at the time, an early stage startup. I haven’t looked back since.
One of the reasons I joined Rise two years ago was to be a part of the groundbreaking marriage of two powerful industries, real estate and technology. For as long as I can remember, I never had any real interest in any career path outside of real estate. I was always fascinated by technology and the new companies/apps that had become a part of my daily life, but I didn’t see any opportunities within the technology world that would be applicable to me and my skill set until I met Prasan and he pitched me on Rise. I immediately saw the value proposition in what Prasan and Sid (our CTO and the other co-founder) set out to achieve, and the opportunity could not have been a more perfect fit.
I wanted to be a part of a company that would change the real estate industry forever by reinventing the way people interact with their built environments, and I’m proud to say we’re doing just that. Whether you read Prasan’s article on why tech is the future connecting people to their buildings, Sid’s blog about deep integrations with our partners, or our case study on achieving 95% engagement, you can see why Rise is different and why that difference matters.
Proptech is the future because it connects areas that were previously siloed. It reduces friction for people to make use of what those buildings have to offer. It creates convenience and positive experiences. Without these, people like me will continue to bounce around from building to building – which isn’t in anyone’s best interest.