Michael Beckerman

Michael Beckerman

CEO at CREtech

Michael Beckerman
By October 6, 2023 9:00 AM

Real estate tech conferences everywhere suffered a blow (at least to morale) when MIPIM quietly decided to forgo its New York proptech conference this fall.

The move might, for some, call into question the very relevance of conferences but if your conference has been left standing after one of the big boys vacates the field, you’re suddenly bigger and more important than ever.

To wit, Michael Beckerman’s three-day CREtech event in September drew 3,500 people, a record and about 1,000 more than last year. Government speakers such as New York City Economic Development head Andrew Kimball, U.S. Department of Energy Chief Investment Officer Chris Creed, and Trust for Governors Island President and CEO Clare Newman appeared alongside real estate moguls such as SL Green’s Andrew Mathias and developer Jonathan Rose.

“We’ll always be in New York,” Beckerman said. “It’s the only city I’d do a conference in in the U.S. … I’m very, very bullish on New York as the climate tech capital of the built world.”

None of this means that CREtech hasn’t witnessed some of the major contractions of proptech over the last year, and Beckerman doesn’t deny the pain out there. “There’s absolute headwinds in the space; funding is almost impossible to get these days,” Beckerman said. “At the same time, I also see a lot of tailwinds. That’s not me being a fanboy, it’s knowing the market and the appetite out there.”

Climate tech is one of the biggest of the big-ticket items that people at CREtech were buzzing about, according to Beckerman. Likewise, “tools to address labor shortages, supply chain, tenant demand and operating efficiency — that’s what real estate companies are looking for. That can help them attract more tenants.” Data on occupancy is also a vital need.

“Need” is a big distinguisher, according to Beckerman, from “want.”

“How many [companies are providing technology that] are must haves? Not nice to have must have. If you’re underfunded and you’re producing kind of a nice thing, it’s really choppy waters out there.”

Beckerman is, of course, an old hand at commercial real estate, having served time as a PR agent to industry heavies such as JLL, CoStar and Avison Young, but he zealously took up the cause of proptech in the 2010s when he created The News Funnel, a proptech news aggregator, and started CREtech in 2017.