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JLL encourages start-ups to grab the ‘proptech’ opportunity in Asia

Real estate firm hosts panel discussion at Tech in Asia conference, plans to invest in new ventures

​SINGAPORE, 18 May 2017 – JLL Asia Pacific CEO Anthony Couse told an audience of tech entrepreneurs today that it's time to grab opportunities in the property sector in Asia. As part of a panel discussion the firm hosted at the Tech in Asia Singapore conference, Mr Couse said that while real estate has been viewed as a traditional business, the time is right to embrace technology, digitisation and collaboration.

"We're taking an agile approach to technology that will allow us to meet our clients' needs today while preparing for the opportunities of tomorrow," said Mr Couse. "We believe in big corporations being part of the larger tech ecosystem, engaging with the start-up scene and academic researchers, and learning from entrepreneurs and innovators. Proptech is an opportunity for us all to work together, and that's really exciting."

Proptech, a portmanteau of the words 'property' and 'technology', describes a burgeoning new sector whereby technology solutions are used to solve real estate problems.

On the panel with Mr Couse were Darius Cheung, founder and CEO of, a property search portal that recently secured US$7.9 million in funding, and associate professor Wen Yonggang of the newly launched Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (DSAIR). DSAIR is a research centre for artificial intelligence and big data analytics at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

"Data and artificial intelligence will profoundly transform how the real estate sector is operated nowadays, changing the way infrastructure, people and businesses are managed, and possibly opening up new business models or revenue streams," said Dr Wen. "DSAIR is committed to developing disruptive technologies and panel discussions like this one greatly facilitate this innovation process, by creating a common platform for various stakeholders to come together with a clear objective to further the field."

Mr Cheung added: "Real estate is one of the last industries that has not yet been transformed by technology and it's the natural next step in the tech revolution. But it is also a much bigger and more complex landscape to navigate compared to other industries like retail and transportation. As one of the most innovative firms in Southeast Asia for proptech, believes in collaborating with existing industry players, such as a massive respected brand like JLL, to accelerate disruption."​

JLL has already begun to make forays into the start-up sector with the launch of its India technology investment arm in October 2016. The subsidiary has invested in two Indian start-ups:, which uses virtual reality and augmented reality to facilitate the customisation of interiors; and Cloud 1 Enterprises, a cloud based platform to help companies provide safe and secure transportation for their employees.

Mr Couse reveals that JLL has also developed a number of home-grown technology applications which support the three main ways the company serves its clients: analysing, managing and transacting real estate. These include Acumen, a dashboard and reporting tool for property management; Hawk, an app that allows brokers to access the latest information on buildings and asset stocks; VR 360, a virtual reality service for design and build; and, an online marketplace for finding office space in China.

"At JLL we're real estate experts first and foremost. We've been in this business more than 200 years. By pairing that deep, strategic knowledge with best-in-class tech expertise, we're confident we'll achieve our goal of being a world leader in real estate technology," concluded Mr Couse.

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About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. A Fortune 500 company, JLL helps real estate owners, occupiers and investors achieve their business ambitions. In 2016, JLL had revenue of $6.8 billion and fee revenue of $5.8 billion and, on behalf of clients, managed 4.4 billion square feet, or 409 million square meters, and completed sales acquisitions and finance transactions of approximately $136 billion. At the end of the first quarter of 2017, JLL had nearly 300 corporate offices, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 78,000. As of March 31, 2017, LaSalle Investment Management had $58.0 billion of real estate under asset management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

JLL has over 50 years of experience in Asia Pacific, with 36,800 employees operating in 95 offices in 16 countries across the region. The firm won the 'World's Best' and 'Best in Asia Pacific' International Property Consultancy at the International Property Awards in 2016 and was named number one real estate investment advisory firm in Asia Pacific for the sixth consecutive year by Real Capital Analytics.