Top 15 Most Influential People in Real Estate Technology 2015

In honor of our upcoming 2015/2016 Demo Days, MetaProp NYC presents:   

The first annual list of the most influential in NY real estate tech:

  1. Jared Kushner of Kushner Companies and Josh Kushner of Thrive Capital

    • These two power brokers control millions of square feet in NY, and are among the earliest adopters and champions of all things real estate tech including startups like: WeWork, Compass, Cadre, Honest Buildings, and WiredScore.

  2. Zach Aarons, Clelia Peters and Aaron Block of MetaProp NYC

    • The most prolific angel in real estate tech, one of NYC’s top residential brokerage minds and an ex-Cushman executive teamed up with REBNY, ICSC, the NYCEDC, Warburg Realty and Zillow to launch this real estate tech startup accelerator and the #1 global RETech seed fund.  This team also produces NYC Real Estate Tech Week.

  3. Nick Romito of VTS and Brandon Weber of Hightower

    • Founding entrepreneurs and competitors who are lighting the commercial real estate tech world on fire. Future of CRE could be here.  Both companies have activated old-line institutional partners (Blackstone, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Corp, etc.) and have raised significant Series B capital from blue chip venture funds.

  4. Robert Refkin and Ori Allon of Compass

    • Ex-Goldman Sachs and ex-Google founders who built a tech enabled residential real estate brokerage powerhouse.

  5. Susan Daimler of StreetEasy/Zillow

    • One of the previous generation of real estate tech entrepreneurs who remains as relevant and influential as ever.  Currently GM of top residential listings site.

  6. Steve Schlafman of RRE

  7. Rich Sarkis of Reonomy and Michael Mandel of CompStak

    • Big shots taking on the goliath, publicly traded deathstar CoStar.  Michael’s CompStack democratized leasing “comps” and Rich’s Reonomy just completed a massive Series B with investors like Bain Capital.

  8. Michael Rudin of Rudin Management

    • 4th gen Exec who helps spearhead the 20m sqft portfolio's tech investments.  Incubating their own DiBoss building operations platform.

  9. Dave Eisenberg of Floored and Red Swan Ventures.

    • Widely recognized as one of the smartest entrepreneurs in the space.  The authority on interactive 3D graphics and space test fit technology.  Also investor in Hightower and other technologies through VC Red Swan Ventures.

  10. Bill Field of LeFrak Investments, Ryan Melohn of Expansion VC, Michael Milstein of Millstein Properties, Grand Central Tech incubator, and Circle Ventures, and Ryan Freedman of Corigin Ventures

    • Not as well known as the Kushners and Rudins but still very influential strategic investors.  These gentlemen invest real estate family money and help new technologies access pilots within their vast portfolios.  Local portfolio companies include Honest Buildings, Radiator Labs and LogCheck.

  11. Ryan Baxter of REBNY and Sarah Malcolm of ICSC 

    • You can't ignore the influence of real estate associations in the future of our industry.  Ryan Baxter is a lobbyist and liaison to the real estate tech community for industry association powerhouse REBNY.  He's recognized as a Crain’s NY 40 under 40Sarah Malcolm runs digital strategy for the global retail real estate association ICSC and maintains tight relationships with the local venture, start-up, media and real estate communities.

  12. Erik Levy of DMGI, Brad Svrluga of Primary Ventures,  and Jordan Nof of Tusk Ventures

    • Erik leads investments for the deepest investor in the real estate tech data space.  Holdings include Trepp, SiteCompli, and Real Capital Analytics.   Brad has been an early champion of real estate tech and investor in local startups Reonomy, Fieldlens, and TheSquareFoot. Jordan served as a director at Blackstone and now leads investments at Tusk Ventures.

  13. Riggs Kubiak of Honest Buildings

    • Ex-Tishman Speyer executive who invented the real estate market’s leading procurement and workflow platform

  14. Caren Maio of Nestio

    • Top female founder in today’s crop of real estate technologists.  Created NY’s leading residential listings system for residential real estate professionals.

  15. Ashkán Zandieh of CRE:Tech and Falkon

    • Founder of CRE:Tech research and consulting and property research app Falkon.  One of the original advocates for real estate tech in New York City. 

The Top 7 ReTech Publishers and the Entrepreneurs Behind the Curtains

The real estate tech industry is establishing some authoritative publishers, bloggers and thought leaders.  People always ask Zach, Clelia and me how to find more information about cutting edge real estate technologies.  So, here is a short list of sources who obsess about real estate tech and like to share their expertise.

The Top 7 ReTech Publishers and the Entrepreneurs Behind the Curtains

1) Inman News - Brad Inman created the gold standard residential and broker tech-centric publication.  Professional journalists going deep on both coasts.

2) Duke Long  - Duke Long lives up to his nickname as “The Godfather” of commercial real estate tech.  He’s a pioneer and opinionated thought leader who is a dear friend to most in the industry.  Duke also uses his massive network to periodically publish a number of useful “top lists,” including:

   a) Top 75 CRETech Companies

   b) Top 150 CRE People

   c) Top 10 Most Influential Online CRE People

3) CRE.tech - Travis Barrington’s latest publication is a late entrant into the dedicated real estate tech news space but Travis’ serious publishing chops position him as the institutional source for useful CRE tech news.

TheNewsFunnel - Media and tech entrepreneur Michael Beckerman aggregates great tech news from around the country and also creates tons of content in-house.  Best of all, he and his killer team regularly share the love to a huge list of followers.

RE:Tech - Entrepreneur Ash Zandieh was one of the first champions of real estate tech in NY and his research is widely cited in the media.

CRE // Tech - Corporate real estate bigwig Pierce Neinken’s labor of love not only hosts some of the biggest industry gatherings but it also regularly publishes amazing research reports for the CRETech community.

Metaprop NYC - Real estate technology’s most prolific angel investor Zach Aarons co-founded NYC’s real estate tech accelerator and the industry’s #1 seed fund in 2015.  His frequent musings on the MetaProp NYC blog are both provocative and insightful.

An Open Letter to Millennial Entrepreneurs


Dear Millennials,

Many of you have now decided to start companies.  That's great.  We need young people with fresh ideas in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  I am counting on you to become the next great visionaries disrupting the real estate technology industry.  Hopefully some of you will someday apply to MetaProp NYC.

Because so many of you are now entrepreneurs, I thought that I would share some basic principles with you.  These principles seem clear and obvious to me as an elderly member of the "Jordan Catalano Generation" but for some reason many of you either don't share them, don't care about them, or fundamentally disagree with them.

Nonetheless, here are some things that you need to understand when you raise money from me as an angel investment in your business.

·         I have just made an angel investment in your business.  This is usually in the form of a convertible note, preferred stock, or a SAFE.  Regardless of this structure, this now makes you a fiduciary.  If you don't know what fiduciary duty is, please stop everything you are doing and look it up immediately!  No links here; you have to use the Google machine yourself.

·         I made an angel investment in your business.  This is not a Thiel Fellowship grant.  I did not just give you money to "find yourself", "save the world", "learn about startups" or "explore an intellectual curiosity".  I invested a small amount of money in your business that I would like some day to turn into a large amount of money.  If you happen to find yourself while building your business and making me money, that's awesome.  If you want to only further your education, please do so on your own nickel.

·         I just made an angel investment in your business.  Here is a list of things that you are not allowed to do under any circumstances until you return a larger sum of money to me than I put in.  All of these rules are based on my personal experiences with millennial entrepreneurs.  No names but all experiences are 100% truthful.

o   You are not allowed to purchase a fancy Audi Q7 because your team is having "mobility problems" getting around Silicon Valley.  You can take the bus.

o   You are not allowed to hire a personal chef for your team so they can eat better.  They can eat Soylent or whatever else people in your generation eat.

o   You are not allowed to fly business class.

o   You are not allowed to stay at a five star hotel when you come to visit potential investors and clients in NYC.  You can stay at a hostel.

o   You are not allowed to say that you need a high salary to cover your rent.  You don't have kids.  Move back with your parents.  I know it sucks but make it work.  If your parents don't live nearby, you need to crash on someone's couch for a few months until you raise more money or actually God forbid start running a cash flow positive business.

o   You are not allowed to tell me that you are crushing it when your company is two weeks away from becoming insolvent.

o   You are not allowed to ignore me.  When you are running out of money you need to pick up the phone and call me, immediately.  I am not suggesting I can fix your problems but I might be able to help and it only takes you 10 minutes.  You have nothing to lose.

o   You are not allowed to tell me that you don't need my help because you have a "fantastic team of mentors and advisors" who are much better than me in every way. If your group of advisors is so good, why were they not able to prevent you from flushing your business down the toilet?

o   You are not allowed after you have lit my money on fire to tell me how "excited" and "inspired" you are to be working at another company filled with "geniuses".  Unless that other company is paying me a recruiting fee after hiring you or giving me equity, I really don't give a shit about how awesome your new job is.  You sucked at your last job and lost my money.

o   You are not allowed to tell me that my communication to you has been poor.  I have no obligation whatsoever to communicate with you except for signing various documents and wiring money.  You have an obligation to communicate with me.

o   You are not allowed to hang up the phone when I call you to tell you that you ignored these rules and did a terrible job at running a company.  Just because your other investors are too scared about reputational risk to yell at you doesn't mean you don't need to be yelled at.  Don't expect to be coddled by everyone.  Life is not all Care Bears and rainbows at Burning Man.

I will tolerate the fact that you have no idea about John and Lorena Bobbitt. I am even okay with the fact that you can't sing me any Stone Temple Pilots song.  I feel sorry that you never had the privilege of seeing Tonya Harding ice skate or seeing Dylan date Brenda and Kelly simultaneously.  However, I just unfortunately can't tolerate you ignoring the very simple rules and principles that I have outlined above.


Zach Aarons