JLL Spark as Your Strategic Partner

In the world of corporate venture capital, JLL Spark Global Ventures stands out as the leading innovation platform within commercial real estate (CRE). Unique among our peers in both strategy and structure, JLL Spark continues to be a key strategic partner to disruptive PropTech startups.  

How exactly are we different?  

For starters, JLL is our sole capital partner, so we focus on investing in strategically relevant technology to optimize for the needs of the core business. This means that even within the sphere of PropTech, we focus on investing in startups that cater to the more commercial tranche of the real estate asset class. While we may not be the right investor for every kind of PropTech startup, when we do identify technology with what we call the “JLL fit,” we are arguably one of the most valuable venture partners in the industry. 

How do we add value to our portfolio companies? 

Naturally, having JLL as an investor brings real estate credibility to any startup, but we’re committed to going far beyond just providing our portfolio companies with capital. As a truly strategic investor, we provide our startups with access to JLL’s global presence, clients, industry knowledge, and resources. To facilitate this, we’ve built what we call our Growth Team, to work directly with our portfolio companies and provide dedicated tactical support on navigating the nuances of working with a 100,000+ employee organization. During the onboarding process, a Growth team member is appointed to work directly with our portfolio founders to identify and execute a path toward success within JLL. One of our main goals is to develop a mutually beneficial channel partnership between our startups and a pertinent team within the core business. An example of this is Spark’s introduction of OpenSpace to our Project & Development Services business (PDS) where we leverage site documentation technology to drive efficiency and transparency in our construction project management practice. 

Why should PropTech startups partner with JLL Spark? 

With JLL’s foundation dating back to the late 1700s, today we operate as a leading real estate professional services firm and investment manager across more than 90 countries. The Spark fund is part of our continuing commitment to innovation, leveraging our particularly favorable position to scale the adoption of disruptive technologies in our industry. This presents a massive growth opportunity for current and future portfolio companies, often helping refine a startup’s go-to-market strategy. This is certainly the case with Infogrid’s partnership with our integrated facilities management (IFM) service line, where we’re implementing smart building/IoT deployments to create a data-driven approach to facilities maintenance. 

At JLL Spark, we’re dedicated to investing and growing best in class tech startups that drive CRE lifecycle innovation. Our mission as a strategic partner is to be a bridge between emerging PropTech startups and the multitude of stakeholders within CRE. To date, our strategic investments have granted JLL the ability to provide innovative products to real estate owners and operators. Notable instances of this include JLLT’s strategic partnership with HqO as our preferred workplace experience platform, and our use of Saltmine’s cloud-based platform for dynamic workplace design. This kind of synergy is what we strive towards; delivering value to our clients and driving growth for our startups. 

Written by Daniel Correa, growth associate

Interested in a strategic partnership with JLL Spark Global Ventures? Apply here.

Trending Now in CRE: Sustainability

The sustainability movement is growing across practically every sector in technology. Since real estate is responsible for nearly 40% of global CO2 emissions, it’s no surprise that the built world is focused on sustainability and climate action. However, curbing carbon emissions in our industry will require unprecedented cooperation between owners and tenants. Owners will need to create sustainable spaces for their tenants and establish systems to optimize comfort and minimize climate impact, while tenants must adjust their behaviors and leverage their building’s investments in technology to limit their own carbon footprints.  

To accelerate change, regulators are increasingly implementing climate requirements to penalize slow movers. Lenders and underwriters are requiring stringent climate disclosures, and investors are demanding corporations lower carbon footprints, prompting unparalleled demand for sustainable occupancy. At JLL Spark, we have prioritized our efforts to identify and invest in the leading technological solutions that tackle our industry’s largest challenge.  

While there are many areas to drive increased sustainability in the built world, let’s start with a macro focus on the three core stages of the built world lifecycle: construction, occupancy, and demolition/disposal. While building operations are a major contributor to an asset’s environmental footprint, building materials and the construction process are also responsible for a significant portion of emissions. We need to address all aspects of the built world’s carbon contribution to reach net zero goals.  

Construction technology (ConTech), equally vital to a decarbonized future, is a key focus in JLL Spark’s thesis. Investments we’ve made include Juno and Veev, which build innovative and sustainable housing developments for fast-growing neighborhoods by reducing the time and cost to build new residences and using materials that increase the longevity of these structures. We’ve also made investments in INGENIOUS.BUILD and ALICE Technologies, which help project managers streamline their paths to build and remediate when adverse events threaten overall cost and timeline agreements. We continue to identify and invest in companies that push the boundaries of sustainable construction practices to ensure we and our clients can limit our collective environmental footprint.  

This takes us to the occupancy of buildings. Many buildings around the world are antiquated; built and embedded with technology equally as archaic. Therefore, we need to optimize building systems and insert today’s technological efficiencies within existing structures, which is why we’ve invested in Infogrid and Turntide Technologies. At JLL, we and our clients have leveraged Infogrid’s smart IoT technology to drive reductions in cost and energy needs in buildings around the world. Turntide tackles one of the largest emitters and costs in existing buildings today: energy usage. By replacing traditional motors with Turntide’s Smart Motor System, we can reduce a building’s energy usage by an average of 64%. Our partnerships with Infogrid and Turntide are two of many examples demonstrating our core belief that substantial reductions in carbon emissions cannot be achieved through hardware or software alone. We must invest in and implement both to effectively scale our impact.  

The final stage of the cycle is demolition/disposal. While not feasible in every instance, buildings should be repurposed and transformed whenever possible considering the environmental impact of erecting a new building. Our partnership with ecoworks, a Germany-based platform that enables seamless renovations to transform deteriorating and carbon-inefficient residential buildings into reinforced and ecofriendly structures, exemplifies our commitment to reducing the climate impact created by needless new construction. 

We are just beginning to scratch the surface of technology that will help decarbonize the real estate industry. There will undoubtedly be many more innovations that disrupt various facets of the built world’s existing lifecycle, and we’re excited to partner with the entrepreneurs and startups creating them.  

Interested in an investment from JLL Spark Global Ventures? Apply here.

Written by Laurent Grill, partner, and Ajey Kaushal, senior investment associate

JLL Spark’s Investment Themes

Investing intelligently in technologies to transform the real estate industry for a better future 

At JLL Spark Global Ventures, we believe no single company can deliver all the innovations to meet the volatile requirements of today’s clients. JLL is committed to transforming the real estate industry globally through technology-based innovations, and JLL Spark invests and partners with the brightest technology startups that share our vision and values.  

Currently, JLL Spark sources more than 1000 property technology (PropTech) investment opportunities annually and conducts due diligence on about 5% of these. JLL Spark looks to leverage technology to improve everything from real estate development and management to leasing and investing, while enhancing the experience of those who occupy commercial spaces. 

Led by Managing Partner Raj Singh, the JLL Spark team focuses on five investment themes most relevant to JLL clients and the real estate industry, identified through client demand and adoption trends: 

  • Construction technology – Building a better, safer, and more productive world 
  • Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) – Decarbonizing the built world 
  • Smart buildings – Delivering superior returns, useability, and impact 
  • Future of work – Reimagining the occupier relationship to their building 
  • Financial technology – Modernizing the economics of commercial real estate 

The theory behind the investment themes  

JLL Spark’s investment themes were chosen based on growth trajectory as well as JLL’s ability to drive value. “These themes are all benefitting from strong tailwinds. There is so much opportunity in these spaces for further innovation and value creation for the commercial real estate industry.” says Kitty Sullivan, investment principal at JLL Spark.  

ESG – Decarbonizing the built world  

Sustainability tops the agenda for JLL and its clients. JLL is committed to reaching net zero goals for our clients’ and JLL-owned assets and properties by 2040. As government regulations increase, the urgency to achieve sustainability has prompted real estate owners, operators, and occupiers to reduce their carbon footprint.  

JLL Spark has invested in several startups that advance sustainability in the built world including ecoworks for digitizing and industrializing the renovation process; Juno, a mass timber building system to create sustainable homes; and Turntide for sustainable operations and electrification solutions to improve energy efficiency in buildings, commercial vehicles, and agriculture.  

Construction Technology – Building a better, safer, and more productive world 

Construction carries the most potential for improvement with a huge scope for innovation and technology use, which JLL could represent through its project and development services. Despite being a multitrillion dollar industry, it is far less digitized than other real estate sectors.  

JLL Spark invests in construction technology (ConTech) startups such as OpenSpace, an AI-powered construction platform that provides a 360° visual representation of the construction site to capture and analyze data. 

Smart buildings – Delivering superior returns, useability, and impact  

The real estate industry demands technology solutions that improve building efficiency. This investment theme reflects the increased adoption of technology to automate building operations, improving the experience of occupiers, tenants, and visitors, while landlords benefit from the enhanced value of their assets. 

JLL Spark has several investments in smart building technology. VergeSense, a platform that provides contextualized insights into how spaces are used, empowers companies to continuously optimize their workplaces. Ecolibrium and Infogrid are IoT platforms that provide predictive insights for preventative maintenance and occupancy planning with data-driven insights. 

Future of work – Reimagining the occupier relationship to their building 

The pandemic accelerated conversations relating to remote and hybrid working. As companies develop their return to office strategies, it is growing clear that the use of office space will never be the same. Developers, owners, and occupiers are looking for technologies to optimize workforce performance and enhance collaboration in the hybrid work environment.  

SwiftConnect is an example of JLL Spark’s investment in technology for the future of work. The solution offers automated access control and booking systems, converting physical offices to function as a network by providing data to employees on demand.  

Financial Technology – Modernizing the economics of commercial real estate 

JLL Spark invests in financial technology (FinTech) to facilitate seamless transactions with increased efficiency and transparency. As business dynamics evolve, tenants and occupiers have the option to move according to their needs with solutions that remove limitations.  

Lev, a FinTech solution in JLL Spark’s portfolio, is a digital commercial real estate (CRE) platform offering direct access to capital from leading financial institutions. Its technology alleviates the industry’s manual lending process, closing CRE loans up to three times faster than existing methods. 

Emerging areas for JLL Spark investments   

The pandemic triggered huge disruptions to logistics and supply chains worldwide. The inadequate infrastructure struggles to handle the ever-rising demand. However, companies that leverage technologies and adopt new business models improved their resilience.

Data is another area on JLL Spark’s radar, but the large amounts of available data are dark, siloed, and unstructured. Once organized, however, data becomes a powerful advantage to various real estate verticals, including sustainability, construction, occupancy planning, talent retention, building management systems, and more.

Where are we heading  

JLL Spark has invested over $340 million across 40+ PropTech startups since June 2018. Over 60% of JLL’s top investor and occupier clients use a JLL Spark portfolio company solution. 

JLL Spark as a PropTech investor offers flexibility, exploring opportunities in startup companies that introduce innovative technologies to the real estate industry. JLL understands that serving its clients requires us to be both tech-forward and resilient; JLL Spark participates by sourcing external innovation that can benefit our clients today as well as prepare them for tomorrow. 
 

JLL Spark – Investors in PropTech

What is JLL Spark?

JLL Spark Global Ventures is the corporate venture arm within JLL Technologies, JLL’s technology division. Founded in 2017 by experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with successful track records building and investing in tech companies, JLL Spark offers JLL the ability to provide innovative products and data-driven solutions to real estate owners and operators. 

“Our goal is to bring the best of the startup ecosystem to JLL and its clients, globally,” said Mihir Shah, co-CEO, JLL Technologies. JLL Spark is unique in the industry, combining venture capital expertise and more than 200 years of commercial real estate experience with the ability to provide a path to revenue for the startup companies in the global venture fund’s portfolio. 

With JLL Spark as an investment partner, technology startups can scale their solutions by leveraging the global presence of JLL. The JLL Spark team will assist in the growth of the startup, supporting its go-to-market strategy and facilitating commercial agreements among JLL’s vast network. 

JLL Spark has invested over $340 million across more than 40 property technology, or PropTech, startups since June 2018. Investments range from seed stage to Series B. “JLL Spark identifies concepts that we believe will be successful and deliver significant value,” said Raj Singh, managing partner, JLL Spark. “We’re growing new ideas by providing both traditional VC value such as funding and JLL’s deep commercial real estate industry expertise to transform the real estate industry through technology-based innovation.”  

What types of technology does JLL Spark invest in?  

JLL Spark’s portfolio consists of global technology startups that support JLL and its clients with data-driven solutions in environmental, social, and governance (ESG), financial technology (FinTech), construction technology (ConTech), smart buildings, the future of work, and logistics/supply chain. Each investment signifies JLL’s commitment to shape the future of real estate with innovative solutions. Many of JLL Spark’s investments aim to increase operating efficiencies, thus reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.   

“The real estate industry is realizing the value of innovative technology to prevent disruption, increase productivity and community, and meet sustainability goals. JLL Spark offers a portfolio of technology-based solutions to address these demands,” said Laurent Grill, partner, JLL Spark. 

Why should startups partner with JLL Spark?  

JLL Spark invests in and grows early-stage technology companies that transform the real estate industry through disruptive hardware and software advancements. An investment from JLL Spark offers access to JLL’s extensive commercial real estate client roster, including its global distribution and scale. More than 60% of JLL’s top investor and occupier clients use a JLL Spark portfolio company solution. 

“JLL has embraced digital transformation to provide our clients with tech-enabled services, which led to the creation of JLL Spark to invest in real estate technology,” said Tanguy Quero, investment principal at JLL Spark based in Europe. “The Spark team actively searches for new solutions in the PropTech ecosystem to engage with startups that have developed innovative products.” 

JLL Spark offers an important growth component to the technology startups in its portfolio. Growth principals on the Spark team are experienced technologists and real estate leaders who serve as liaisons to internal JLL business lines. They partner with each startup to provide growth strategies and guidance, identifying opportunities to generate revenue and scale the technology solution within JLL’s global property network. 

“With over four billion square feet in property and facilities management, JLL can pilot and scale tech startups across its global network. As a growth principal, my main focus is to work with the companies we have invested in and help them grow by leveraging our network and our industry knowledge,” said Carolyn Trickett, Asia Pacific lead and growth principal at JLL Spark. 

How do startups get started with JLL Spark? 

PropTech startups are encouraged to apply for strategic investment from JLL Spark. The JLL Spark team welcomes early-stage industry innovators with solutions that positively impact commercial real estate, from development and management to leasing and investing. Apply for investment consideration here or for other questions please email contact@spark.jll