How JLL Spark Adds Value as a Strategic Investor
Since 2018, JLL Spark Global Ventures, the corporate venture capital of JLL and part of the JLL Technologies (JLLT) division, brings value to its portfolio companies by investing and providing capital, industry knowledge, and a powerful route to market through JLL channels.
It all begins with Spark’s identification of industry trends and themes that will be critical to JLL and its clients’ success in the years ahead. Spark then invests in property technology, or PropTech, startups that are aligned with JLL’s strategy to drive innovation and efficiency for clients and the internal business.
The relationship develops as the Spark team guides the portfolio company on go-to-market strategy, sales readiness, and marketing to engage with JLL’s internal stakeholders. As the company grows, the startup reaches the point where JLL teams are energized about introducing the startups’ innovations to their clients.
The ideal scenario for Spark’s portfolio companies to engage with internal business lines and grow Spark’s portfolio companies is a reseller relationship. This relationship allows JLL/JLLT to sell Spark portfolio company products while also earning revenue for the portfolio company. Developing the right relationship takes time and effort on both sides, but can be pivotal when done correctly.
The Spark team is crucial in helping Spark’s portfolio companies establish themselves within JLL. The growth team focuses on helping portfolio companies succeed within JLL – these team members are globally based and have expertise across the real estate industry. Spark also has an innovation team that drives efforts in educating internal business lines on Spark’s portfolio companies, scoping out potential alignment for Spark solutions that can solve challenges for JLL clients.
After an investment, vendor risk assessments are performed to ensure the technology meets JLL’s security requirements to integrate with JLL systems. Once completed and approved, portfolio companies must be sales-ready before engaging with JLL business lines. The Spark team partners in the process by collecting the company’s marketing materials to create internal and external marketing and sales enablement assets that introduce and educate broader audiences about Spark’s portfolio companies. This practice ensures portfolio companies are set up for success – they are prepared for sales motions with a customer, clearly outlining the value proposition, target use case, and articulated pricing for company base/size.
Through this partnership, introductions can lead to opportunities for Spark portfolio companies to gain potential customers and drive revenue earnings from JLL. This allows Spark’s growth team to gauge interest in integrating the tech into a JLL product and begin building a reseller relationship. For example, Infogrid’s integration into JLL’s Work Dynamics offerings. These opportunities help drive growth to portfolio companies and initiate conversations about commercial agreements, either reseller or referral. These scenarios provide a win for 1) JLL, providing a service to our clients, 2) JLL clients, solving a problem, and 3) portfolio companies, gaining customers and revenue while benefiting from the trusted relationships JLL has developed over more than 200 years.
Over the last two decades, we’ve seen several sectors get consumed by technology – advertising, retail, and financial services to name a few. Three industries that yet to be completely changed by tech include manufacturing, agriculture, and of course, real estate. JLL looks to be a leader and trusted advisor for the wave of tech adoption and innovation enveloping our industry by continuing to invest, build, buy, and partner in PropTech, bringing value to our business and clients. JLL and our portfolio companies must partner together to go beyond a ‘nice to have’, to a ‘need to have’, bringing wins for JLL, JLL’s clients’, and portfolio companies to be better positioned in the market.
Written by Kelly Wong, Innovation and Internal Partnerships Lead at JLL Spark
Interested in a strategic partnership with JLL Spark? Apply for an investment here.