I have written previously about how we need to look to technology if we want to thrive on the global stage. 

James Morris-Manuel

And it seems that the more we utilise technology the smaller the world becomes and the fewer physical borders there are.

We must learn to work across those borders that remain to ensure we succeed in our international endeavours. We cannot just arrive and open a satellite in a foreign market – the appropriate skills and knowledge are required.

Recent research from Knight Frank has shown that in Q3 overseas investors accounted for 92% of commercial purchases by volume in central London. There is obviously capacity and appetite there to work with other countries, but we need to learn how to harness it.

We need the influx of foreign capital as much as UK companies need to expand globally, so how then do we best achieve it, and what are the considerations, especially in a post-referendum landscape?

The recent Mipim New York Proptech event brought to light how open the world is, as do Expo Real or Mipim Cannes. People from all over the globe come together to discuss ideas and learn about new products: proof that the appetite for collaboration is there.

So what are the key considerations affecting cross-border working? Culture, exchange rate, language, regulation and governmental policy, even tax codes and compliance issues – the list goes on.

The factors that shouldn’t be overlooked are knowledge and education. Without knowledge, you are effectively powerless. Educating yourself and building the right team around you is paramount.

Overlooked markets

We’ve heard about hiring a chief technology officer if you want to move into the tech space, so why not hire people from or with knowledge of different sectors if you want to open up your company globally? There are other markets that are largely overlooked but should not be, such as Bangalore – India’s Silicon Valley – or Tel Aviv in Israel. These are areas we should be looking at just as much as San Francisco or Berlin.

Without knowledge, you are effectively powerless. Educating yourself and building the right team around you is paramount

There is so much in the news at the moment about immigration and the corporate war for talent. As such a powerful industry, the property community has a responsibility to articulate a clear message, attracting talent from all over the world in order to make that world more open, and working across borders more efficiently.

At Matterport, a firm with its headquarters in the US, we are present in more than 80 countries, working with teams all over the world, and we’ve just launched in China. Our product is universal.


Proptech makes the world a smaller place

Source: Shutterstock/Solarseven

The need for a more efficient and transparent sales process for property remains the same, but the cultures, nuances and social media platforms we use are all different. Understanding the differences, as much as appreciating the similarities, is key.

This year was built up as the time for proptech mergers and acquisitions, with eager eyes scouring for the next major transaction. This hasn’t really materialised in the way that many had hoped, however. Perhaps as companies seek to expand their international presence around Europe, Asia and the US, we will start to see cross-border partnerships.

It is not enough to spin a globe and find a new market to conquer. You need an international strategy, and those operating in isolation need to start looking at theirs. As the market becomes increasingly global, we need to operate on different stages, and not simply rely on our home team advantage, lest other brands push us out.

James Morris-Manuel is EMEA director at Matterport