Whether brick-and-mortar knows it or not, technology is here to stay—and no one knows this better than Gab McMillan. The founding CEO of Equiem, McMillan and her team have created a platform that connects tenants with landlords—and in so doing generate new value and deeper engagement within properties. It’s a mission that Equiem believes it is more than capable of achieving, as it is the only fully-integrated solution on the market—allowing it to deliver premium bespoke experiences that are building specific.
So, to get the scoop on all things PropTech, Mann Report Management sat down with McMillan to get a better feel for Equiem and its larger role in the tech space.
How has technology already impacted the real estate space, and why is it essential that executives embrace it?
From data analytics and AI to smart cities and IoT, technology has had an enormous impact on virtually every part of the real estate sector in recent times. It’s impossible to summarize it all, but fundamentally, technology’s biggest contributions have been to drive greater efficiencies in both time and cost, and to create more consumer-friendly real estate.
When it comes to PropTech, how is Equiem adding something to the conversation?
We are best known for our world-leading tenant engagement platform, which is rolled out across 57 million square feet of prime commercial space across the USA, Australia, the UK, and Ireland. Put simply, our technology helps landlords transform their buildings into vibrant, connected, and engaging communities, with services and experiences that enrich occupants’ lives.
In terms of what makes us different, firstly, we’ve been around since 2011, which has allowed us to really test ourselves across multiple sites and contexts, versus similar providers who are often still comparatively new. Secondly, we believe that technology alone can’t deliver great tenant engagement, so we employ expert writers, project managers, designers, and event managers to maximize the impact of our technology across each site. Finally, our market-leading data analytics tools provide landlords with second-to-none information about how users are interacting with their building, allowing them to make truly effective asset management decisions in response.
How did Equiem come about, and why are you so passionate about this particular platform?
Back in 2011, the owners at our first building were facing significant vacancy risk, with their 25-year-old, one-million-square-foot office tower struggling to retain and attract quality tenants in a competitive market. However, they saw the potential for our technology to transform their offering and enrich the lives of those working in the building by delivering services and amenities, streamlining communication, and creating a community that people wanted to be part of.
Seven years on and significant demand-side changes have resulted in many landlords facing that same leasing challenge. With occupiers increasingly using the workplace as a recruitment tool, the war for talent has led to a war for tenants, and those owners that cannot appeal to employees are struggling.
Equiem enables landlords to meet that leasing challenge by creating appealing and satisfying workplaces. Our technology connects users, supercharges retail and leisure offers, delivers amenities and experiences, and, crucially, provides landlords with feedback as to what’s working and what might not be through our data analytics tools.
Ultimately, we are passionate about Equiem because real estate is about so much more than just bricks and mortar. It’s about the people that live and work in those spaces on a daily basis—and for us, creating workplaces that people want to work in is hugely rewarding.
What advice would you give to others looking to start their own PropTech initiative?
Be patient and focus on a genuine problem impacting the industry. Then find a customer and partner with them on developing a solution to it.
I would also add to that the importance of not overpromising. There are lots of impressive-looking slide decks out there, but if you win customers by exaggerating your capability, you will lose credibility very quickly. Property is a small industry where everyone talks, so honesty goes a long way!