15.9.20

The Propcast: The Largest European VC

In this episode we talk to Gregory Dewerpe from A/O PropTech about being the largest European VC.

Click here to listen to this episode.

The Propcast by Louisa Dickins, Co-Founder of LMRE the leading Global PropTech recruiter brought to you in partnership with UK PropTech Association, The UK PropTech Association is a membership organisation to drive the digital transformation of the property industry.

This show will focus on connecting the PropTechs, real estate funds and VC’s globally…and get everyone talking about innovation of the built environment.

15.9.20

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisa-dickins-ab065392/?originalSubdomain=uk

Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).

About LMRE

LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the right place at the right time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people's careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.

About Our Guest

Gregory Dewerpe

https://www.linkedin.com/company/aoproptech/

Gregory is the Founder of A/O PropTech, Europe’s largest PropTech venture capital firm and a real estate and technology investor with over 15 years of experience across I-Banking, real estate and venture, a multi-billion deal-making history, and a deep understanding of the financial markets, real estate and venture eco-systems. Prior to A/O PropTech, Gregory founded AMD Capital, a specialised real estate investment company focusing on the most thriving segments of the industry through both private (direct assets) and public markets, taking advantage of market dislocations and price asymmetry in order to build strong conviction positions. Gregory is a Swiss national, fluent in English, French, and Italian; he attended HEC Lausanne University, London School of Economics (Masters), and Harvard Business School.

 

Resources

LMRE website www.lmre.co.uk  

UKPA www.ukpa.com   

A/O Proptech website www.aoproptech.com

Insights from this Episode

- The number one lesson is, it doesn't matter what product you're backing, it doesn't matter what segment you're backing, it always comes down to the entrepreneurs – Gregory Dewerpe

- You're going to work a lot with those people in tough times, in good times, but more importantly in tough times, and being able to understand who's across the table means you can help them better and you can support them better. And so a lot of work needs to go into the people. It's really all about the people – Gregory Dewerpe

- I always say I'm looking for humility. Humility is something that might sound very generic, but for me, I always say that when you find humble people, it means they're open minded to learn, they know they can get better, they're also able to change their plans when it doesn't go the way they want – Gregory Dewerpe

- For me, everything around the decarbonisation is essential because the only way to be more efficient from a carbon standpoint is to become digital and tech enabled – Gregory Dewerpe

- Since we've all been in lockdown, we've all had that time to take a step back and realise what's important, what's going on in the world and to actually really appreciate it, and make changes – Louisa Dickins

- The office has been challenged over many decades. It needs to reinvent itself and I'm sure it will, it's just going to be different and different doesn't mean worse... We reinvent ourselves, we reinvent the way we work and how we work, and how we interact with one another. So there's certainly going to be some great things happening so for me, it's all positive when I think about the future – Gregory Dewerpe

- For issues like sustainability, I think the collaboration between private and public is actually essential – Gregory Dewerpe

Episode Transcript

Louisa

Hi everyone, and welcome to The Propcast. My name is Louisa Dickins, co-founder of LMRE, and board director for the UK PA, and I shall be your weekly host. Each week for 30 minutes, we'll be connecting VCs, PropTech start-ups and real estate professionals globally and assist in bridging that famous communication gap we all love talking about. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to season two of the Propcast. I thought I would kick it off with the one and only Gregory who is a founder of A/O PropTech, Europe's largest PropTech VC firm. So welcome, Gregory and thank you so much for kicking off season two of the Propcast.

 

Gregory

Hi Louisa, thank you so much for having me, it's a great pleasure. I'm a big fan of what you've been doing so far, and I've been following the previous episodes so very, very happy to have been invited here.

 

Louisa

It’s a pleasure to have you on the show. Everyone before we start, let me give you a bit of background to Gregory and his latest venture. Gregory is a seasoned real estate and technology investor with over 15 years of experience across investment banking, real estate and venture, with a deep understanding of the financial markets, real estate and venture ecosystems. Prior to A/O PropTech, Gregory founded AMD-Capital, a specialist Real Estate Investment Company focusing on the most thriving segments of the industry through both private and public markets. Prior to AMD Gregory starts off his career in investment banking at Credit Suisse and then Citi group and he's executed over $30 billion of transactions during this time, which is pretty impressive. Gregory sits on the board and advisory board a variety of companies in the tech and real estate space, including Placemake.io, Plentific, Wildstone, Fornova, Residently, Livelike and AMD-Capital. Gregory is a Swiss national fluent in English, French and Italian and attended University of Lausanne. Am I pronouncing it right, Gregory?

 

Gregory

Almost! Lausanne. You're doing a great job.

 

Louisa

Nearly there! London School of Economics and Harvard Business School. Gregory is passionate about sport, traveling nutrition, food tech, cancer research and fighting the destructive long-lasting impact of bullying among children and younger generations, which we'll touch on later in this podcast. And for those who are listening you haven't heard of A/O PropTech, which I'd be very surprised if you haven't, A/O PropTech invests permanent capital and combines deep real estate, data science and engineering expertise, together with strategic sandbox of over 35 billion of real estate assets from its investors. as a result of permanent capital approach, A/O is stage agnostic investing from series A to later stage breakout growth stages They enable founders to create and scale disrupted tech enabled products and platforms disrupting the real estate industry. Now, their mission is to transform real estate into a more digital, efficient and assessable asset class by applying innovative technologies and business models, this mission is underpinned by vision to improve quality of life, accelerate sustainable living, enable the carbonisation of the largest asset class in the world. And for those who wish to connect with Gregory or A/O PropTech after this show, Gregory will be telling you and there will also be in the show notes. So right, Gregory, let’s kick start with the interview.

 

Gregory

But you've said it all!

Louisa

Exactly, and that's the end of the show..! Okay, right. Where should we start maybe with Gregory, tell us a little bit more about, how did you launch this? How did you begin and tell us a little bit more about where did the vision and mission come from?

 

Gregory

Sure, listen, it's been a few years in the making, as a you mentioned after I left investment banking, I started AMD Capital and we were investing in interesting situations in real estate and, and I started realizing that a lot of things were brewing insofar as technology is concerned with real estate, a lot of companies were coming to me and say, Hey, we're doing this cool product, but we need assets, can you offer some of your assets to scale? And then I said, you know what this is very interesting, because I'm not a tech guy initially, that's not where I come from but I can see that I have an opportunity to put a foot in the door there. And so I discuss with a few of my mentors and partners and as I said you know what, this is something where I'm going to allocate some time tom  it excites me, I can project myself over the long term and I see we have a real opportunity to play there. So I was lucky that I could start A/O as a blank canvas. So say Okay, how does my firm look like? What do I like from VC? What do I not like from the VC world? What can I take? What can I improve? Funnily enough, we talk about VC, which is investing in innovative companies and disrupting the world, but the industry itself hasn't really evolved the last couple of decades. So we started this and I said I want to be different, it's harder to be different because you don't fit in, you don't take all the boxes for investors, you're not, you're disrupting a little bit the way they think. And we raise different type of capital. So I raised permanent capital, which was very hard because it's not common, but for me it was essential because the idea is two things, When you are backing or investing in businesses that are disrupting such a large asset class, things are going to take time especially especially with real estate, which is a slow moving industry, so I wasn't sure that I had long term capital, not capital that is 7/8/9 years and it could be okay. But if you have different cycles along the way, you might get caught offside and I've seen it in my career I've seen in real estate funds be caught on the wrong end of timing and I never wanted to be in that position. So we're fortunate that we're able to raise that money. That means we can navigate timing, we can navigate storms, and we don't have artificial timing considerations, which in turn, also create a very strong alignment with founders because founders are often put under a lot of pressure by my funds who say, Hey I need to get out I need to monetize, you are the last investment in my fund, I need to sell my position, and it's creating all sorts of wrong dynamics. So we want to do everything to remove any conflict of interest or to remove any misalignment in everything we do. So the capital was the focal point of it, and I think I'm extremely proud of having me able to raise that kind of money because It gives us a huge differentiating factor compared to everyone else. And the other thing was that we needed to have very strong real estate investors alongside us to back us so that we could also in turn access their assets. So what we did is we raise from fewer investors, I wanted to have investors with larger tickets in our funds so that we knew that they would have been in the game, that would be aligned with us so you'll find that this word alignment comes back very often with me because it's always something that is very important. So we have people investing larger cheques, so we can we know they’ll spend the time they make the effort, they allocate the resources so that we can access their portfolio and have them integrate technology at scale. And the last thing is, we have a full data science team and then we have a very strong expertise in data science and digital change management which comes from my partner, who's the chief data officer as well. We really try to bring all sorts of expertise in house we have mathematicians, engineers, real estate people, finance guys, data scientists. For us we think PropTech is really at the intersection of all those things and we're able to gather all that expertise under one roof, which I think is quite essential. So here was born A/O, we came a little bit out of nowhere. That's partly my fault. I don't like things to be too much about us. I want things to be more about what we do. And for that to be the case we stayed on stealth mode for a little over a year, so you'll see that we announced around early this year we announced sorry, the funding of A/O earlier this year, but we had closed at the beginning of 2019. We've already done 10 deals by the time we announced and for us, we just said we do our thing, we build our thesis, we build our story, we build our reputation, we don't need to be out there and talk about us and make all those sorts of PR, we want our work, and our portfolio companies to be our PR, not ourselves to be our PR, but eventually you have to come out of your shell and we have so many things to say and we feel so strongly we're so passionate about what we do. And we think a lot of the success of PropTech lies in the thought leadership and education of the entire industry. So we're putting ourselves out there to make sure that what we do is known and we explain how we do it. And especially in times like COVID, as they were very happy to be able to have a forum and a platform to spread the word and help the overall ecosystem where we are part of

 

Louisa

Yeah, well, I think 10 deals is pretty impressive so far, and you're obviously focusing on the European market, I think you've been covering around is it 14 countries?

 

Gregory

So we have a different way to determine the geography for us. W focus on companies that are going to be operating in Europe primarily or at some point. So you'll find that the last two deals we've closed, one of them was announced last week and the other one will be announced in the next couple of weeks were in the US, so they  are US companies, but they're coming to Europe. And we're a great partner of choice for companies that are already very successful in the US, they need a strong partner in Europe that has the capital, that has the network that has the we talked about this sandbox of 35 billion that we have amongst our LPs, and there's really nobody else like us in Europe. So we are very excited to be able to attract those brilliant companies also out of the US. So we've done deals in Israel as well as in the US and in Europe. And I think with the latest two investments that we've closed, we will have crossed 15 transaction. So 10 was the number of deals we had when we announced ourselves but now we we've closed about four or five deals since March, and the last two were in the US,

 

Louisa

Your teams been working very, very hard during the COVID non-stop. That's good to hear, we're seeing a lot of businesses coming out of obviously, Israel, the US is leading the way with various start-ups, followed by the UK, so it'll be interesting to see,  where your next investments are coming from now. So out of the 10 deals you've done so far, or the one which was released a couple of weeks ago, do you want to talk us through one of your current investments?

 

Gregory

I mean, it's always a tough questions because we have so many amazing entrepreneurs and I don't want to anybody to feel left out, but I'll talk to you maybe about one within the UK at the end of last year, End of 2019 we lead a $32 million Series B into a company called Plentific, which is digitising the whole repair maintenance aspect of residential property management. At the same time, they're creating a marketplace around those repair maintenance jobs in order to have more competition and lower the cost. So you'll find that they're able to reduce repair maintenance costs for landlords by 15-20%. They are able to enhance the user experience, they give jobs to the local community. So there is more to it than just what they do, and we care a lot about helping the communities and doing good. I always say that you need to do good to do well, and I think that's one of the things that they're doing as well. So when we met them they just had shifted their business model to be b2b, they were focusing on b2c before and it was quite a tough one. But since they came into the company we brought them into Germany, and we're helping roll them out into about 80,000 apartments in Germany alone, a few thousand more in the UK, so within the space of less than a year, the company is becoming continental European, we also going to help them go into the US. So it's going to become very quickly a global company, they are having amazing momentum. And I think COVID has just accelerated the thesis that's underpinning what they do. And they are becoming an essential service and platform for the large landlords. They're very well integrated with social housing in the UK, which is something that also we care a lot about, they are helping social housing association reduce their costs, and in turn there's more money to be invested into the community. So I think I'm very excited about this company, it's a fantastic funding team. Those guys have been very resilient, they've been through ups and downs and they're cool and this is what I like to see in entrepreneurs sometimes people asking what are the things that you are looking for? And I always say I'm looking for humility. Humility is something that might sound very generic, but for me, I always say that when you find humble people, it means they're open minded to learn, they know they can get better, they're also able to change their plans when it doesn't go the way they want. Sometimes people who are not humble enough or don't know what they don't know, they're not as flexible as you need when you're an entrepreneur. And so those guys are exactly that. And, and I'm a big fan of them. So this is one that I'm quite excited about. 14.28

 

Louisa

Yeah, I've had nonstop good things about their founder called Cem, and then we actually work them we're helping them to scale as well. But I think a lot of is not being too close to your product, like you said, to understand what, we kind of need to change this to scale a little bit more and yeah, I wish the best of a Plentific.

 

Gregory

You’re doing really well on the pronunciation today.

 

Louisa

Yeah I'm trying I mean, it's a midweek if we're doing this on Friday it’d be something different! so you've obviously got investments for different verticals of PropTech, are there any particular areas you're looking to focus on whether that's lots of people pushing forward in the sustainability space, any areas for you?

 

Gregory

Sure, listen this there's a few, sustainability and the compensation is a big one. We've done a couple of deals during COVID in France. So we've done two investments in France, and we partner with the French government there, which is something that I found very exciting because for issues like sustainability, I think the collaboration between private and public is actually essential. And I find it quite amazing, so that's something we care a lot about. And that spreads into so many verticals. So we've closed the deal in the in the US in a company called Aquicore, basically a kind of an operating system that allows facility managers to enhance The performance of the building and reducing efficiencies, but that opens the door to becoming a lot more sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint. And I think today it's really a must it's a must have for a number of reasons. Some of them are just purely investor pressure or tenants pressure but also regulatory in Europe, you have all those regulations coming into play. So, for me, everything around the decarbonisation is essential because the only way to be more efficient from a carbon standpoint is to become digital and tech enabled. And so the moment you cross that threshold, it opens the door to many more digitalisation aspects of your buildings and your operation. So we'll find that it's going in itself to help accelerate the momentum which is already very high, and it's obviously everything that's happened post COVID aside from all the human considerations, obviously, but COVID has been very good for what we do and very good to accelerate what was a strong momentum. But now it's really quite amazing to see what's happening.

 

Louisa

Yeah, it's definitely getting more traction, that's for sure. So levels investment, you say you're stage agnostic, is there a particular sweet spot, they've obviously covered C, Series B.

 

Gregory

We try to be as opportunistic as possible. And I would say the only reason why we are limited in terms of not going too early, is simply because we have quite a lot of capital to deploy and we want to be very close and available and supportive of our portfolio companies and so therefore, we I just can't have us do hundred deals. ,We have to come at a point where we can help accelerate the growth of this company, through all the things that I mentioned, through our data science expertise through the 35-40 billion of assets that we have direct, let's say access to in order to roll out the products. And so if you come too early, sometimes the companies are not ready yet to do that and they require a lot more time, which we do on a case by case, obviously. And that's the beauty of the way we're set up with permanent capital is, we can be a lot more flexible. And if you're a fund with a specific timeline, and then you can look right and you can't look left, because it doesn't fit in your in the box, we can afford to keep some capital for those things. So we tend to go a bit earlier in everything around ESG, because this is a more nascent segment. And we are happy to go even much, much later, we have as well as investment vehicle that we use for much larger tickets, so we don't really advertise about but we're able to look much further down the line. For us, we're looking at really companies that are disrupting the industry, wherever they're coming from, however, they're trying to do it. And we just need to know that we can help them. So, that's really the most important thing. We need to know that we can be valuable for them. And that's that that's where we decide whether the stage makes sense. And so we've done from series C, and you'll find probably in the next six months, we'll, we'll continue along those lines. And probably series A or B is probably the best spot for us is the best ratio in terms of how helpful we can be. But we remain open minded, we'll see we're looking at a few transactions in the US which are much more advanced, but they still need to come to Europe. So there might be series D or whatever, but they still need to come to Europe, and they still need a strong partner there. So we still have a card to play and we can still be extremely relevant for them. So that was also is very exciting about our business model.

 

Louisa

And you touched on Plentific earlier, and I've heard that said definite success story, is there anything you've learned along the way since I'm starting investing in this space?

 

Gregory

Well you learn every day. And that’s why I love what I do and that's why I'm so passionate and that's why I actually never feels like work. And it's all pure excitement, there is so much happening in the industry, it's a very nascent industry, there's new segments being created on a daily basis, obviously, we're learning as we go in terms of mapping out the ecosystem, understanding the trends, obviously with COVID, we had to do a lot of learning, we are absorbing a lot of data every day trying to understand what the trends are going to be. So that's more on the on the market side, in terms of our investments, as I said it's easy to get overexcited because there's so many amazing things happening, but we really try to see past that and really, the number one lesson is it doesn't matter what product you're backing, doesn't matter what segment you're backing, it always comes down to the entrepreneurs. And so a lot of my work personally, a lot of the work goes from the team into technical and all those thing, a lot of my work is trying to really assess the people we back and try to take some clues into small things but that can give me a good idea of who they are, what they are and trying to know them more and more, because you're going to work a lot with those people in tough times, in good times, more importantly, in tough times, and being able to understand who's across the table means you can help them better you can support them better. And so a lot of work needs to go into the people. It's really all about the people and that's something that we learn also every day.

 

Louisa

And if we're looking at say, post COVID, are there any trends that you're predicting or even seeing so far?

 

Gregory

Listen, there's a lot of debates right now. You don't need me to fuel the debate on social media, you have people predicting the end of the office and the big crash in real estate. Again, I don't have a crystal ball I am not going to sit there and tell you I know better. I can tell you that I usually have a more measured approach with those things, we've had a huge shock. I mean, COVID was a massive slap in the face for everyone. It's exacerbated a lot of things. It's shown the shortcomings of the real estate industry. But I think I think it's a great thing because I hate status quo, and status quo was what was happening in real estate for a long time now. And so now it's the end of status quo there’s a lot of introspection that has to go into everyone's business models, the big players are a lot more humble than they were four or five months ago, so they're more open to change, they’re open to hear about new things. For me if you take the subject of the office, as I said, are more measured, so we run a lot of surveys so if you take if you talk to a single guy or girl who lives in a 50 square meter apartment, they're probably dying to go back to the office. If you speak to a young family with three kids young age, they also probably dying to go back to the office, the social aspect of the office is undeniable. I'm not suggesting that we'll just go back and we'll be as before, I think we believe in three things that we need to focus on is how you get to the office, and that's the whole mobility part, how you get into the office, and that's all access control and how you manage the flow of people. So this idea of a rush hour where everyone comes in at the same time and leaves at the same time, I think probably is going to vanish over time and be spread over time. Because if you apply social distancing measures, it will take you five, six hours to get everyone in the building. And, and obviously, that's feasible. So I believe in different management of the people in terms of timing and location is concerned, I believe that we'll have more clusters of work. So I believe in the work closer to home as opposed to the work from home only, to having small clusters where people can have access to an infrastructure with less people less density probably makes sense. So we'll see how it goes but the office has been challenged over many decades. It needs to reinvent itself and I'm sure it will, it just going to be different and different doesn't mean worse. I think I'm very excited about the change to come. We reinvent ourselves, we reinvent the way we work and how we work and how we interact with one another. So there's certainly going to be some great things happening. So for me, it's all positive when I think about the future.

 

Louisa

Well that's good to hear. And so we spoke about earlier about how you and your business A/O have been flying under the radar. How did you find raising during just before the pandemic reached its peak? Was it was it tough, how did you guys find it?

 

Gregory

You mean to be under the radar? Well, there's good things and bad things. I'm a newcomer into the VC world. it's a world when if people can’t Google anything about you as they don't know, they're always very suspicious. So at the beginning we found some people were not necessarily too open with us because they couldn't a place us, they didn't know we were where we're coming from and it's fine. I always like to be the underdog and I like to just be do my thing. And eventually things played out the right way. Aside from that, I think the biggest challenge was some interaction with companies at the very beginning. So the first connection, sometimes was a bit hard because they can’t figure you out. But I think once you meet, I think you can show that you're worth having a conversation, and hiring was a challenge. Hiring was a big challenge because obviously same thing, people from big funds or whatever they want to know where they're going and what's behind it. So I think that since we announced ourselves and everything we do is very transparent. And all our deals and our teams, I think everything has been a lot easier actually on the other side has been almost too overwhelming. There's a lot of people coming on and coming in and tis great. So I prefer to do it this way than just talk, talk, talk, and then the pressure is the other way. So for us, we know what we want to do, we're very, very confident about the way we want to do it, we're going to do it our way. And eventually, it's a long term play I don't need to be marketing ourselves for the first year. I need to know that people will value us for the next 20 years, and that can only be done through the work we do. So the first 12 months of PR or not PR or marketing or articles in the press doesn't really matter, if you're there for the long term, everything else will would pay itself out.

 

Louisa

Great. It sounds like a modest and sustainable growth plan, and I think it's so important. Like in any industry even like what I do, when you promised the world and under deliver, you don't want that at the beginning! really interesting to hear now. Okay, so let’s start talking about something else other than PropTech and VC. say, if you weren't a VC, you've been in banking, you've been in real estate, is there any other industry which you would go into, like, would you be an astronaut? I don't know, any other industry?

 

Gregory

When I look at the guys that flew the NASA guys it looks amazing, but no, I never dreamed to be an astronaut. I would have loved to be maybe an athlete or something. I love the idea and the concept of sports, I think it's such a great discipline. It teaches you a lot of things about life, and I wish I had done more sports when I was a kid, I think it's a great school. For me, it's as important as Just going in a classroom, I think it teaches you discipline, it teaches you teamwork, it teaches you challenging yourself, pushing yourself. So I would have loved to be good at something and pursue a passion in sports because I think it can be super rewarding over time. But aside from that, when I was a kid, I was dreaming to be a lawyer and going to the courtroom to help people and fight cases, but obviously I think it's a bit too late for me now. I went to banking and then and then the rest happened naturally. But if I was 17/18/19 now and figuring out what I wanted to do, I think I find amazing today that for young people, there's so many things that are available you're much more mobile, there's no more borders, you can just  have a shot at whatever you want. I feel today that the world in our societies giving more chances early on probably if you look at 10/20 years ago, you had to go through the ranks and you have to be a certain age and you had to have a little bit of grey hair here and there, I feel today all those things are those preconceptions are completely gone. So, I think it must be very exciting to be a young motivated professional today because you have so many things available and if you're willing to work hard, I think I think there's a lot that can happen.

 

Louisa

I think also if you go online there's so many different courses which you can do, I think Cambridge and Oxford are doing  a six week marketing course which is obviously available to anyone and that's online, or if people want to do even a course in law then you can do it for a year for me, like literally at the touch of a finger tip

 

Gregory

And by the way, I would say, we talk about disruption. I think education is going to be one of industries that’s going to be the most disrupted by COVID. And I think a lot of the universities, and the education companies are going to have to reinvent a little bit how they operate, and I think it's a long overdue.

 

Louisa

And yes how much will actually happen on campus? I think when people looking at investing, student housing is still doing well, I'm not saying it's not, but I think 10/20 years ago was guaranteed investment back. I mean, it was ROI was great. I'm not sure about what's going to happen to the future, how many people will be doing it remotely so will be interesting to see what happens on that side. But when talking about different passions for whether it be sports you, we touched upon earlier, and one big passion of yours is fighting against the impact of bullying amongst young children. Is that anything you can expand on that or which our listeners should be reading or learning a little bit more about?

 

Gregory

Sure. I mean, listen, I think bullying is something that's one of the worst things, one of the most dramatic things we see amongst the younger generation. It's not something new, it's been there forever. It's just taking different forms. I, as a kid was a victim of that for many, many, many years and it's really had a long-lasting impact on me. And I think today it's, it's just exacerbated by social media and all those new platforms whereby people are meaner and meaner and meaner. And I think we underestimate as a society, really the impact that it can have on those young kids at the time of the bullying, but then for many years or decades to come. And it's not something that's easy to fix. It's not something that you can throw money at and find a cure. It's a little bit more complicated than that, I think it starts with From how you educate your kids, how you raised them, and how education works and how the dynamic at school is working, but that's something I suffered tremendously from, and I obviously, anything I could do to contribute to changing that over time, I'll be extremely happy because I wish when I was a kid and suffering that someone told me, hey, it's going to be okay, you're going to be fine. And sometimes it's as easy as this but I've been I've been doing a lot of research the last few years, I'm trying to find the best platform to get behind, and help push some strong initiatives or when I have a little bit more time maybe started something myself. But that's, that's a huge topic. That's a huge topic and we don't talk about it enough., and that's because precisely we don't talk about it that it's more and more harmful. So I encourage anybody. who's listening to me and it resonates when I'm saying that, whenever you're not feeling good or you're having issues of someone bullying you, should talk about it because that's part of the solution already. So that's a very important topic.

 

Louisa

Yeah, I think there's obviously a lot of talk about mental health especially even so more since the lockdown and a lot of people are on their own. So whether or not its having an impact or just being on your own there's, there's so many different apps which you can use to help that are meant make your mental health stronger. I think whether it’s from bullying or just general loneliness, there’s so many different tech's involved in it as well, like meditation. I've started reading a book about happiness, which is written by a monk who swore to silence in a monastery in Scotland for five years. It's all about practicing being at peace with yourself and everything. But there's so many things which need to be addressed and what people need to talk about as well, a lot of people are realising the importance of so many different topics that happen in everyday life since we've all been in lockdown, we've all had that time to take a step back and realise what's important, what's going on in the world and to actually really appreciate it, and make changes. But any initiative, which you start taking into your backing I'd love to hear about it and help get it out there more.

 

Gregory

Whether you mentioned the word happiness is an interesting topic, because actually, nobody really knows what happiness means for them. And it's part of the people spend the life chasing this concept of happiness, but they actually never know what makes them happy. And I think spending a bit time on your own doing a bit of introspection, and I think COVID has helped towards that, as you said very correctly, helps reprioritize and just lay the ground of what are the important things and what makes you happy, whatever it is, but you need to figure it out.

 

Louisa

Yeah, I think everyone thinks happiness comes from tangible external things, but what I've learned from this book, I mean, it talks about self-improvement, it all comes internally, but it's having that time to  really invest in yourself, which is I think so important. But Gregory, I'm conscious of time and we’re coming to the end of the show. But before we go, is there anything you'd like to share about the best way to connect with you and A/O PropTech?

 

Gregory

In general, I would say for those who listening war entrepreneurs who are going through the motions and wanting to raise money and have had difficult times or not, I always encourage them to do their homework about who they engage with, whether they're investors or potential clients, because  in times like this, you need to understand who the investors are actually investing. A lot of people will just take calls for the sake of it, because everyone likes to hear about a good company or a good project, but I think it can be very tiring to chase the wrong investors or the ones that are not investing for whatever the reason is so I always encouraged to do a bit more homework prior to approaching too many people because I think sometimes it can be quite draining to just spend time and then you have you get a no or a yes, but maybe later. So homework is key. Same thing for your customers, I think there's been a there's going to be a lot of movement within companies, people are going to be furloughed, the person you're speaking to three months ago might not be there anymore, might have been promoted or demoted. So really understanding who your customers are within those big organizations and tracking them. I think will go a long way because you can send an email it gets unanswered and you think the person is just too busy or not wanting to engage with you, but maybe they've just been furloughed, you don't know maybe they've been moved departments. So I think really trying to track the people that you need to get access to, will also go a long way in saving you a lot of time and energy.

 

Louisa

And for everyone who wants to connect with you or A/O PropTech, I know you've got a great team backing you, do you want to say how to get in touch?

 

Gregory

Yeah, sure. So on our website, www.aoPropTech.com we have most of our emails and you can always reach out on Twitter as well, on LinkedIn always very responsive, and we try to. when we're not, it's not that we're ignoring it's just that sometimes things get a bit lost in translation, but we make it a point to get back to anybody who wants to talk to us, whatever the topic is. So by all means, send us an email, call us and we'll be more than happy to, to chat and to engage and to meet up.

 

Louisa

Awesome. Well Gregory it was a pleasure having you on the podcast, and I look forward to connecting with you after the show.

 

Gregory

Thank you so much for having me and I'm sure we'll be in touch soon. Listen, take care.

 

Louisa

Thank you for joining us this week on the Propcast and a big thanks to our special guests. Make sure you visit our website www.lmre.co.uk  where you can subscribe to our show, or you'll find us on iTunes and Spotify where all good content is found. While you're at it, if you found value in the show, we'd appreciate people rate and review us on iTunes. Or if you simply spread the word. Be sure to tune in next Tuesday, and I'll catch you later.

More stories that might interest you...

Thank you for submitting our contact form. We'll get back to you ASAP