Though it had a strong reputation as a forward-thinking
company, CRE services firm JLL has recently taken significant steps to foster a culture of innovation and lead
the digital transformation of CRE. As part of that effort,
the it recruited some of proptech’s brightest minds,
including former IMB executive Sanjay Rishi as the new
CEO of its Americas corporate solutions business.
Last July, it brought in former Google executive
Vinay Goel for the newly created position of chief digital
officer. Formerly product development director for the
tech giant, Goel also worked with such companies as
Oracle, Intel and CheckPoint Software. Goel is charged
with for determining how to the Chicago-based firm’s real estate databases and other assets to create new products and processes clients.
A few months after Goel came on board, JLL acquired ValuD Consulting, a provider of IBM software integration and consulting services
in both US and India. The October 2018 acquisition added 300 experts to JLL’s global Technology Solutions team. That deal followed two
other strategic acquisitions by JLL. In 2015 it bought Corrigo, a pioneer in cloud-based facility management software, and followed with the
2016 acquisition of BRG, rolling the workplace technology consulting company into the JLL brand to form its digital solutions service line.
In addition to coming on as the founding industry partner of the MIT Center for Real Estate’s newly established Real Estate Innovation
Lab, JLL built a number of market-leading platforms. They include Blackbird, a next-gen GIS for site selection; RED, a data and insights
platform for corporate real estate; and MarketSphere, a proprietary database of real estate fundamentals featuring some 472,000 office and
industrial properties in 58 markets across North America.
That doesn’t even include the activity of JLL Spark, the business JLL launched in 2017 to extend its proptech expertise and service offerings. Spearheading the effort are co-CEOs Mihir Shah and Yishai Lerner, who came to JLL with extensive track records in proptech startups.
JLL Spark made its first acquisition in in early 2018 when it bought Stessa, a SaaS-based portfolio management platform for small-to-medium commercial property investors. The company soon followed with the $100-million JLL Spark Global Venture Fund. Focusing on
seed and Series A investments, as well as select later stage rounds, the fund provides not only financing but also guides and nurtures proptech startups. Since the fund’s launch last summer, Shah and Lerner have led 10 strategic investments for JLL Spark. Among the companies
that received capital infusions are Skyline.AI, Dealpath and Honest Buildings, as well as Jones, a startup tackling liability insurance issues;
tenant experience platform HqO; VergeSense, an AI-powered SaaS platform; and flexible office space platform Hubble.
Vinay Goel Mihir Shah Yishai Lerner