UAE - Homegrown proptech startup Facilio is making massive global waves, and is fast transforming the way buildings are being operated and maintained.
Real estate touches our daily lives; it is the economics of the physical space — shaping the environment we live, work, and play.
In the last few decades, we’ve seen how software-led technology and flow of information has aimed to optimise every industry that affects our lives — from food to transportation to e-commerce, and now real estate.
But, real estate is larger than all of those categories combined, and the transformation that it can bring into our lives is more profound.
The buildings sector — the largest asset class in the world — accounts for 55 per cent of global electricity consumption and 38 per cent of total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, making it a hotbed industry for tech-led innovation and disruption.
Proptech and its massive opportunity
Generational trends and changing consumer behaviour are creating huge opportunities for proptech firms that offer immense customer value via operational agility, superior experiences, and sustainability.
In 2020, proptech demonstrated how it can hugely help real estate owners, operators, and services companies deal with the aftermath of the pandemic. It helped operations teams reassure people on the frequency of disinfection, make them aware and engaged of operational steps taken, manage assets, schedules, and work remotely and proactively, and overall reduce operating costs and create efficiencies.
This need for digital-led operations explains why Facilio, a homegrown proptech startup, with global offices and customers, increased its square footage under management by 50 per cent, post-Covid-19 pandemic by solving this problem.
Facilio believes that advances in artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud-based software platforms, allow the industry to control costs a lot easier and keep a tight leash on expenses, workforce productivity, and energy goals more effectively. This, in turn, enables teams to address the changing well-being, occupant health, and environmental needs of today’s world.
This is helping real estate organisations transfer the benefits of cost optimisation to their customers who now place a huge value on transparent operations, smooth experience, and sustainability index.
UAE and its role in shaping the future of global property operations
Given the key role played by real estate in the UAE economy, the nation’s buildings and construction sector has embraced Proptech with extreme enthusiasm. With the obvious benefits of enhanced efficiency, greater profitability, and sustainability benchmarks, the UAE continues to greatly adopt smart building practices and data-led software tools across the entire spectrum of property operations and facilities management.
“The future belongs to buildings that become operationally digital-native,” said Prabhu Ramachandran, founder and CEO of Facilio. “This is the vision with which we started Facilio — to help real estate portfolios make sense out of operational data and create efficiencies in real-time — and the response has been overwhelming.”
Ramachandran said the UAE, especially Dubai, has been the ideal seat to launch a category-creating startup. The region’s emphasis on smart buildings, smart cities, and sustainability programs were key drivers that accelerated the growth and adoption of Facilio’s approach towards data-led operations and its software platform. Ease of business, openness to adopt the latest technology, and the maturity of the real estate market — all characteristic of the UAE — create a favorable environment for startups to thrive.
This is expressed in the fact that the company has strong partnerships with the Arabian Gulf’s leading FM service providers, key industry players including Moro Hub, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), and reputed real estate developers and operators, including the 990,000sqft ICD Brookfield Place tower that launched amidst the pandemic deploying Facilio as its single-pane-of-glass connected buildings technology partner.
Ramachandran said: “The past few years have clearly shown us that making UAE as our strategic launchpad has aided Facilio in numerous ways — in gaining market understanding, building relations with the strong tech-embracing real estate community, and in co-shaping a solution with world-class real estate organisations here that paved the path for our successful global expansion. In many ways, we’re glad to be enabling the UAE to set global benchmarks in the field of property operations.”
Facilio and its journey to a global proptech leader
Facilio’s deep understanding of evolving market needs has positioned the company perfectly to help its customers thrive in the post-pandemic economic scenario. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Facilio invested heavily in strengthening data collection, integrations, and product capabilities that focused on outcomes of operational agility and efficiency. When Covid-19 hit, opportunities nearly doubled, putting the company on a path to hyper-growth.
The company has a strong moat of product flexibility, ease of implementation that compresses time-to-value from months to weeks, and a global ecosystem of channel partners including technology giants and large system integration service providers.
With an innovation-driven DNA and a strong platform and technology that was built specifically for real estate operations, Facilio has rapidly established a global presence as an industry leader, managing over 500+ buildings across the office, retail, higher education, and healthcare asset categories, including renowned landmark projects across North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Australia, and the Asian markets.
Plans are afoot to expand to new markets around the globe. Backed by global venture capital firms like Accel that have invested in transformational companies such as Slack, Facebook, Spotify, Dropbox, and more; and Tiger Global that fuel companies like Linkedin, Stripe, and Instacart, Facilio is enabling a paradigm shift in the real estate operations industry.
“We have raised Dh40.4 million in total from Accel and Tiger Global and planning to raise Series B in the first quarter of 2022,” Ramachandran added.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to a more efficient and connected built environment. Proptech success stories such as Facilio’s are making headlines, adding momentum to adoption and value creation. The UAE real estate sector is taking a big picture view of digital transformation and the benefits of operational excellence, customer experience, and sustainability are now established beyond doubt. This characterises the industry’s growing appetite for innovation and will continue to spur incredible growth of transformational proptech solutions and value realisation over the next decade.
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