Knight Frank embraces proptech with leasing software

PLACE TECH LOGO FOR ARTICLESThe property adviser has agreed a deal with US online platform VTS which will see agents, initially in the Central London leasing and asset management teams, manage deal activity, identify trends and quantify portfolio performance.

VTS, short for View The Space, was founded in New York in 2012 and now has 5bn sq ft of property managed on its system. VTS opened an office in London at the start of 2016, headed by ex-JLL director Charlie Wade, UK managing director of VTS. Former Knight Frank central London agent Sebastian Abigail joined VTS as a senior director through its acquisition of rival Hightower at the end of 2016.

A spokesperson for Knight Frank, which has an office in Manchester, said the firm would “definitely support the roll out of VTS across the UK in the future, but at present are focused on the Central London market for their partnership.”

Some agents are concerned about the adoption of the ‘science’ of software programmes into the ‘art’ of dealmaking based on local knowledge. VTS says the tech is there to make the agent’s job easier through slicker reporting and data sharing, and is not intended to replace agents.

The partnership, which comes at a time of change for the property industry as it experiences a raft of tech solutions moving into the sector, will see the current Knight Frank leasing instructions being managed on the VTS platform. The platform has been introduced after an active search to identify the best in class technology platform as part of the Knight Frank’s procurement process. VTS provides a comprehensive ecosystem which allows agents to manage deal activity and identify trends and quantify portfolio performance. The partnership with VTS will allow Knight Frank to streamline their data flow and internal activities as well as share updates with clients in real time.

Tim Robinson, head of property asset management, Knight Frank, said: “Tech solutions within the property sector are becoming more prevalent as the industry gains momentum. As the tech sector evolves we are seeing a shift from technologies wanting to be disruptive to a focus on partnership working. VTS is one such company, and we are pleased to be on-boarding the leasing and asset management software, so that we can work together to build on efficiencies in-house, as well as provide best service for our clients.”

James Nicholson, head of tech and creative, said: “As a company we are open to new technologies, and see a benefit in collaboration between tech and property. However, with so many different products and services funnelling into the property industry it is important for us to be considered in our analysis as to which will drive efficiency and ultimately increase return on investment. As such we identified VTS as a great company to form a partnership with, and look forward to seeing the benefits of the technology when applied at this scale.”

Charlie Wade, UK managing director of VTS, said: “The implementation of VTS by Knight Frank is recognition of the change in attitude and understanding of the benefits of large scale adoption of tech solutions amongst leading commercial property organisations. Knight Frank fully embodies the future of agency – they have identified the importance of technology to the growth of their business and success of their team, and are driving forward change within the industry. Working with Knight Frank, we will continue to strive to address the challenges that agents face, and work to provide best in class innovation to address their specific needs.”

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