Looking Back on 2022 – GeekEstate Blog

Looking Back on 2022 – GeekEstate Blog

[Editor’s Note: Below is the full text of our 237th Weekly Transmission, originally delivered direct to the inbox of more than 600 GEM members on December 22th, 2022. Below, I look back on a year that saw iBuying turmoil, carnage in the public markets, 3D printing milestones, and huge advances in generative AI. Plus, a variety of GEM members reflected on their 2022 predictions. Many links included are to members-only articles, so won’t be accessible without an account already setup.]

Image created with: Jasper Prompt: New Years celebration over a city skyline reflecting houses reflecting technology with text reading “2022”

Mortgage rates went up, and buying houses became harder.

Yeah, that happened. And the trickle-down effects were many. iBuyers have their tails between their legs, departing faster than they arrived on the scene. With mortgage originations down substantially (47% YoY in Q3), startups touching mortgages are reeling. After the unanticipated booming housing market of 2020 and 2021, this year was a doozy for players on every side of the equation: sellers and buyers, brokerages, property managers, landlords and tenants. The 2022 macro left no one unaffected

Here’s a snapshot of the most notable newsy moments:

1. iBuying Turmoil: On the residential side, iBuyer carnage is the most prominent story from 2022. Zillow’s exit at the end of 2021 was a bombshell, but would have been far worse if they waited even a few months later. It was a telltale sign of trouble ahead. Opendoor is reeling with a huge stock price decline over the past six months, hoping shuffling the executive deck will help un-muddy the waters. Offerpad is teetering on being delisted. RedfinNow is no longer.

The silver lining is, as part of their recent leadership reorganization, Opendoor launched its third-party Exclusives marketplace–which will be one of the most compelling stories of 2023.

PS: Check our iBuying Ecosystem Intel.

2. Public Market Carnage: Almost every public proptech company took it in the teeth on valuation. With a dearth of IPOs, late-stage got shaken—yet seed just rolled right along. While significant capital is sitting on the sidelines and waiting, capital deployment was not at a standstill: Veev raised a mound of cash to advance prefab, Italy-based Casavo raked in $400 million to try its hand at iBuying in Europe, and Roofstock took in $240 million to continue marching. Meanwhile, Flow managed to secure $350 million in a pre-seed round to re-build WeLive, trying to crack the nut of branded long-term rentals.

3. SFRs for the Win: The drop in home sales has been a boon for rentals. Based on sentiment at IMN’s Scottsdale event, single-family rental investors are thriving. All of which boded well for the array of tech vendors servicing them.

A sign of things to come: Zumper’s first-mover expansion into short-term rentals means vacation, monthly, and long-term rentals in one interface. This morphing of traditionally separate inventory will unlock new efficiencies, and blend the lines of what it means to live and travel.

4. 3D Printing Advances: IMHO, the most exciting story of 2018 was the partnership of NewStory and ICON on a 3D home printer. The sector continues to progress, and it’s likely we’ll look back on 2022 as the year it crossed the chasm into mainstream. Mighty Buildings made strides by completing delivery of an early Zero Net Energy in Southern California. ICON had a banner year, announcing plans to kick-off construction of the 100-home 3D-printed community in partnership with Lennar, and was awarded a $57.2 million contract from NASA to continue exploration of the Moon and Mars. With so many players contributing in the space, there is no doubt that 2023 will bear witness to continued technological progress.

Image created with: Jasper Prompt: generative ai, chatgpt, AI images

5. Generative AI Breaks Out: Jeff Turner’s Creativity and the AI Revolution shook me. I’ve been thinking about the technology and use cases ever since. The power and speed of iteration are like lightning. No more proof is needed than the constant chatter ever since ChatGPT was unleashed on the internet less than a month ago. I haven’t been able to avoid it since.

And, now, AI created objects are a thing. Where does it all end? The only reason this is number five and not number one is that it’s not proptech specific. But it’s literally going to impact every industry in profound ways. In weeks and months, not years. Brace yourselves.

How did we fare? Let’s take the time to reflect on several of the predictions and trends published a year ago.

Without further ado …

WEALTH MANAGEMENT TAKES CENTER STAGE
Drew Meyers // Founder, Geek Estate

I stand firm in my belief that agents and brokerages who don’t make the jump to wealth managers will be out of the business in five or 10 years. You may also recall that Ryan Coon called for the continued convergence of real estate and personal finance in our 2020 predictions.

2022 will be the year that the deep intertwining of real estate, finance, and wealth management becomes utterly apparent. I’ll admit that Truebill and its 2.5 million members were a foreign company to me prior to Rocket Cos’ $1.275 billion investment in the personal finance app. But the sheer size of investment in the trend is a staggering bet by a $30 billion dollar mortgage giant. They aren’t dummies, nor are they messing around. The next step is layering an Awning-esque investment brokerage on top of Truebill. That, and more, is coming. The waters are getting increasingly murky for real estate agents who aspire to capitalize on consumers’ desire for investment advice: They will need to understand the entire landscape to thrive.

DM: Conceptually, more of the industry has moved toward this vision over the past twelve months. But, I don’t see much in the way of actual adoption/changes at the macro-tech level. One of my favorite Transmissions of 2022 re-imagined a future in which real estate websites don’t lead with a prompt to “search for homes.” So, there’s that to dig into for the believers out there.

Verdict: Draw

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
Matt Hoffman // Partner, HousingTech Ventures

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” As The Who so aptly sang in Won’t Get Fooled Again. The year ahead is unlikely to look too different from 2021 as we continue to stagger from the effects of Covid-19, coupled with the looming uncertainty of the 2022 elections in November and the ongoing chorus of complaints about housing unaffordability by those: doing nothing about it, continuing to do the same things that are enabling it, or actively opposing innovation and change in order to protect their own little patch of dirt.

Having said that, here are some things that I expect to see in 2022:

  1. Consolidation: A bunch of housingtech startups are going on their third or fourth years in need of cash and market share, and all of them  are seeking the same customer.  As gas tanks empty, expect to see a slew of mergers between startups with similar and complementary solutions. The cream of the crop will get picked up by the largest incumbents, such as RealPage, CoStar, and Zillow.
  2. Agitation: We are going to start to see pushback on the single family rental market as jurisdictions enact “no-rent” covenants on detached single family homes (not unlike in some condo regimes).
  3. Identification: Bad actors in the multifamily market are going to be exposed at a greater rate as municipalities adopt technologies that enable more transparency with regard to violations and enforcement, and empower renters to document and pursue their rights.
  4. Re-imagination: Work from home has given the suburbs new life and threatened some cities (e.g. DC lost 2.9% of its population in 2021). Planners, politicians, and business groups are more actively engaged than ever in figuring out what a different future looks like, and that means opportunity for people with innovative housing solutions.
  5. Digitization: we will lay the groundwork in 2022 for a blockchain based real estate economy that will be the SOP in 2025, from title, to finance, to closings, to tax, to brokerage, to fractionalized ownership.

Regardless of how 2022 plays out, expect a growing group of people dedicated to making the housing market a more transparent, equitable, profitable, and sustainable place to do business…and the GEM will play a role in bringing them to the table.

Bryan Copley: Numbers one and two above are both accurate. Ofo Ezeugwu‘s Brooklyn based WYL is part of Matt’s third trend, and the DOJ is investigating rent setting company RealPage over claims it recommended rent increases over market averages. Number four is also a win: Cities are creeping back, some faster than others–but the suburbs have been the clear winners during the pandemic (2020-22).

Regarding number five, FTX and “crypto winter” have had an (unfortunate) negative effect on blockchain based technology adoption. Matt may have been 5/5 if it weren’t for bad actors in this emerging space. ChatGPT / conversational AI has taken the buzzword baton and will run with it well into 2023, leaving blockchain based technology solutions building in another category’s shadows for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Verdict: Win

RACING TOWARD BUYSIDE EXTINCTION
Jim Klinge // Broker, Compass

Eliminating buyer-agents is the easy solution to reach buyside extinction, and it’s well underway. Redfin has dumbed-down buyer representation by paying their newest agents $50 to open the door for buyers. These new agents literally have no experience or anything to offer the buyers as far as advice, and are directed to the professional agent back at the office for help—oh, great, to someone who has never seen the home. The resulting trend is to expect nothing from buyer-agents, and now the big listing teams treat outside agents like the enemy. Buyer-side commissions are dwindling, there is no transparency about making offers, and buyer-agents are treated with disdain. By now, home buyers don’t think they need help—heck, they can find all the homes for sale online—what else is there? When they find one they like, they can reach out directly to the listing team. Soon, there will be no need for the MLS, and the search portals will be optional. But the listing agent can, and will, charge 4% to 5% to transact. It will be called compression, but it is a result of the industry ignoring the value of buyer-agents for decades that they will become extinct.

Jim: The last sentence has surely come true, and will probably never change—no one in the industry will ever appreciate and publicize what buyer-agents do for work. As a result, they are dying a natural death. And I mean that literally, as the old-guard realtors that brought decades of experience to assisting buyers fade into the sunset. Now, new agents are assigned the buyer prospects and told to get them into a house. With the public never having benefited from working with a buyer-agent, they won’t miss them when they’re gone: As far as buyers are concerned, working with the listing-agent’s team got them the house.

Realtors who make up the old guard—those with 20+ years experience—still have a box of business cards. Those who pay dues every year will still be ‘in business,’ technically. But with buyer-agent compensation being crushed by greedy listing agents, there is less incentive than ever for senior realtors to do the tough work with buyers when they can instead cruise to Baja.

Some day—and it could happen in 2023—a major company will emerge who spends hundreds of millions on advertising to attract consumers to their home-selling machine. What that machine looks like doesn’t matter—it’s because they spent the advertising dollars to get the customers that causes them to take over the industry.

Verdict: Draw. The number of agents in California grew by 3,769 this year, which is 1.8% higher than it was at the end of 2021. But we also added at least 36,000 new agents—we’ll see how many pay their dues again next month. It costs about $3,000 every January to stay employed by Compass and similar  firms. I’d guess that at least 100,000 won’t renew, but how will we know?

RISE OF THE LIVE ANYWHERE MOVEMENT
Jimmy Woodard // Co-founder, Cloud Castles

Look, we all know the WFH phenomenon isn’t going away. It’s impossible  to put the cat back in the bag regarding our collective and  newfound lifestyle flexibility. Nomadism is here to stay (a history lesson for those keen to dive in).

To capitalize, Airbnb will launch two initiatives:

  1. “Live from anywhere,” targeting the medium-term rental market
  2. “Work from anywhere,” offering office spaces, houses, and ADUs as workspaces, which will come with a merger with WeWork (or a smaller competitor such as DeskPassFlexDesk, or Codi)

DM: Airbnb’s Friendly Apartments program means a “Live from Anywhere” reality is alive and well. The second part of this was nowhere to be had in 2022, though with WeWork’s stock price having dropped 90%, perhaps 2023 will be the year.

Verdict: Win

GO FOR BROKE ON SECOND HOMES
Drew Meyers // Founder, Geek Estate

At prices upwards of $500,000 and even north of $1 million, the audience for shares of Pacaso homes is limited. But, once share prices drop close to $100,000, or even less, shares in second homes will fly off the shelves. The largest opportunity is not to target those willing to pay a million dollars for a slice of a $5 million mansion, but rather offering fractional ownership on a $200-300K ski cabin.

Pacaso already had a crazy 2021, leaping from a $75 million Series B straight into a $125 million Series C in a matter of months. Expect more funding, and the driving down of share prices. And, don’t worry, if you can’t afford U.S. prices: A few international players have exported the model to Central America and beyond (Ancana/Kocomo in Mexico).

Remember, if the idea of a Pacaso-style proptech house shared among founders, execs, and VCs interests you, I’d love to hear from you.

DM: There have been new entrants in the category, but not much on the budget side. While Delara is targeting $25k per share, I wouldn’t say they or anyone else have proved a sustainable businesses can be built selling lower price points.

PS: I’m still interested in the proptech house idea. Most likely in Latin America. Reach out if you’re so inclined.

Verdict: Lose

COSTAR LAUNCHES A MLS IN THE METAVERSE
Robert Hahn // Founder, 7DS Associates

CoStar has never operated an MLS. It operates the closest thing to an MLS in the commercial real estate world, but in residential real estate, with all of the complications and different cultural norms from commercial, CoStar is a total novice. Before it can step in as a white knight, CoStar probably should know a thing or two about operating an MLS.

The Metaverse offers them the perfect opportunity to do so.

If digital land and digital buildings start trading, buyers and sellers and landlords and tenants will need a single place that has all of the inventory with some kind of verification of the property. I expect that CoStar will be a player in digital CRE in the Metaverse; they have the expertise, the credibility, and the opportunity to become that. It is a trivial matter, then, to extend that system to digital “residential” real estate as well. I’d guess that personal homes won’t be a huge thing in the Metaverse because, well, people don’t actually live in the Metaverse. But having been a longtime MMORPG fan, who owned a virtual house, furnished it with my trophies, had parties and Guild meetings there and so on… I’m fairly certain that at least some people of the Metaverse will want to own their own virtual “homes.”

It’s not a perfect match for the MLS in the real physical world, just like the Metaverse is not the real physical world. But it’s a close enough representation, just like the Metaverse is, and it will provide much needed practice for the team at CoStar to be ready for when the rules of the physical world changes. (Read longer version here).

Rob: Obviously, I got this wrong, wrong, wrong. 🙂 Big part of it, of course, is that I wanted a way to work the metaverse into the real estate conversation, but the other big part of it is that the metaverse as it exists today is merely a curiosity for gamers and geeks.

Now with the collapse of the crypto market (long overdue, and really a positive development overall), I suspect that it’ll be a while before we see CoStar or anybody else offer an MLS in the metaverse.

The Metaverse is, for all intents and purposes, kind of dead. The action will and should move to Mirror Worlds, which have real world utility and are pretty amazing.

Verdict: Lose

BLOCKCHAIN ACTUALLY BECOMES USEFUL
Teresa Grobecker // CEO, Real Estate Consortia

Appraisals have become increasingly expensive and time-consuming as fewer people become appraisers. Appraisals are disproportionately more expensive in inner cities and rural areas, which disproportionately impacts lower-income buyers and minorities. In October 2021, the FHFA announced that desktop appraisals will become the norm, not just a bandaid during the pandemic. Going forward, realtors will still play an instrumental role by collecting the appraisal information through a Facetime-like app with a licensed appraiser. The sanitized report will remove racial bias from appraisals and the process will offer affordability and a quicker turn. Appraisal inspections—along with AVMs, inspection data, and land reports—will all be packaged and uploaded to the blockchain ledger as data NFTs pre-listing.

And finally, seller title policies will be logged on the blockchain and used as title-starters (the seed of a title report). Blockchain can also potentially reduce search fees, which are hard costs incurred by title companies. Reducing these hard costs could potentially pass savings on to the customer. Title insurance (finally) becomes more affordable.

As blockchain finally grows up and provides trackable monetary utility in the real estate transaction, real estate transactions will happen faster—DOM will drop by half—and transaction fees will undergo a pricing transformation.

Teresa: The market put all loan origination and appraisals into a blender this year. After many Fannie and Freddie meetings, both have indicated that they will rely even more heavily on data and floor plans and less on appraisals. Banks and lenders are eager to adopt streamlined processes to reduce loan origination, which now costs over $11,000 (and still loses $800 per file!)

Verdict: Draw

METEORITE HITS THE SPAC MOVEMENT
Drew Meyers // Founder, Geek Estate

Vacasa, Sonder, and Inspirato are all embracing SPAC partnerships. Southport Acquisition Corp and its Ellie Mae veterans are seeking $234.6 million and a mortgage and real estate partner. And, amidst the recent lay-offs mess and Vishal Garg’s resulting “break,” the Better merger with Aurora Acquisition Corp is likely to proceed. All that said, the proptech SPAC craze will officially evaporate/crater in the year ahead.

The public markets simply don’t support the current valuations of companies being taken public. View is down since hitting the market, as are Hippo, WeWork, and Latch. Let’s be honest: How much proptech can public markets absorb? There are only so many transformative companies able to scale in the wake of skyrocketing customer acquisition costs in this age of endless noise.

DM: I was emphatically right on this, majorly right. In fact, the equity evaporation is even worse than I ever imagined.

Verdict: Win, though it’s really a loss for innovation.

CONSOLIDATION + M&A
Matt Knight // Founder, Proptech Angel Group

As great as the SPAC-a-palooza was in 2021, don’t expect that to continue in ‘22 (agreeing with Drew). It wouldn’t surprise me to see the same quantity of PropTech exits in 2022 as ‘21 but via a different avenue. One of our most important IPOs will be among them, and there are multiple interesting late-stage PropTech companies that will be highly-compelling acquisition targets.

Much like VTS did with Rise and Lane, expect to see more consolidation in the crowded niches. With all of these newly-public startups awash in cheaper capital, expect them to start buying more than they build relative to their feature sets.

And I wouldn’t confine that simply to the younger startups. With RealPage (Thoma Bravo) and Entrata (Silver Lake) now PE-owned, look for the PE playbook – sell/close non-core or low-margin business units and buy high-margin or new-market businesses.

Matt: We did have a nice SPAC exit with Appreciate. With capital markets being wonky, IPOs have dropped to essentially zero. So, my “most important IPO” didn’t happen, but it did have a big, private financing round.

There was plenty of consolidation in the space but less than I expected. It’s nice to see mature companies like HappyCo buying Yuhu, and there are a lot of these in the works behind the scenes. Maybe this bleeds into next year, but I expected to see the most popular categories trim down to two or three major players,and it hasn’t happened yet.

Same with the PE guys. They’ve been pretty quiet so far this year with all the market tumult, and it makes sense in retrospect that they would be relatively circumspect this year. I still believe in the trend, but it didn’t happen at the pace I expected. Maybe next year . . .

Verdict: Draw

CONTINUED EFFICIENCY GAINS PRICING RESIDENTIAL ASSETS
David Bluhm // Co-founder, Plunk

The world’s largest asset class both demands and deserves better than Home Price Index Reports based on a data-limited approach, published quarterly and reflecting information that is more than 60 days old.

As Wall Street moves more intentionally into residential real estate—now investing in housing at a massive scale—there will be an increasing push to develop the same analytical and forecasting tools that enable confident and frictionless investing in most all other asset classes. This will require both access to real-time, ground-truth pricing for an individual home as well as real-time tracking and monitoring of overall market and segment performance.

David: This past October, CNBC’s Senior Real Estate Correspondent, Diana Olick, commented during a morning financial markets round-up on the most commonly cited Case Schiller, S&P CoreLogic Home Price Index. She quipped, “I always complain that this particular index is wildly outdated, because it’s not only backdated by two months, but it’s a three month moving average, so really it goes back five months.” Her comment clearly outlined the market’s need for something more reflective of a highly active and dynamic real estate market—real-time valuations like what Plunk is adding to the marketplace. As home prices advanced during COVID, there was little doubt as to direction. Since then, the overall US home market has slowed, cooled, softened or steadied—market performance has varied wildly by geography, and continues to do so.

Meanwhile, new forms of real estate ownership are coming as promised. In fact, Pete Flint  recently shared that, “The real estate industry is evolving towards rapid, transparent, and digital transactions and changing models of ownership.” He goes on to explain that we are just starting the third generation of real estate innovation. Pete defines the first generation as the “Information Generation,” where players like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin directly empowered home buyers with access to listing and market information. The second was the “Transaction Generation,” where inefficiencies, time, and cost squeezed out of real estate transactions (this is where we are currently). Now, we are just entering what he calls Real Estate 3.0—or the “Ownership Generation,” where new forms of ownership open up RRE to many new types of investors. We are indeed still early, but the need to transact RRE faster and with more fully informed confidence seems clear.

Verdict: Draw. Right, but still just the earliest of adopters.

THE BIG GO BIG IN M&A
Greg Robertson // General Manager of MLS, Lone Wolf Technologies 

The past few years have been all about PE firms gobbling up smaller independent software companies, W+R Studios being one of them. In 2022, the consolidation will continue but it will be the bigger companies merging with other larger companies to become even bigger entities.

Greg: Inflation and the rapid rise of interest rates put a cooler on the real estate market any new acquisitions and any in progress.

Verdict: Lose

Overall 2022 Proptech Trend Score: 3-3-5

ZILLOW-AIRBNB DO THE UNTHINKABLE
Drew Meyers // Founder, Geek Estate

Rich Barton is no stranger to big bets, having already acquired Zillow’s largest competitor and the number two residential portal back in 2014. This time, he’ll see that joining forces  with Airbnb offers the chance to achieve complete domination over demand for short-term, midrange, and long-term accommodations, as well as deliver near unlimited real estate porn for voyeurs. There is an immense opportunity to better serve home sellers with a marketplace that offers what they genuinely want:

Any and all options to monetize their most valuable asset. That means everything from a Zestimate to a CMA to multiple cash offers from competing investors. Beyond that, an estimate for both long-term and short-term rental income, as well as a binding “bid” by a verified property management firm to take over management of the home in exchange for a percentage of the revenue.

The two companies working jointly on a home ROI dashboard with a built in marketplace would be a home run. Can egos and incentives line up?

DM: Nope, not this year. Even though Airbnb became a legitimate player in the long term rental market, I’ll have to continue dreaming about the day the two proptech darlings join forces.

Verdict: Lose

COSTAR NABS ZAVVIE
Drew Meyers // Founder, Geek Estate

It’s no secret CoStar has set its sights on Zillow. On the heels of Zillow’s exit from iBuying, I made the case for Zillow acquiring Zavvie and integrating its product as the de facto “marketplace” into Zillow’s Premier Agent offering. CoStar snapping up Zavvie from under Zillow’s nose would be a nice move to stir the pot … and give them even deeper inroads with Zavvie’s very strategic network of mid-size brokerages.

DM: CoStar failed to take the strategic player off the chess board. I am still a believer that there is an offer Lane Hornung and Stefan Peterson won’t be able to refuse coming. Thus, I’ll push this prediction to 2023 or 2024.

Verdict: Lose (for now)

REDFIN AND FLYHOMES GET HITCHED
Drew Meyers // Founder, Geek Estate

I can’t image the year ending without at least one of the major power buyers (Ribbon, Homeward, Flyhomes, Knock, Orchard) being acquired by a publicly traded market leader. The union of two Seattle-based tech-enabled brokerages fits the bill for Redfin, a company that historically has not been super active in the M&A department (however, they did acquire RentPath in 2021).

DM: Before the real tsunami that wiped out proptech market caps far and wide, we did see Accept.inc acquired by HomeLight. However, I think it’s safe to say a Flyhomes-Redfin union is off the table for the foreseeable future, as they both have gone through lay-offs (FlyhomesRedfin) and Redfin no longer has a market cap to afford it a chance to attempt such a merger. That said, I’m with Bryan Copley on Redfin: they’re down, but not out.

Verdict: Draw

Overall 2022 Resi Prediction Score: 0-2-1

Stephen Del Percio // VP & Assistant General Counsel, AECOM

Civil infrastructure will remain central to the zeitgeist of the US built environment:

Another natural disaster—hurricane, heat wave, tornado, flood—will wreak havoc on critical components of US infrastructure (I wrote this prior to hundreds of motorists being stuck for 19 hours on I-95 in northern Virginia during a major snowstorm less than three days into the new year) while at least one high-profile infrastructure project funded through the IIJA (i.e. the Biden infrastructure bill) breaks ground prior to the 2022 midterm elections in January (the Gateway Tunnel in the NY Metro area, maybe?). Either, or both, will renew criticisms that the IIJA was too small and support a push for additional infrastructure spending in a new version of the Build Back Better Act, which stalled in the Senate prior to the 2021 winter recess.

As new federal (and state match) spending shakes loose from the IIJA, savvy entrepreneurs will apply existing proptech solutions to create new infrastructure-related data sets and run analytics against them, helping public- and private-sector actors capitalize on new project and investment opportunities created by this new funding environment.

I’m not entirely sure what this one will look like. But with $500B+ in new federal spending on its way (although perhaps not until the second half of calendar 2022), there is a lot of opportunity here to redirect venture and human capital out of the trenches of construction job site hardware, where so much of the contech activity has resided over the last few years.

The AEC industry leans hard into blockchain tech; a major legacy player launches a cryptocurrency, a token, or an NFT that crosses $1B in market cap.

According to sites like cryptoslate.com, most of the tokens launched to date that have some connection to transportation- and/or energy-related solutions are trading well below $50M in market cap (with a handful of exceptions). The engineering brainpower and push for digital innovation within legacy AEC companies will figure out a way to capitalize on NFTs and/or the fledgling metaverse land grab.

Stephen: First, and as I’ll detail in my 2023 predictions after the holidays, funding from the federal infrastructure bill has been slow to roll out (for a variety of reasons). 2022 wasn’t the year for civil infrastructure – but 2023 might be! So I’ll score this one a draw as plenty of funding opportunities for important projects opened up – it’s just taking some for the spigots to turn on. TIE.

Second, although there were some interesting new contech products that launched in 2022 (check out digital AECOM’s “PipeInsights” and “planEngage”) the kind of solution I envisioned last January when I made this prediction remained elusive. If Drew allows it, I’ll double down here in 2023; I still believe that there is a big consumer-facing opportunity at the intersection of infrastructure, data analytics, and real estate. TIE.

Finally, I probably deserve more than one loss for my contech crypto prediction disaster. While I’m still a believer in blockchain applications for our industry, I haven’t put a penny into my Coinbase account in months, and this prediction feels like it came from a different world. UGLY LOSS.

Verdict: Like the Hartford Whalers opening a 1980s season in the NHL’s old Adams Division, I went a mediocre 0-1-2 with these predictions.

Overall 2022 Contech Prediction Score: 0-1-2

And with that, let’s turn the chapter on 2022. Our “2023 Predictions” and “The State of the GEM” will come out after the New Year. Have a happy holiday season.


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