State of the GEM 2023
[Editor’s Note: Below is the full text of our 239th Weekly Transmission, originally delivered direct to the inbox of more than 600 GEM members on January 11th, 2023.]
Collectively, the GEM is a diverse community of proptech innovators spanning every role, sector, and geography.
While the biz intel, innovative thinking, and curation are valuable, most members are here to rub shoulders with peers making a mark on the world—we continue pushing the ball forward to facilitate curated connections. Again this year, there is still an immense amount of work before we fully realize the GEM’s potential as table stakes for successful founders.
Without further ado, maintaining the tradition started three years ago to report transparently on the makeup of the community, we bring you… the State of the GEM in 2023.
Total members: 605
…from sectors far and wide
…in varying roles
…representing locations across the globe
Before we dive in, note: We’re 60% of the way to our cap of 1,500 members. Know someone who should be here? Send them this two-pager.
We’re still heavily residential, and that will remain the case in 2023. We broke out Rentals as its own sector, given our focus on it and its representation in the GEM. We didn’t successfully migrate everyone, so that category will likely see a huge uptick in members after another year of combing through our data.
The roles makeup remains largely the same as a year ago.
We picked up more members in most of our core cities, adding more than 20 in New York and another 15 in Greater Los Angeles. It’s interesting to note that the Bay Area actually declined from 70 to 67. A hypothesis: founders moved away during the pandemic and our data just now caught up to the migration.
Female: 15.87% (up from 15.05%)
Persons of Color: 20.17% (up from 16.04%)
EVENTS / NETWORKING
Events happened! Three years delayed, but we got there. And we’ll improve on that output in the year ahead.
Our VIP Dinner series continued in partnership with Resident with two dinners (April during Inman and October during CREtech). The Seattle founders dinner, which Plunk hosted at its corporate HQ, was a personal highlight given it was the first “proper” Seattle-area dinner in our hometown. Another noteworthy event: Our largest dinner of all time—42 attendees—took place during Blueprint in Vegas. I suspect we’ll top that with 60 or even 80 dinner attendees at Blueprint 2023. If you’re interested in joining us for the 2023 GEM Community Dinner during Blueprint, please join the GEM.
Lackluster office hours output was sorely disappointing. We’ll get to 12 in 2023: Clelia Peters hosted January’s, and we have monthly hosts lined up through April already—Tigre Wenrich, Dave Garland and Heather Widman. If you’re a VC and interested, shoot us a note and we’ll get you on the calendar.
Virtual networking-wise, we have announced the beta of the new and improved Proptech Roulette. That will remain a central focus moving forward.
Let’s briefly look back on last year’s resolutions:
- Dinners (12): Win. But just by a hair (13).
- In-person opportunities: Win. It was a heavy travel year and we hit almost every city we said we would. Denver was the exception. To make up for that, I’ve already booked a flight in April to attend the Housing Innovation Summit, and I’m hosting two innovators roundtable dinners back to back.
- Diversity: Draw (plus a smidge). We improved slightly in the persons of color category, going from 16.04% to 20.17%. That’s a win in my book. However, the percentage of women remained flat.
- Workgroups: Win, but with reservations. We started the two initial groups (Affordability and Blockchain), and had several super-interesting discussions as part of that. But we should have maintained a more consistent cadence.
- Bring back early-stage fundraising office hours + peer practice pitches: Lose. We didn’t bring this back with the consistency needed to consider it a success.
- Completion of membership clean-up: Draw. We’re close, but not quite there. On the plus side, we’ve been consistently migrating old members from Paypal to ChargeBee and have removed or converted almost all of our previously comped members.
- Raising (new member) pricing again: Win, as we raised prices from $129 to $139 per quarter early in the year.
Overall 2022 Score: 4-2-1
- Test and incorporate generative AI tech: Our belief is you don’t truly learn unless you do something first-hand. So, we’ll continue our testing with Jasper and others, leveraging these tools for graphics, copy (we’ll disclose when/if/where we do this), and potentially even audio/video.
- Ecosystem Intelligence for affordable, accessible, or sustainable housing: With a housing crisis upon us, we commit to helping founders and capital providers alike navigate the companies working to combat it as part of GEM’s Ecosystem Intelligence series.
- Successfully migrate remaining Paypal users to Chargebee: It’s a tall order, but we’ll continue one membership at a time.
- Develop more integrated internal systems and reporting: We’ve been slowly improving our internal monthly reporting, and a new and improved master member spreadsheet is a major deliverable to ourselves in 2023.
- More dinners: We’ll hit the 15 dinner mark–including another two VIP Dinners with Resident, a Seattle founders dinner, and SF.
- Proptech Roulette launch and roll-out: We’ve been searching for a platform like Intros.ai for a couple of years. Now that we’ve found it, we’re super excited for the new possibilities.
- Raise (new member) pricing: This year, we’ll update pricing from $139 to $147 per quarter, but keep the $497 yearly price point to add a larger incentive to pay for longer memberships.
It’s going to be a tough year for growth across every industry. That’s a certainty in an uncertain world. Don’t despair: I’m hugely confident kernels of greatness will unearth themselves in the year ahead.
Through thick and thin, our pursuit remains to deliver every proptech founder all the connections, peer support, and business intelligence needed to propel their company to greatness.
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. — Steve Jobs, 1997
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