Proptech stars — they’re just like us: Future City attendee spotlight

Rub elbows with some of the best and brightest at the intersection of real estate and tech at TRD’s exclusive retreat

National /
Jan.January 26, 2022 05:45 PM
From left: Caren Maio, Blima Ehrentreu, David Abrams, David Schechtman and Justin Ehrlich

From left: Caren Maio, Blima Ehrentreu, David Abrams, David Schechtman and Justin Ehrlich

You may have more in common with some of the leading proptech players than you think.

For example, from March 20 to 22, you will all be in the Bahamas for Future City 2022 — that is, if you get your application in by Feb 24.

The Real Deal’s executives-only retreat is locked and loaded with attendees who have the scoop on what’s next for real estate in the age of the algorithm. Here are just a few:

Michael Stern

Michael Stern

The founder and CEO of JDS Development Group is a household name in the industry, and for good reason.

The supertall condo developer cut his teeth on the Miami spec home scene before leaving his mark on the Manhattan skyline with projects such as 111 West 57th Street and Chelsea’s Walker Tower.

Stern’s famously complex undertaking on the former project involved boring 70 feet into the ground using hand drills so as to avoid disturbing the landmarked Steinway Hall at its base. When manufacturers couldn’t get behind his plans for a decorative metal-clad portion of Walker Tower, he just did it in-house.

Among his Miami properties is the bayfront luxury condo Monad Terrace. Just last week, a penthouse in the building sold for $9.9 million, a 30-percent markup from what the seller paid for it last July.

Michael Stern skips lunch and stays off social media. I’m guilty of the former — and still working on the latter — but if it got him on the Forbes’ 40 Under 40 list, there may be something to it.

Caren Maio

Caren Maio

With a new title like “Entrepreneur-in-Residence,” it’s no surprise that Caren Maio is making moves.

The Camber Creek principal just announced her new position as president and chief strategy officer at Moved, a platform poised to be the next big thing in multifamily technology.

Maio will remain connected to Camber Creek, the venture capital firm at the forefront of many promising proptech investments. The firm led series B funding for construction management platform Bridgit back in October. Just last week, it led the growth round for rental data firm HappyCo, which raised $52 million.

Caren Maio and I also share an “angsty” adolescence and an abiding love for all manner of tchotchkes.

Taylor Collins

Taylor Collins

If you believe the tech offices of the future should come with an oceanfront view, you and Taylor Collins have something in common.

The co-founder and managing partner of Two Roads Development struck while the South Florida tech iron was hot. Two Roads was among the real estate players who backed Mayor Francis Suarez’s reelection campaign in November.

Like Suarez, Collins believes in Miami’s hard pivot to tech. The Two Roads principal is also on the advisory board of the University of Miami School of Architecture’s Master of Real Estate + Urban Development.

Steve Van Till

Steve Van Till

Steve Van Till knows smart tech. The Brivo CEO is a forerunner in the movement for new building technology. The company gives users cloud-based control over an “Internet of things,” a neologism for their various surveillance products designed to step up and simplify building security.

When he’s not revolutionizing the way we buzz in our grocery deliveries, Van Till reads books and rides bikes, just like the rest of us. He studied photography, and in another lifetime might have pursued it professionally.

The proptech CEO, like yours truly, has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, a success story for the so-called “most useless major.” Four years of truth tables and thought experiments primed him to ask all the right questions about the future of technology in real estate. As reporters, we’re also in the business of asking questions, though ours are a little less lucrative.

Van Till is the author of the award-winning “The Five Technological Forces Disrupting Technology,” which ASIS International named Book of the Year in 2017. (I’m still waiting for my book deal.)

Most importantly, though, he is the proud dog-father of a Goldendoodle — much like our own CEO, Stuart Elliott.





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