JLL buys Building Engines for $300M

It's the latest blockbuster M&A deal in proptech

Building Engines CEO Tim Curran and JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich (Building Engines, Getty)
Building Engines CEO Tim Curran and JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich (Building Engines, Getty)

JLL is building out its proptech capabilities with its acquisition of Building Engines for $300 million.

The Boston-based building operations software firm will be tucked into the JLL Technologies umbrella, Business Insider first reported. Building Engines CEO Tim Curran will become executive managing director of his company upon the closing of the transaction, which is expected by the end of the year.

Building Engines has its tools integrated into an app called Prism. The company hosts more than 1,000 clients, counting 35,000 properties and 3 billion square feet among its portfolio.

The 21-year-old company has created software that helps owners and landlords manage building properties, such as heating and ventilation systems, and the vendors who service them.

“The majority of our investor clients use Building Engines in one way, shape, or form in some segment of their CRE portfolio,” Jay Koster, president of JLL’s Americas capital markets and investor services, told Business Insider.

In addition to bringing clients and programming tools to help operate properties, Building Engines is also bringing a treasure trove of data to JLL. Building Engines has various datasets, such as the performance of HVAC systems in office buildings, and Curran told Business Insider it hopes JLL will help analyze that data and use it towards decisions made by investors.

News of the deal comes amid a wave of acquisitions among some of proptech’s biggest players. The Wall Street Journal previously reported Unicorn VTS is acquiring Toronto-based Lane Technologies for $200 million, marking one of the largest deals in the history of the sector.

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The transaction is another step towards a VTS-led office-app firm, advancing ground laid by the New York-based software and data company’s acquisition of Rise Buildings in March for around $100 million.

Two months ago, JLL purchased Skyline AI, an artificial intelligence startup the commercial brokerage hoped to use for estimating future property values and picking new investment opportunities.

That acquisition was a similar play for data, as Skyline was tracking 400,000 properties with data related to demographics, occupancy levels, asset performance and tenant feedback. Skyline AI was capable of gathering data from more than 300 sources, including real estate analytics and crime statistics.

Building Engines is no stranger to the acquisition space. Making its own acquisition in 2019, the firm snapped up Real Data Management — a mainstay among New York commercial real estate technology — as CRE tech was seeing scores of consolidation and drawing droves of investor interest.

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[Insider] — Holden Walter-Warner