Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region Leverages Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre Program to Invest in Innovation
| By Tabatha Laverty, Accelerator Centre, in collaboration with Adam Stewart, Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region Ltd., Brokerage |
Far too often, we associate innovation and industry disruption with startups – entrepreneurs with bootstrapped funds and big ideas. But the truth is that the innovation community is just that – a community. Startups need larger companies to access data, test their ideas, and invest into their solutions just as much as those corporations need startups and a startup mentality to help them innovate.
Our partners, Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region Ltd., Brokerage, are an excellent example of the value that larger companies can bring to the ecosystem by embracing innovation internally. Cushman Wakefield is one of the largest commercial real estate brokers in Waterloo Region, providing a breadth of expertise in commercial real estate sales and leasing, investment and portfolio sales, development sites a project marketing, and operating business sales.
In 2017, they decided to leverage the Accelerator Program to test and validate the market for a new drone-based service offering. Since then, Cushman & Wakefield’s integrated UAV/Drone service has both literally and figuratively taken off as a leading local drone service platform providing a turn-key toolkit solution to acquire, process, and deliver aerial property information for land and commercial real estate marketing to enterprise customers.
Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region Ltd. is the first commercial real estate brokerage to launch an integrated UAV/Drone service platform in Canada by acquiring the appropriate certifications from Transport Canada. By offering clients a cutting edge commercial real estate service with the most advanced UAV/Drone hardware and software technology solutions, they are able to apply leading marketing technique that showcase commercial real estate listings in a unique and powerful way.
Using emerging software and the newest drone hardware technology, we capture Ultra HD images and video and convert imagery into realistic 3D models that allow clients to observe property and surroundings from a detailed aerial perspective. Multiple vantage points provide an extremely precise look to perform aerial building inspections giving our clients the confidence that their infrastructure project is being completed as scheduled with digital records of construction.
Additional services include capturing visual factors such as proximity to major roadways, traffic flows, amenities, and key infrastructure, as well as more complex applications including construction project management, earthworks cut & fill analysis, and property elevation analysis.
Cushman Wakefield completed Phase 1 of the AC program to explore various use cases, business models and market segments for the offering and was able to quickly identify the best way to spin out the new idea and enter the market with the new service.
“When Cushman Wakefield approached us about wanting to leverage AC programming to validate the market for their new drone service, we knew our Phase 1 of the Accelerator Program was ideal and we were excited to help them,” says Accelerator CEO, Paul Salvini.
“Some of the most successful companies that have gone through the AC program grew from ideas that entrepreneurs have had while working in full-time positions in large corporations or were inspired by seeing the struggles of friends and family member in their own careers. It is great to see large companies embracing those ideas internally and turning them into new services or new ventures.”
“In many respects, commercial real estate is a commoditized transactional process. Where I feel our office and professionals exceed, is by constantly looking at new ways of innovation to provide a new standard of excellence by introducing new technologies for our clients to benefit from”, said Michael Polzl, President & Broker of Record for Cushman & Wakefield Waterloo Region.
“What the Accelerator Centre allowed us to do was create a path to help us identify our strengths as an organization within the commercial real estate sector, and focus in on introducing our UAV/drone platform to our core clients”, said Adam Stewart, Cushman & Wakefield’s Marketing Manager and UAV Practice Leader. “We could have attempted to service many different industries beyond our core business, but the Accelerator Centre mentor team really did a good job of helping to pinpoint where our best efforts should be focused.”
But Cushman Wakefield’s commitment to industry transformation doesn’t stop within their own walls. They are committed to continuing to supporting entrepreneurs that can innovate in the real estate or adjacent markets by acting as first customers, providing advice and consultation, and investing directly in high potential initiatives.
As a global organization, Cushman & Wakefield is fully invested in building innovation through partnerships including with MetaProp NYC, the world’s premier real estate technology nexus, to provide the global real estate services leader with exclusive worldwide strategic advice and corporate development across business lines and support services.
The Cushman & Wakefield-MetaProp tech partnership is one example where qualified startups are given a single point of entry to the global Cushman & Wakefield ecosystem; Fast tracked technology and business diligence; Matching with appropriate Cushman & Wakefield client and business champions; and equally exciting partnerships, investments, and acquisition opportunities.