Meet the new head of MIPIM Propel
From a net zero zone in Cannes to insightful closed-door events, Lauriane Halle has big plans for MIPIM’s tech programme.
Joining the MIPIM team as Propel director was a “natural evolution” for Halle, whose 10-plus years in PR have included a bevy of tech and industry clients such as Schneider Electric, Huawei and Colliers International.
Over the last three years, she worked for proptech startup PriceHubble, giving her first-hand experience of the major industry shows from a delegate’s perspective.
“I see myself as an insider, because I used to work for proptech, so in terms of offers, in terms of added value, I might be able to drive new ideas,” she says.
About a month into the job, Halle has an infectious enthusiasm for crafting bigger and better shows for Propel. PlaceTech spoke to her about her plans and priorities.
Deliver Propel NY with new panel formats
Much of the work for the show was already done when Halle joined, but there are still a few Ts to cross, Is to dot and speakers to confirm.
One development this year is the introduction of invitation-only closed door summits: one with investors, one dedicated to ESG and one about occupiers, which is sponsored by PwC.
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“You can talk more freely for sure,” says Halle of these private sessions. “What you get out of it is tenfold compared to some other meetings, because people are here to talk and network. It’s really people having challenges and extending best practice.”
As far as the wider programme is concerned, attendees can expect a “good balance” between thought leadership and practical business advice, from panels on M&A and Salesforce to advice on putting proptech into practice from the likes of Bain and Nuveen. The conference programme is available here.
Halle expects a strong turnout of both tech and real estate players: “[Corporates] are extremely receptive when we invite them, because the goal is for them to show their best practice and talk about use cases. It’s an opportunity for them to show they’re ahead of the curve, that they’re innovative and that they are really taking into consideration what is happening.”
Introduce a net zero zone in Cannes
“Yes, we are still in the basement,” Halle says of the Propel station at MIPIM next year. She has plans brewing, however, to draw more traffic to it in 2023, drawing in a healthy mix of startups and corporates.
First, there will be “matchmaking” networking sessions. “We will have, I wouldn’t say speed dating, but a speed meeting area,” she says. While the details still need to be confirmed, Halle is also considering ways to help exhibitors in the area – largely startups – meet either potential clients or investors.
Potentially more important is what will happen next to the Propel station. “When you go down the stairs, on the left you have Propel, and on the right where we used to have the Innovation Forum, we will have a brand new zone that we call Road to Net Zero.”
While Propel will be dedicated to the startup ecosystem, the net zero zone will have a mix of corporates and startups. MIPIM clearly has high expectations for the area and the buzz that mixing companies of all sizes will bring. Halle’s team will move the stage that used to be at Propel over to the net zero zone and will carefully choose the companies who exhibit in the area.
“We are selecting the companies who will be there because, today, many, many companies have an ESG offer or ESG product. We really want the guys that could make or break the ESG game in the next few years,” Halle says.
Before even marketing Road to Net Zero, Halle says interest from those who have heard about it has been overwhelmingly positive. “I have to say, people are obsessed! We have communicated about it nowhere. You haven’t had a single slide out. People are calling us.”
Inspire further change in real estate
Halle is clear that she is positive and optimistic about the direction of the industry. Nevertheless, there are two areas – diversity and ESG – where she believes we still need deeper conversations.
On the former, she says: “When we are building panels, we have a very strong policy in the MIPIM team: we have to try to have the same number of men and women talking. We are struggling, not because there aren’t good women who are leaders who have amazing things to say. They’re just not in a C-level position.
“Participating in an afterwork Women in Real Estate or something like that might not be enough. I want to see your board. I want to see your C-levels. And yes, I’m guessing your communication director and your HR director might be women, but what about your chief revenue [officer]? What about your COO? What about your innovation director? What about your real estate director?”
ESG, she says, is in a similar position. A company can say they’ve built a new office building that’s cut energy use by 20%, but how much are they flying? Are teams encouraged to make more sustainable choices in other parts of their work?
But Halle recognises that some of these changes are easier in smaller teams than in larger corporates and believes that change, particularly around sustainability, is happening.
She says: “People are already making a lot of effort. I really want to be positive about this; there are so many interesting initiatives. The idea is really how do we get to the next level? Because – spoiler alert – we don’t have that much time.”
Getting real estate to the next level on these topics is central to her role leading the Propel team. If the industry is to continue to evolve, to make tech, sustainability and diversity issues it takes seriously on every level, there are few better places to get those conversations going than the biggest shows in the property calendar.