Atholl Milton is co-founder of vending marketplace StreetDots. The FUTURE PropTech team caught up with Atholl ahead of him speaking at the event on 14 May.
In two sentences, what do you do?
We are the marketplace connecting real estate and independent business and consumers. Powered by technology platforms, we are revolutionising outdoor mobile retail.
The theme of this year’s FUTURE Proptech is Open Collaboration. What does open collaboration mean to you?
Smart collaboration is one of our core values. It is the reason we have started this business. We believe that everyone can win with our business model, and it takes collaboration and team work to do what we do. We work very closely and collaborate with not only traders and vendors, but also large corporations and real estate companies. Communication is key for us, and that is why we have created this tech platform – to provide a seamless end to end marketplace for all. Smart collaboration should add value in a number of way.
Collaboration for us means working closely to propel each others businesses, helping each other with making noise in relevant marketplaces, and using tools to make offerings better.
What trends and developments in the industry do you think will be discussed the most this year?
Tenant experience and wellness is a major theme which we are helping to tackle. Access and mobility plays a major part here. The rise of space utilisation through geo-mapping technology will continue to grow and showcase the opportunity for under-utilised space. We will see more collaboration in this area. The rise of co-communities and mixed use real estate developments is a trend which will not be going anywhere. We are happy to see that people are seeing the value in community. In terms of tech, machine learning and AI will continue to grow and become part of everyday business. We are happy that there are so many discussions about future, smart and sustainable cities going on, and hopefully we will be able to educate those interested in the future of retail and commercial land utilisation and flexibility of leasing within a city.
What are the biggest challenges that the industry is facing at the moment?
The biggest challenge that our industry is facing currently is the consistent rise in retail rental prices and rates. We are tackling this major challenge head on by creating brand new places to trade. The retail industry is in a state of flux – we are in the Amazon age and online shopping is BIG business. We still believe that physical retail is not dead – we just need to shake it up and show people how to be creative in their strategies. Physical and digital retail needs to be reinvented. There is a governmental / regulation education piece around this. We need to see a change in mindset regarding the opportunity for utilising space and collaborating. Trends are changing rapidly. They started in decades, decades were shortened to 7 years, during the dot-com bubble, and due to technology and social media, trends are now shifting from years to months. By keeping variety, landscapes remain fresh. We need to remove the cookie cutter approach and become more creative in order for real estate to thrive.
What are you personally looking forward to the most at this year’s FUTURE PropTech?
We are excited to showcase what we do best! We will be feeding 2000+ hungry delegates, offering up delicious, healthy and mouth-watering options all day.
Not only will we showcase our fantastic trading partners and vibrant flavours, but we can introduce ourselves to the wider proptech and investment community as a team. Watch out for our keynote with partners TFL, where we will take to the stage to discuss exactly what we do!
What 3 things do you want to see at FUTURE PropTech this year?
1. PropTech embracing other sector technologies
2. A broad range of speakers on the main stages
3. Everyone enjoying StreetDots’ yummy offerings