JLL Spark: Construction ripe for modernisation

David Gerster, vice president of global fund JLL Spark, reflects on 2019, WeWork, the firm’s focus for 2020, the quality of existing tech companies, finding the ‘JLL fit’ and sorting the good from the bad.

‘Having recently invested in OpenSpace, I’m very interested in construction technology. It definitely seems like a candidate that’s ripe for modernisation’

‘One example of best-in-class is HqO, we looked at a bunch of different offerings in the tenant experience space. One reason we liked HqO was their focus on the customer experience’

‘We’ve been pretty happy with the pace of deal flow, there’s a lot of stuff going on and we have some new deals we’re going to be announcing soon’

‘What’s been on everyone’s mind is the whole WeWork situation. I think it’s a cautionary tale, in a sense that you have to be careful applying a tech multiple to a commercial real estate business’

Gerster has been vice president of the $100m fund since 2017. Prior to joining JLL, he was in the tech space as vice president of data science at machine learning software company BigML, director of data science at Groupon, principal programme manager at Microsoft’s Bing and director of analytics at Yahoo.

David Gerster was attending MIPIM PropTech New York at the time of the interview.

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