The firm, which operates a $100m global venture fund for proptech companies, has appointed Eric Wittman from digital design firm Figma to take on the newly created role.
According to JLL, Wittman will be “focused on helping proptech startups grow through JLL distribution channels and feedback loops”.
Launched in 2017, JLL Spark invests in and supports early-stage companies “leveraging technology to improve everything from real estate development and management to leasing and investing while enhancing the experience of those who occupy it.”
Mihir Shah, co-CEO of JLL Spark, said with Wittman on board, they are “doubling down” on their “commitment to partner with proptech entrepreneurs, helping them tap into the resources of JLL business lines and succeed in rapidly growing their companies”, and as a “seasoned business leader, product executive and investor”, Wittman is “uniquely suited to support the growth and scale” of the company’s portfolio companies.
Previously, Wittman worked as chief operating officer at collaborative interface design firm Figma. He hired the business leadership team, launched the firm’s first paid product offering, grew it to 3,000 customers and helped raise $25m in an investment round.
Other previous roles held by Wittman include general manager of enterprise software company Atlassian, CEO of Songbird, and senior positions with Adobe.
He’ll work closely with JLL’s growth team, led by Andrea Jang in the Americas, Tanguy Quéro in EMEA and Anuj Nangpal in APAC. The firm explained that this team “acts as a strategic advisor preparing portfolio companies for opportunities with the JLL network and vice-versa”.
Commenting on his new role Wittman said: “We are witnessing incredible growth opportunities within proptech today. Now is the perfect time to transform commercial real estate leveraging new digital products.
“JLL Spark is unique in that we have an incredible team of both seasoned investors and operators. We also bring a new strategic dimension to JLL’s client relationships that helps them evaluate and adopt proptech faster.”
Dan Ryan, CEO of sensor maker Vergesense, added: “The JLL Spark growth team has been a great asset to our company. In fact, I can directly attribute more than 1,000 sensor sales to opportunities driven by JLL Spark. Wittman has already proven to be a fantastic value-add, delivering practical advice and insight based on his years of experience growing and scaling technology companies.”