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Meet the judges: PlaceTech Prize

Alex Edds, director of innovation at JLL, New York’s ‘godfather of proptech’ Duke LongMelanie Leech, chief executive of British Property Federation, James Dearsley, co-founder of PropTech Consult, and applied futurist Tom Cheesewright are among the panel of property and technology experts judging the PlaceTech Prize for innovation in 2018.

The PlaceTech Prize is open to the following, across all areas of technology in property:

  • Projects
  • Services
  • Companies
  • Products

The panel will also be judging entries for the PlaceTech Startup Prize, which will be awarded to the most promising business or project of the past three years.

Winners will receive a comprehensive package including editorial coverage, tickets to events, access to industry leaders and marketing support, as well as recognition as most innovative firm, project or startup.

The deadline for entries is 20 July 2018.

Click here to enter or nominate

The full list of judges includes:


Martin Bryant – consultant, speaker, writer, and educator on technology and media. Martin  works to help technology companies craft a narrative around their products and business. He was previously editor-in-chief of international technology publication The Next Web, and community editor at Tech North, where he shone a light on the stories of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the North of England.






Tom Cheesewright – founder of applied futurism practice, Book of the Future and creator of the Applied Futurist’s Toolkit, a suite of strategy tools for agile organisations. Tom appears frequently in the media, with over a thousand appearances across TV, radio, print and digital providing analysis of the latest tech news and trends.

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Danny Crump – director of urbanism, Broadway Malyan, leading the Northern city planning and delivery team. Danny has spent the past two decades delivering high profile projects around the world, and he has a particular passion for the role of design, development and regeneration, especially through the prism of transit-orientated communities.

Robert de Jong – programme director for the Urban Land Institute UK, advising and leading on the development of initiatives for the ULI Tech Forum, Sustainability and Infrastructure & Regeneration Council. Robert has over 20 years’ experience leading and developing innovative programmes for commercial property, third sector and industry associations.

James Dearsley

James Dearsley – co-founder of PropTech Consult and board member of the UK Proptech Association. James is a global commentator and regular keynote speaker on property technology, and has spent 15 years working in both UK and International property markets.

Alex Edds 1

Alex Edds – director of innovation at JLL. Alex advises the board and service line leaders on technological and systemic disruption facing the property industry. He supports the development of new business strategies which seek to embrace and capitalise on market opportunities across the whole value chain of the property lifecycle.

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Mike Edge – partner at law firm Mills & Reeve. A well-known lawyer, Mike has more than 30 years of experience in the property industry and has worked for a number of high profile clients, including significant developers and investors, as well as substantial occupier clients.

Simon Hughes

Simon Hughes – chief strategy officer & co-founder of Liquid Real Estate Innovation, with more than 20 years’ experience of providing innovative advisory solutions across the built environment. Simon is an industry leader, recognised for innovation and transformation in property. Previously, as a partner of the firm, he led the innovation agenda for global design consultancy EC Harris/Arcadis.

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Menno Lammers – chief proptech officer and founder of PropTechNL, a cross-industry development platform that aims to connect society challenges with proptech solutions and to invent the future of property by helping leaders to futureproof their organisations. He is a also a mentor at startup bootcamp, ‘Smart City & IoT’.


Melanie Leech – chief executive, British Property Federation, where her role is to champion UK property and promote a sustainable partnership between the Government and the sector. Melanie has a wealth of experience, having worked for the Food & Drink Federation, the Metropolitan Police Service, HM Customs, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, the Office of the Rail Regulator and the Cabinet Office.

Will Lewis

Will Lewis – founding director, OBI Property which he set up in 2010. He specialises in advising developers and occupiers as part of OBI’s transactions and asset management team. Will has advised on some of the largest recent property deals in Manchester, and he also advises a variety of occupier clients on a national basis.

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Duke Long – co-founder of PropTech Challenge and the broker and owner of The Duke Long Agency as well as managing partner of PUR Ventures. He has invested in, advised and helped grow tech companies focused on commercial real estate. He is an advisor and mentor for the NARReach and MetaProp Real Estate Technology Accelerators.

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Neil Singer – CEO of clicktopurchase. Neil has worked in the property industry for more than 25 years. He set up niche investment agency, Singer Vielle, and clicktopurchase, the online auction using AI and blockchain to revolutionise property sales. Clicktopurchase was used for the first residential property sale recorded in blockchain in the UK.


Filippo Rean – managing director of the MIPIM and Mapic global portfolio of tradeshows and conferences for property. He launched the first MIPIM conference dedicated to proptech in New York in 2016, and in June 2018 introduced MIPIM Proptech Europe in Paris. Filippo has previously held roles at GE Capital Real Estate, Bain & Co and Procter & Gamble.

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Thomas Renn – managing director of Manchester Science Partnerships, the largest science park operator in the UK, with 5 campuses that are home to over 300 businesses, across the health, sciences and technology sectors. Tom joined MSP in 2012 and has helped scale the business footprint from 200,000 sq ft to 2m sq ft.

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Roger Tan – managing director and board member of UNSense, the arch tech company founded by UNStudio. Roger was managing partner of Broekbakema architects and previously had an extensive career in the finance industry, leading organisational change and managing teams and projects in one of the leading European investment management companies.

Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas – co-founder and chief investment officer at property finance marketplace platform LendInvest, which he co-founded in 2013, spinning out of his previous business Montello. Ian oversees all investment strategy and decision-making at LendInvest. He is a regular speaker at property events and a member of the MIPIM PropTech Advisory Committee.

Louise Weale

Louise Weale – licensing manager and tech affiliate programme lead at the RICS, responsible for managing all data licensing partnerships, and the TAP – an international community of data and technology providers across the built environment that aims to aid engagement between the technology and traditional property sectors.


Bridget Wilkins – associate director within London’s largest development transaction and advisory team at CBRE, she is currently involved in advising on the delivery of more than 3m sq ft of mixed use accommodation across central London. Bridget is also involved in the Urban Land Institute UK Tech Forum, CBRE UK Innovation Board, CBRE UK Charitable Trust, Peer 20 Mentoring Group and Raise Your Hands Startup Charity.

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Raya Yunakova – programme director at Pi Labs. Raya manages pre-seed investments at Pi Labs, a $10m venture capital fund investing exclusively in early-stage technology companies with a focus on the real estate sector. Prior to that she was responsible for Microsoft’s software developer and startup relations in 25 countries across Europe and Central Asia and had her own tech startup in the education space.


The two winners will be announced at the PlaceTech Big Night Out in Manchester on 20 November 2018. Tickets for this can be purchased here.

Click here to enter or nominate

The PlaceTech Prize is delivered in association with Bruntwood and Manchester Science Partnerships, Mills & Reeve, OBI and Redwood Consulting.

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