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State of Startups report for 2016 (hello, stats!)

(TECH NEWS) Startups, even in the real estate tech industry, share commonalities – what did this year have in store?

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real estate technology startups emails

Results are in

First Round Review’s data-grubbing annual State of Startups survey interviewed 700 startup founders this year. They asked about what it means to be an entrepreneur, if the tech bubble is about to pop, if there’s enough diversity in their field, and tons more. Their results are more than surprising.

Given how many of our readers are real estate tech startup founders and leaders, this data is more relevant now than ever.

This is the second year State of Startups has asked founders and CEOs of startup companies about the nature of tech, funding, and day-to-day operations. Responses showed not only that State of Startups has succeeded in taking a virtual snapshot of fledglings in tech, but that they’re essentially capturing the sentiment of the tech industry as a whole. The most surprising find was that responses changed since 2015.

Here’s what they found:

Startupping a startup

The tech bubble (according to startup founders) is no longer a pressing issue. While last year 73 percent of respondents said that we were in a bubble, this year only 57 percent agreed. In fact, of those 57 percent, 24 percent said yes we’re in a bubble, and it’s close to bursting. 33 percent agreed that they were in a bubble, but that it has a long way to go before it bursts.

91 percent of startup founders said that now is a good time to be starting a company. But 50 percent of those same founders said if they were starting another company today, they would choose a different industry.

Suffice it to say the grass is always greener, and with no additional information on the makeup of industries reflected in the survey, it’s hard to glean advice from that statistic.

Office politics

31 percent of startups will be hiring 1-5 people within the next 12 months.

Engineering leaders are the hardest to hire, probably because most startups agree that engineering drives the company’s culture.

They also make the biggest bucks. Mid Level engineers receive 100-150k in salary and bonuses in over half of startups surveyed, though they tap out at 0-.2 percent in equity at 38 percent of companies.

A quarter of companies spend between 0-$10 per square foot on their office space, and most employees leave between 5 and 7pm on any given day.

Diversity

Teams are mostly male (50 percent of companies surveyed) and 61 percent of boards are all male. When asked why there aren’t as many women and ethnic minorities represented in tech, answers varied widely across the sexes. 49 percent of men believe that not enough women and minorities are going into tech in the first place, while women base the lack of diversity on unconscious bias and a lack of industry role models.

That said, when asked who their tech leader archetype was, 23 percent overwhelmingly wrote in Elon Musk. Only 1 percent wrote in Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and that comprised of only 5 percent of the female write-ins.

Most respondents believe the diversity gap will close by 2030, and that the demographics of startups will only then begin to reflect the gender and racial make-up of the U.S.

A quarter of these entrepreneurs believe it will take 20 years to balance the race and sex disparity.

View the full infographic and report here.

If you’re an entrepreneur, make sure you sign up to be a part of the round up next year!

#StateOfStartups

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Real Estate Technology

Your office could benefit from a more open floor plan

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) Science proves that open floor plans are more conducive to office productivity, but will it work for everyone?

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open office

If you walk into a tech startup, nine times out of ten you’ll find an open seating/bull-pen style seating. Whereas traditional work environments are divided up into departments with individual offices and cubicles, open office floor plans put all employees in the same room. Studies have shown that cubicles don’t increase productivity. As a matter of fact, people are more productive when they are sitting close together, but can see each other.

Pros of openness

Some of the advantages of an open office floor plan are obvious. These kinds of offices are economical because you can fit more people and more desks in less space, and because it is more efficient to heat, cool, and light one large room than several small rooms.

Open office plans also facilitate communication between managers and their employees, and between departments.

Rather than taking the stairs or hiking down the hall to collaborate with another person, you can simply holler across the room.

Cons of openness

Unfortunately, all of that hollering can sometimes be pretty distracting. A University of Sydney study found that half of workers in open offices say that the most frustrating part of their workplace is the “lack of sound privacy.”

Open offices are not only noisy, but are also less secure, since everyone can overhear one another.

Employees may get peeved if they can’t concentrate because of all the noise around them, or can’t make a phone call without being overheard.

Dr. Who inspired solution

A startup called Framery Acoustics offers a solution.

They create soundproof phone booths and meeting pods designed to complement open office floor plans.

One of the founders, who previously worked in an open office, complained that his boss talked too loudly on his cellphone. His boss replied, “Well, get me a phone booth.” Thus, Framery Acoustics was born.

Simple solutions

Framery Acoustics is just one company that offers a product suited to appease open office dissenters. Framery Acoustics isn’t ready to give up on openness and neither should you. So, when it comes time to return to your office (if you haven’t already), look for ways to make your office more flexible. Whether it is by providing a quiet capsule for private meetings and phone calls or just having a designated section for meeting, the solution is out there.

Compromising allows you to reap the benefits of an open office plan, while still ensuring that you and your officemates have privacy and quiet when it is needed.

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Real Estate Technology

3D printed homes are now gaining traction outside of the US and China

(TECHNOLOGY) Other countries are now using 3d printing to build homes to underscore their infrastructure. This shows the viability of the technology!

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3D printing

Recently, we reported that Lennar was using 3D printing to build homes in Austin. In 2014, the BBC reported that China was printing up to 10 homes a day at the low cost of $5000 per home. This trend is making strides in the real estate market, even though there’s still a long way to go. In a move that should give the industry confidence in 3D printing, Indonesia’s Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Ministry announced that they are using concrete 3D printing to build homes in rural areas. Eventually, plans are in the works to construct schools.

Using 3D printing to build an infrastructure

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country. As with most countries, housing expenses are climbing in both urban and rural areas. According to Habitat for Humanity, 11.3% of the population lives below the poverty line. For comparison, in September, the U.S. Census Bureau released information that the U.S poverty rate increased to 11.4%, one percentage point over the same time in 2020. Affordable housing is a problem in Indonesia.

“This technology really helps us, so we can build faster, more accurately, and with precision,’ explains Kusumastuti, Indonesia’s Director General of Human Settlements.” The PUPR reports that 3D printing reduces waste and improves construction quality. Considering that up to 70% of housing is built by individuals, not private developers or the government, using 3D printing under the PUPR Ministry is an upgrade in a country that deals with many types of economic disasters, due to its climate.

3D printing’s potential for real estate

As 3D printing is used in more construction projects, not only in the U.S. and China, it’s hoped that the real estate industry embraces the technology. Indonesia isn’t the only country that is trying out 3D printing. 14Trees constructed a school in Malawi using this method already, with the project taking around 18 hours. The company is undertaking more projects in Africa using this technology and more companies are building houses using 3D printing in the United States. It will be exciting to watch how this plays out in the various markets.

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Real Estate Technology

Why everyone and their mother own spy machines (aka smart speakers)

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) Regardless of privacy issues with them, what does information about smart speakers, ownership, and usage tell us about future trends?

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smart speakers scare me

I don’t trust smart speakers, but even I can (begrudgingly) admit why they might be convenient. With just a simple wake word, I would be able to do anything from inquire about the weather or turn down my own music from across the room. And the thing is, plenty of people have bought into this sort of sales pitch. In fact, the worldwide revenue of smart speakers more than doubled between 2017 and 2018. And it’s projected that by 2022, the total revenue from smart speakers will reach almost $30 billion.

With over 25% of adults in the United States owning at least one smart speaker, it’s worth figuring out how we’re using this new tech…and how it could be used against us.

First things first: Despite the horror stories we hear about voice-command shopping – like when a pet parrot figured out how to make purchases on Alexa – people aren’t really using their smart speakers to buy things. In fact, in the list of top ten uses for a smart speaker, making a purchase is at the bottom.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief, though, it’s worth knowing where advertisements might crop up in more subtle places.

Sure, people aren’t using their smart speakers to make many purchases, but they’re still using the speakers for other things – primarily asking questions and getting updates on things like weather and traffic. And I get it, why scroll through the internet looking for an answer that Alexa might be able to pull up for you instantly?

That said, it also provides marketers with a great opportunity to advertise to you in a way that feels conversational. Imagine asking about a wait time for a popular restaurant. If the wait is too long, it creates the perfect opportunity for Alexa to suggest UberEats as an alternative (promotion paid for by UberEats, of course).

Don’t get me wrong, this is already happening when you search Google on your phone or computer. Search for a tire company, for instance, and the competitors are sure to appear in your results. But as more and more consumers start turning their attention to smart speakers, it’s worth being aware that they won’t be the only ones.

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