Michael Beckerman ReWyre

The Proptech Interview Series - Featuring Michael Beckerman

Innovation surrounds Michael Beckerman

In our brand new interview series, we endeavor to speak with senior principals across the real estate and technology industries, about innovation and the procurement of technology. 

This time, our COO Rasheq Zarif sat down with Michael Beckerman, CEO of CREtech, the largest event, consulting and content platform in the commercial real estate tech sector as well as CREtech Climate, a new platform devoted to decarbonizing the built world.

Rasheq: Hi Michael, with over 130,000 members, CRETech is now synonymous with innovation in the built world. But what first gave you the idea to launch CRETech?

MB: As someone who has spent their entire career in commercial real estate, when I was looking for the next “blank canvas” on my own business journey it was really apparent that there was no real tech sector within the industry. And so I said, “why not me?” and I was on my way building CREtech. The idea was a simple one… How do we build a tech ecosystem in the world’s largest asset class? The challenge was an enormous one though as no other industry was historically so underinvested in innovation and R&D. Fast forward to today with 10,000 startups, billions being invested annually from VC’s and more talent focused on tech within the real estate sector than ever before, we as an industry have made great progress!

Rasheq: More recently you've established CRETech Climate. Why?

MB: It is startling to most when they learn that the real estate industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other industry. Incredibly, 40% of all carbon emissions come from the built environment (29% from operating carbon and 11% from embodied carbon). When I discovered this alarming fact I once again found myself at a critical moment in my career where I asked, “why not me?”

Knowing we had a big audience at CREtech, I knew I had to use our global reach to make real change in getting the real estate industry to embrace decarbonization. The climate crisis possesses the single most greatest threat, and opportunity, to ever face the real estate industry and our mission at CREtech Climate is to help educate, inspire and drive investment in climate tech solutions within the built environment.

Rasheq: What's going to persuade the real estate industry to take carbon reduction targets seriously: regulations, financial returns or peer pressure? Or is it a case of all three?

MB: All three. What won’t work is shaming the industry. We must collectively understand that it’s simply not the case of blaming the real estate sector for its outsized role in the climate crisis. It’s both an issue of education but also in many instances tenants/occupiers control a lot of the building decisions as it relates to climate. Today however, with the government playing an active role in penalizing real estate owners for carbon emissions, lenders/underwriters increasingly penalizing owners of brown/dirty buildings that are also exposed to climate risk and tenants/occupiers demanding green spaces, the industry really has no choice but to embrace decarbonization strategies. The good news however is that green buildings command higher rents and sale prices and there are indeed so many climate tech solutions available in the marketplace. We just need the industry to realize all of this and act with a greater sense of urgency. 

We’d like to thank Michael for taking the time to speak with us. ReWyre is focused on proptech sustainable proptech innovation to help building owners comply Local Law 97 and reduce their buildings carbon footprint. Stay tuned, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more interviews and updates!