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Proptechs are driving digitalisation of the property industry throughout Europe. These start-ups represent both a challenge and an opportunity for the established players in the sector and have long since been identified as potential cooperation partners by Aareon.

There are many reasons for digitalisation of the property industry, one of which is to connect the various process participants – because innovative holistic systems facilitate the exchange of information between companies’ customers, employees and business partners, as well as between items of technical equipment in buildings. The resulting gains in process efficiency, transparency and convenience in the dialogue between tenants or owners and employees translate to lower costs. What’s more, pioneering digital solutions are tackling social challenges, for instance those associated with demographic change, and addressing the needs of tenants and owners at all stages of their lives. Last, but not least, digital offerings are taken for granted by tenants and owners these days – when it comes to arranging tradesman appointments, invoicing heating costs or even finding information on local medical facilities.


The term, a composite word formed from “property” and “technology”, is derived from the similarly digital, agile and creative FinTechs operating in the financial sector.

Start-up companies known as PropTechs have been developing innovative solutions to meet these challenges for a number of years and are regarded as trailblazers with great potential for the future. However, as in many other industries, bright ideas are only one side of the coin – their implementation and integration in existing systems is another matter entirely. Here, established companies are often one step ahead: not only do they have the requisite capital, but they also boast comprehensive expertise and long-standing relationships of trust with customers and service partners alike. In short, partnerships are beneficial to both established companies and PropTechs – and ultimately advantageous to the customer too.

Aareon’s numerous partnerships in its core European markets enable the Company to explore this potential and expand Aareon Smart World on an ongoing basis by incorporating new, forward-looking solutions with added value. As a group with international reach, it benefits from various national digitalisation trends. The connected transfer of knowledge between the German parent company and its subsidiaries in France, the UK, Scandinavia and the Netherlands allows Aareon to keep abreast of digital developments in this highly dynamic environment.

Five spotlights provide an insight into Aareon’s national markets


Arash Houshmand,
division manager for Aareon AG's housing platform
Photo: Aareon AG, Mainz, Germany

“Germany’s PropTech scene is extremely dynamic: the number of start-ups increased by around 100 per cent between 2016 and 2017, however, it is currently declining. Start-up founders tackle all kinds of different topics, including the automation of letting processes, secure online access to confidential documents in data rooms and completely new financing solutions. Virtual reality (VR) is also becoming ever more important. We always aim to offer our customers the optimum solution, which includes its smooth integration into existing systems. This, in particular, is something that start-ups often can’t afford to do alone, which is why partnerships are so beneficial to all those involved. Not only do we monitor the PropTech scene with great interest, but we also specifically encourage founders: last year we got together with five other companies to launch the first German accelerator for the nurturing of innovative, digital business models with ties to the property industry. The Blackprint PropTech Booster is an independent platform with a unique concept for the German market that links founders with established players from the industry.”

Partners of Aareon in Germany:

  • KIWI: Electronic access system with digital portal for managing the access rights to all doors in a property portfolio. It increases the value of the property, improves security thanks to encrypted communications technology and cuts costs because employees gain access to the building faster and more easily.
  • Immomio: This new software digitalises and simplifies the letting process. Its automated qualification of all potential tenants helps to match landlords with the right tenants, thereby sparing agents and managers numerous time-consuming phone calls and e-mails.


Yves Le Meur,
CEO Aareon France
Photo: Studio Ridgway, Bièvres, France

“France is one of Europe’s biggest PropTech markets with participants in almost all aspects of the property industry’s value chain, including payment transactions, tenant placement and virtual and augmented reality. Building information modelling (BIM) is a real trend in France, where value is added in the context of predictive maintenance in particular. There is also much talk of artificial intelligence in regard to chat-bot technologies, natural language processing and pattern recognition for customer relationship management. Numerous start-ups are working on workforce mobilisation, smart buildings and B2B platforms too. The ultimate aim, however, is always to enhance process efficiency. The French housing association has created special structures designed to encourage start-ups and drive digitalisation in the social housing industry. The next challenge will be to develop new business models for the French property sector.”

Partners of Aareon in France:

  • Intent Technologies: Provider of Intent Platform, a comprehensive open platform for the entire property industry. The connection to Intent Platform gives the Mareon service portal in France and Aareon Smart World access to valuable additional tradesman, service provider and IoT data.
  • DPM Technologies: Enables predictive maintenance of networked lifts, heating systems and smart meters. Its connection provides a functional extension of the Mareon service portal in France as well as Aareon Smart World.
  • YesPark: The provider of a national network of underground car parks offers users of its digital service the option of searching for, renting and accessing parking spaces with just a few clicks. Aareon France integrates its customers’ ERP system and digital solutions in the YesPark platform.


Jeroen Kuiper,
CEO Aareon Netherlands
Photo: Aareon Nederland B.V., Emmen, Netherlands

“We have a broad range of customers, some of whom are extremely interested in PropTech solutions, while others are less so. However, when I talk to international colleagues, I have the impression that the digitalisation of administrative processes has progressed further in the Netherlands than elsewhere. The biggest challenge currently lies in establishing a standard for the digital exchange of information with the authorities monitoring social housing.
The general trend is towards comprehensive service platforms. Our customers want to serve their own customers efficiently and in a manner in keeping with the times. Social housing companies are listed in order of tenant satisfaction. In the commercial property sector, for instance, efforts are under way to limit the role of property management companies, replacing them with modern platform solutions.”

Partners of Aareon in the Netherlands:

  • ValidSign: Service for the validation of digital signatures. The solution can be integrated in numerous applications such as OpenText, SharePoint, Nintex, K2 and IBM Case Manager and complies with European standards. It has the benefit of optimising workflows considerably.
  • Mail2Pay: Platform designed to render communication between tenants in rent arrears and creditors more efficient, for example via WhatsApp messages and robotic calls. The added value lies in a considerable reduction in outstanding debts and the faster payment of arrears by tenants.

United Kingdom

Nigel Rees,
CEO Aareon UK
Photo: Aareon UK Ltd., Coventry, United Kingdom

“We have only recently seen a growing number of PropTechs and start-ups, many of which are working on solutions aimed at rendering administrative processes more efficient. The British property market is currently experiencing rapid price hikes, as a result of which many households can barely afford to pay rent or purchase property of their own. A large proportion of their earnings is spent on housing. This, in turn, puts pressure on social housing to cut costs with a view to keeping rents low and creating new living space. To date, social housing companies have tended to be reticent when it comes to digital solutions, but now they are enthusiastic about their savings potential: it is hoped that they will enhance administrative efficiency and improve communications with tenants by streamlining all internal and external processes as well as communication via social media, voice control and the like. The topic of demographic change also has a role to play here: in an ageing society, pioneering solutions are required to ensure that tenants can avail themselves of services appropriate to their stage of life.”

Partners of Aareon in the UK:

  • Aareon UK is happy to work with external partners to provide customers with added value. Although it has no current arrangements with PropTech providers, it is currently sounding out this fledgling market: a technology conference at which start-ups will present their solutions and put them to a vote of participants is due to take place this summer. Aareon UK will offer the “winner” the chance to explore the potential of a joint collaborative venture.


Niclas Oddsberg,
CEO Aareon Nordic
Photo: Aareon Sverige AB, Mölndal, Sweden

“There is extensive interest in PropTechs in the Nordic national markets, although the scene is only just beginning to take off. Even though established companies continue to drive digitalisation of the property industry, start-ups are joining in to contribute to value where there is friction to be resolved via digitalisation. Aareon Nordic has been very early in providing portals, apps and process automation solutions for the Nordic market for over 20 years. We are precisely monitoring the PropTech scene to identify potential partners, which could contribute to our ecosystem and further enrich our growing customer base. Like many sectors, the property industry is aiming to enhance customer benefit and internal efficiency by means of tenant-friendly offerings and process automation. We believe that the next step towards digitalisation for the property industry will consist of recognising data as the new natural resource. The front-runners of the industry will be those who are capable of conducting scientific evaluation of data pertaining to tenants’ behaviour using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.”

Partners of Aareon in the Nordic markets:

  • Metry: The service collects all a user’s energy consumption data from the suppliers’ databases or directly from connected meters automatically, making for potential savings. Users can select smart energy services via a digital marketplace with a view to optimising their energy consumption.