The RESI convention opened their doors to their second hackathon this year on Wednesday 12th September, focusing on the problems facing Generation Rent and the build to rent sector. Over thirty participants were tasked to develop innovative solutions in less than 24 hours to present to a jury of industry experts.
The first day brought the participants together in the Celtic Manor in the lead up to the opening of the convention, to meet their future team members, and understand the challenge in more detail with the help of industry mentors.
Property experts Susan Freeman, Partner Mishcon de Reya, Georgina Pierson, Chief Operating Office, good2rent, Savannah De Savary CEO & Founder of Built-ID, and Alec McKenzie, Project Sales Director at LOFT, helped the teams deepen their understanding and share their insights on the challenges facing Generation Rent:
Improving the standards in servicing Generation Rent — make it easier and quicker to find the right property, speed up response time, more flexibility, increase options available to tenants.
Improving the rental conditions — increasing awareness of responsibility for rental conditions, increase the aspect of community and ammenities available.
Bridge the gap between public perception and the rental market — making renting “cool” and desirable, compared to the US and most of Europe, a vast majority of UK residents still see renting as a “stepping stone” to buying and prefer to push people to become home-owners. How to change this perception?
After getting to know the participants a bit better, the mentors gave valuable insights on these topics, guiding the hackers to discover the real challenges, in particular for the build to rent market. Questions from the floor and captivating conversation was to be a valuable foundation for the soon-to-be-formed teams.
The whole Hackathon party made their way to the RESI Trailblazers reception where they were able to exchange with more disruptive leaders in the industry and brainstorm ideas for digital solutions to pitch the next day.
The RESI Convention was officially opened by Property Week editor Liz Hamson, who highlighted this years’ theme of Debate, Diversity, Deliver. Guests were treated to an inspiring talk from Gareth Thomas, former Welsh Rugby Captain.
Day two began with some helpful hackathon tips to ensure the teams knew the winning hackathon formula, and what they would be judged on: Innovation, Commercial Viability, UI/UX Interface/Aesthetics, and the Quality of Prototype were the key factors they should work on to impress the judges.
Then it was time for the idea pitches refined after the previous day’s preparation. Anyone missing vital team players tried to recruit more UX Designers or Developers to help them with their digital solution. The mentors were joined by Sarah Quinn, Head of Residential Operations for Moda Living to hear the first round of idea pitches.
Teams were formed quickly and were led down to the hackathon space where they set up their workstations and began establishing their workflows and split the workload. Some teams were lucky enough to bring along their own scrum master!
Under the watchful eye of the BeMyApp staff, the teams soon dived into their tasks to create the digital prototypes or working solutions that they had ideated the night before.
The mentors took time out of their busy schedules, in between convention talks and panels to listen to the projects and give their expert feedback and ensure the teams weren’t going down a blind alley.
Teams had until 4pm to work solidly on their demos and their pitches and worked hard throughout the whole day. BeMyApp staff helped the teams practice their pitches and gave some feedback for the final tweaks, but time was running out!
It was soon time for the RESI hackathon Final Demos. This was the moment we’d all been waiting for! Seven teams took to the stage with only 3 minutes to dazzle the audience with their pitches, and 2 minutes to answer the Jury’s Questions. Conrad Davies, International Head of Real Estate at Osborne Clarke joined the panel with 6 industry experts in total to grill the teams on their solutions.
First up was VIBEZ — a hassle-free moving experience with this platform where residents can easily change their rental to match their ever-changing VIBEZ encouraging renter loyalty with community incentives — hold a meet up, get points — points lead to FREE rent.
BTR2RENT — a streamlined experience for those looking to benefit from the Build to Rent living experience; with search criteria tailored specifically to this market.
COOL PADS — a platform matching people with like-minded tenants to create a tight-knit community and improve the quality of living and tenant longevity.
LOKO — an app facilitating and rewarding tenant meetups by enabling people to host events and meet others living in the same building.
HEALTHY HOMES — citing building industry standards for rental property search platforms, that’s easily integrated to existing search platforms.
LIFE CYCLE — platform combining psychological and lifestyle profiling of prospective BTR tenants for community cohesion while giving tenants equity.
RESIDEN — app combining future-leading technologies with a traditional community-driven model, facilitating a multi-channel approach to delivering a swift resolution to maintenance issues via a virtually imaged environment.
The six jury members grilled the teams on the commercial viability of these ideas: would this possibly alienate other tenants? What would the long-term benefits be? How would this be funded? How would you market this product? Have you thought about the ethical implications? The teams tried their best to respond to the tricky questions in a professional and succinct manner in hope to win over the jury.
The jury then had the important task of selecting the hackathon winners, and took their deliberation very seriously, huddled away in the Jury room to talk over, the benefits and drawbacks for each project.
The hackathon participants were pleased the battle was almost over and could relax a bit more, and prepare themselves for the RESI Gala dinner! Looking very glamorous, the hackathon stars enjoyed the festivities which started with drinks on the balcony and then we were called (by a real town crier!) for dinner.
Johnny and Liz Hamson (Editor of Property Week) explained what took place in the hackathon, to the 750 RESI guests, and disclosed the winners:
Second place winners were Healthy Homes!
Huge congratulations to the 1st place winners of the RESI 2018 Hackathon: LIFECYCLE!
We enjoyed celebrating at the Gala dinner and party.
Congratulations to EVERYONE — you did so well and are all winners to have participated in such a productive event! #RESIhackathon
Check out our upcoming events at bemyapp.com/events.