Interview with Giulio Pietrantonio
Giulio currently works at LMRE as a PropTech recruitment consultant with a focus on Southern Europe. LMRE brings together talented professionals and innovative Proptech companies globally He is interested in PropTech, Real Estate, Start-Ups and sustainability, wanting to expand his professional network by constantly acquiring new skills.
Take us through your journey from studying applied sciences and business management to entering the world of proptech. What brought you to work in the proptech sector?
As I arrived in London, I was looking for jobs in Accounting and Finance, as this was my previous background. After receiving a message on LinkedIn from my current manager, I decided to start the interview process for a Recruitment Consultant position at LMRE. The more I was talking to the interviewers in the company, the more they convinced me of the potential in this industry, in terms of how much can be improved and how many benefits it could bring (if only I think about sustainability, as RE is one big contributor to CO2 emissions). Particularly, as the movement is still at its early stages in Italy and Spain, and as LMRE’s intention was to make me responsible for the expansion in that region, I found it very interesting from a career development point of view too.
Tell us more about your time with KPMG as an auditor. Would you recommend it? Why?
During my internship at KPMG, I was in the Audit division. It was my first work experience and it taught me a lot. I’d recommend it as the learning process in such a well-established business is continuous and of the best quality. It is also, for sure, a good training ground for those who then want to shift industry.
How are you finding your role as PropTech Recruitment Consultant at LMRE? Which new skills have you developed from this role?
Being a PropTech Recruitment Consultant is a continuous challenge. You must advise and educate clients on a topic that is continuously evolving while proving that you can provide added value compared to standard and generalist recruitment agencies. For my part, having entered this world with no experience in recruitment or sales at all, I was surprised by the fact that some social skills are very useful, and there’s no school or past work experience that can teach them. As for the hard and soft skills I am still developing, I believe that staying informed on the latest industry topics, resilience and empathy play a big role in this job.
How do you prepare your candidates for in person interviews?
I ask for as much information as possible to the client to explain in the most detailed manner the whole process to my candidate. I would then send them some preparation material which includes techniques to answer questions during an interview and information about the company they’re interviewing for.
What factors do you consider when prospecting candidates in the recruitment process?
It’s crucial to have clear in your mind what’s a must and what’s a red flag for the client. But by knowing the market better than our clients, we can also source profiles that maybe they wouldn’t necessarily think of but still “fit the bill”.
I’ve seen that you are focused on Southern Europe. Can you highlight some of the proptech trends you have seen across this region in the past year? Are there any particular ones that stand out to you?
I believe that the Southern European market is a bit sceptical towards innovation in general, be it for economic or cultural reasons. Nevertheless, PropTech is thriving right now across the region and although there are a lot of small entities, usually with less than 30 employees, what we’re seeing recently is bigger players in the industry or corporate entities acquiring start-ups, to then expand their presence or join the industry. It was also interesting to see that Spain ranked second in the world after the U.S. for investment in PropTech firms in the 12-month period ending in June 2021, according to a study of the ESCP Business School.
Name 3 interesting Proptech solutions that you have recently come across and tell us about them.
I believe Deepki’s ESG solution is what most impressed me for its power to tackle the sustainability challenge within the Real Estate industry. Their last fundraising is a testament to their good work. Then I would mention Masteos, which makes it easier to invest in Real Estate and allows everyone to manage the whole process from an app on their phone. Finally, Witco’s property management/community engagement software is a solution that catches my eye from the early moment. It has great potential in terms of making neighbourhoods more liveable and better managed.
What are your thoughts about the importance of sustainability in the proptech sector? Do you think enough is being done to tackle this issue or could more measures be put into place?
I believe we are realising how important this aspect in the Real Estate industry is and how much of a contributor to CO2 emissions the Real Estate sector is. Although sustainable practices are now spreading across every industry, more could be done in terms of investments, in my opinion.
This is the most exciting time in the history of PropTech. There is so much capital flowing into the sector. Do you believe the market is overheated, or can this current pace be maintained?
If we speak about Southern Europe, this should only be the beginning.
What do you think are the most difficult challenges startups will face in the next year?
Funding is still an obstacle that start-ups in Southern Europe must overcome to survive and grow.
Any predictions for Proptech in 2022? And 2025?
Again, I think I could speak for my own region as PropTech dynamics are very different from one country to another. When it comes to Southern Europe, I’d say that in 2022 we’ll see start-ups with winning ideas consolidating their position or being acquired by bigger players. In 2025, we will hopefully see a transition from what we call Commercial or Residential Real Estate Innovation (such as platforms to make buying or selling processes more efficient and simpler) to a full suite of branches within PropTech (Contech, Sustainability, Asset management, etc…)