Real Estate Tech Entrepreneur: Bryan Chong from PocketBuildings
Who are you and what do you do?
Thanks for including me as part of this series. My name’s Bryan Chong and I’m the co-founder and CEO of PocketBuildings. PocketBuildings is a platform that allows commercial real estate professionals to develop, manage, and transact faster by organizing the extensive visual content for their portfolios
What problem does your product/service solve?
Not long ago, visual information for a building consisted of paper plans and photographs. Now there are AutoCAD files, drone videos, 360 photos, 3D models, virtual tours, time-lapse photography, not to mention the new technologies on the horizon.
When my co-founder, Greg Moulton, and I were working together at a Google spinoff, we saw CRE companies having real difficulties managing all this new visual information. Files were everywhere — with the architect, the property manager, the broker, the photographer, corporate drives, or in random Dropbox accounts. Even when the files could be located, the user often lacked the needed software to open them or the access links were expired. Hosting and sharing visual data is an ongoing problem for commercial real estate professionals, so we created PocketBuildings.
PocketBuildings is a user-friendly platform where CRE companies upload their visual content – floor plans, photos, videos – to create building profiles. We’ve eliminated the constant searching and emailing to track down information. Everything is stored in one easy-to-access location that is secure, visually appealing, and simple to share.
What are you most excited about right now?
It’s such an exciting time to be in real estate technology. I’m most excited about the iPhone 12 Pro. When Apple added lidar, it marked the beginning of reality capture for the masses. No longer do you need to be an engineer or architect to have access to the technology needed to digitize your building. There’s a growing trend of remotely performing tasks – like measurements, estimates, and due diligence – and the new iPhone capabilities will help accelerate digitally showcasing and visually sharing information about a property.
What’s next for you?
We’re very excited about the release of our mobile app next month. Afterward, we’re turning our attention to building customized tools that allow CRE professionals to quickly and easily perform their unique day-to-day tasks. When people see PocketBuildings for the first time, they often envision using it for a unique purpose. What someone in marketing might do with a building’s visual data is quite different from someone in asset management, property management, or design and construction. Our platform will be easily customizable to meet different users’ needs.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
I’ve always been passionate about building design and town planning. For the past 13 years, I’ve been a volunteer member of my town’s Design Review Board. The board serves the citizens of the community and through it I can “think globally, act locally” – a concept attributed to town planner and social activist Patrick Geddes. Long before governments began enforcing environmental laws, individuals were coming together as part of grassroots efforts to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them. It’s been immensely rewarding to be involved with town planning in my local community.