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Interview: The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) sponsors a Hackathon for NYC Real Estate Tech Week

By Marcos Dinnerstein, Editor of Digital.NYC

Recently, I spoke with Ryan J. S. Baxter, V.P. at the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) to learn about the upcoming #REBNYTech Hackathon

on Oct. 13 - 15, the final weekend of New York City Real Estate Tech Week.

Tell me about REBNY and your role there.

REBNY is the oldest and largest real estate trade association in New York State.  We turned 121 years old this year, and we are privileged to serve over 17,000 real estate professionals in New York City.  That includes some of the world’s leading owners, managers, developers, brokers, salespeople, lawyers, appraisers, bankers, general contractors, and most recently, PropTech companies. We foster community and advocate on behalf to the RE industry within the five boroughs. We promote pro-growth, pro-development policies, working with the city, state and federal government while also fostering the operations of our members.

At REBNY, I focus on the New York City Council, sustainability and real estate technology.

DNYC - Can you elaborate on what examples of sustainability?

Some of the work over the last few years has been co-leading NYC’s 80x50 Technical Working Group, which sought a path to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases emissions by 2050. We partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to launch the Commercial Office and Tenant Carbon Challenge, an expansion of the City’s Carbon Challenge. We recruited 98% of the 58 million square feet of commercial office space that agreed to carbon reduction goals, making the NYC Carbon Challenge the largest and most diverse municipal carbon reduction program in the world.

At the state level, we have been intervening at the Public Service Commission for the past few years in order to improve the business case for Combined Heat and Power equipment (CHP) within New York City.  Our advocacy played a large role in the Governor’s decision to extend for ten years the NY State Brownfield Cleanup Program--the state’s 2nd largest grant program.

And at the federal level, we work closely with the Real Estate Roundtable. Our members helped pass the TenantStar legislation, and are presently working with the U.S. EPA to understand heating sub-metering and its effect on tenant behavior. 

What’s new by way of programs at REBNY?

Earlier this year, we launched the REBNYTech Committee. Its mission is to ensure New York City remains the leading edge of the global PropTech ecosystem. We’ve gathered the leading investors, CTO’s, CIO’s, COO’s, and principals within our membership on the premise of pursuing PropTech together. We are creating a pipeline that will help solve the industry’s largest needs through innovation and collaboration.

The REBNYTech Committee is chaired by Rudin Management and Fisher Brothers, and founding members hail from: Blackstone, Douglas Elliman, LeFrak, Millennium Properties, Milstein Properties, Newmark Knight Frank, Pan Am Equities, Related, RoseTech Ventures, Sidewalk Labs, Silver Mountain Investors, Silverstein Properties, Sterling Equities, and Warburg Realty.

As a result, the committee already features five of the world’s leading PropTech incubator and accelerator programs and will soon be a one-stop shop for new PropTech companies seeking feedback, funding, pilot sites, and access to the REBNY membership.

What incubator and accelerators in particular are participating?

REBNYTech Committee members power AREA, Fifth Wall, Grand Central Tech, MetaProp NYC, and SilverTech. 

Now - tell me about the coming Hackathon.

To provide value to REBNYTech Committee members, we put together the #REBNYTech Hackathon for New York City Real Estate Tech Week this October. The #REBNYTech Hackathon will serve the dual function of announcing the REBNYTech Committee to the world as well as helping our members recruit new talent. We’re partnered with 22 of the City’s leading universities, organizations, and institutions to broadcast this opportunity to over 60,000 tech-minded New Yorkers.

The REBNYTech Committee put up of $50K in cash and prizes to illustrate that they are open for business and interested in innovation. The #REBNYTech Hackathon will award $2,500 across 6 challenge categories during the weekend round—Friday, 10/13 to Sunday, 10/15.  The 6 winners of these categories will be given 3 months to refine their solutions in order to compete for another $35K in cash and prizes.

In this way, our members and able participants get initial exposure to each other and come early 2018 our members may have new, functional solutions to some of the most common problems observed in the industry.

So how can our readers learn more and participate.
Go to for more info and tickets!

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