In The Silicon Tropic

By South Florida entrepreneurs, for South Florida entrepreneurs. All things tech in the sunny Silicon Tropic.

Meet: Evan Schapiro of PMG

EvanSchapiro (2)

If you’re a Miami startup that develops technology with applications for smart homes or the internet of things, you’ll want to read this. Learn about the future of real estate development, real estate software, and how your product can land a spot in one of PMG’s new developments [Echo Brickell, Echo Aventura, Muse, Vice, and we are all waiting to see what they’re going to do with 300 Biscayne]. Tagged by me, because I thought this would be good to throw in the mix, plus Evan is cool.

Who are you? “Evan Schapiro, from Baltimore.”

What is your job? They call me a lot of things. Junior developer, managing director. My ‘role’ is to perform all of the financial analysis and underwriting, analyzing whether a deal makes sense. But I’m involved in every aspect of the development. Planning sales centers, developing the website, marketing, and more.”

Tell us about PMG: We’re a developer that does everything from the acquisition of the site, to disposition such as selling off the condos, or creating a multi-family rental building. We design our buildings, construct them, and market them.”

You brand yourself as one of the most technologically conscious/advanced developers. Why do you think this is important? How can you develop a building and not have technology in it, when you know it plays such an integral role? We can’t develop a project that’s supposed to last a long time if it’s not future-proof. From a marketing standpoint, we are focused on the end user. We build for our buyers and we incorporate technology at the planning stage; it’s not an afterthought. We just want to make everyone’s life easy. As a firm with a lot of young people who grew up with tech, we know the value and it’s a requirement.”

Tell us about the technology you use in your buildings, including brands: We offer a comprehensive base package as a standard in every one of our units, which includes climate control, audio and video distribution throughout the entire space, the ability to control shades. The platform can be expanded to anything you want to do. This is through Savant, although we’ve previously used Control4. Our brand is a really natural fit with Savant, and they target the higher end. The packages we deliver really work, and they go through a great quality control process. People love that an Apple product just works, that’s the experience you get with PMG.”

Favorite tech feature in your developments: It’s hard because we go to CES and CEDIA and now we have a tech guy on board who has spent 20 years+ in the AV integration business. So, we have a lot. If I had to pick one, it would be our mirrored TVs that are completely invisible when they’re off.  It’s not an afterthought. Maybe transparent displays in the future. The truth is that our most sexy stuff is really in the sales center, as far as tech goes. You can put a tremendous amount of energy into one single experience that you can’t afford to do in every unit. Go to our Echo Brickell sales center, the apps we’ve designed to go with the video wall. They are well done.”

IOT product you wish existed: I wish that artificial intelligence could learn an individual’s behavioral patterns. An elevator being ready at your floor in the morning at the right time, which also could connect to the valet and your car would be ready.”

Give us an exclusive on one IOT feature at Vice: Vice is a rental development. If you rent a unit, you’re never going to go through the cost of installing a smart home system. But young people want these features, they appreciate this. We are seriously considering how we can integrate a Savant smart-home into every unit. We want our residents to be able to control their entire unit from a smartphone, from the temperature, to the blinds, to the audio and lighting.”

You’re a real estate developer of high-end condos in a city with a history of devastating bubbles, so inherently you take risks. You also personally invest in your projects. Would you invest in a startup? Why or why not? What type of startup? I invest in our projects because at my core, finance is what I think I’ve developed an expertise in over the past several years. I believe that I have a pretty good understanding of the economics of these deals and the associated risks. I’m confident that the huge upside of returns greatly outweighs the risk. If a startup’s idea is solving a real problem and the business model makes sense, I’d consider it. The potential returns would have to justify the risk, and the concept would have to be one that I find exciting.”

Real estate industry startups you are aware of: When we look to buy a piece of real estate, we need to figure out what we can build there. We have to look at the zoning, codes, and more. Now, there are a bunch of startups that will tell you what you can do with the land in about 5 seconds. We keep hearing about them, but we don’t do it. We’ve developed some great models, and even if these startups could do it, what is the revenue model? Do they expect a huge fee? Do we pay every time we use it? It’s never really clear. And nothing that have been suggested to us make sense. Data analysis of real estate is what seems natural. People need to get a lot more creative.”

Company in Miami you use that startups should know about: SapientNitro knows how to make technology useful, effective, engaging. They’ll actually try to hide technology as opposed to showcasing it.”

What lessons have you learned about competition in real estate that could apply to startups: There are a ton of similarities. Real estate, just like startups doesn’t require a team with special degrees or licenses. If you see an opportunity, you can go after it. PMG is a perfect example of that. Kevin [Maloney, Founder and CEO] is a seasoned real estate veteran. But PMG in Miami is run by a bunch of guys and girls in their late 20s and early 40s, in a game run by much older guys. We’re just seeing certain opportunities where we think a better product can be delivered, a better way of doing things. The way we do upgrades is better than the way other people do. The way we finish the units is better, the way our website works is better. We see problems and we’ve come up with solutions. Understanding what the competition is doing and where it’s heading is important, but look for problems in their plan and solve it; offer something better. And, stick to your gut.”

What do you think Miami needs for the startup community to flourish? We’re trying to solve one of the problems which is getting everyone into cities like Miami, giving them the living situation that they want at a place they can afford. Living at a cool, hip place at a location they can afford. To do this [at Vice], we made our units smaller, but with all the smart features. I also think we need better public transportation and more jobs for young professional.”

Advice to entrepreneurs: Continue to take risks, follow your gut, and wait for the upside.”

Best Business Lunch: We like Edge in the Four Seasons.”

Best Taco: The Taco Shack in Hollywood.”

Typical Sunday night for you: Watching Sunday night football with my very handsome dog.”

Tag an entrepreneur to be interviewed: “Ori Tmz.”

Got a cool technology that Evan could use for PMG developments? Send the information to eschapiro@propertymg.com

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2016 by in People and tagged , , , , , , .

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