There can be little doubt that today the proptech industry is a male dominated sector. To bring you something a little bit different we've teamed up with the team at PRODA to bring you the perspective of some powerful women in the industry.
This week Manisha Veja spoke to Prachi Chandrakant, Business Analyst at PRODA, about diversification of the workforce in proptch companies as well as her experience in the industry and her advice for women considering moving their careers into proptech.
MV: How did you get into data analysis, and in particular, data analysis for the PropTech industry?
PC: After university, I was looking for jobs when I came across PRODA. PRODA were working on something new and innovative and naturally, with my background in innovation and entrepreneurship at university, it was something that I immediately wanted to be a part of.
The use of machine learning and AI for the real estate industry was something very new and I was intrigued with how it hadn’t been done before, in this manner. I joined a little late in the process but just before we had a final product, and I have been at PRODA ever since, which is just over a year now. I feel really lucky to have come in during these early stages.
MV: What does a typical work-day look like for you?
PC: So, a typical work-day for me would include me going through client workbooks, to identify key patterns or common logics amongst their data and then trying to write up a standardised form of logic for all of them.
I would also work on search optimisation of variables; which enhances our machine learning predictions, adding validation checks to ensure data consistency, working alongside the rest of my team to come up with ways in which we can simplify and capture more data points from workbooks to grow PRODA’s data model. Ultimately, the team and I spend a large part of our days working on different ways to enhance PRODA for our users.
MV: What was your personal perception about women in the PropTech industry, before you joined PRODA?
PC: To be honest, I hadn’t heard of the word PropTech until I read about PRODA. FinTech is very well known and explored, but PropTech is still fairly new. So, it would be safe to say that I didn’t have any pre-conceived notions or stereotyped ideas about the industry. I saw it as a fresh and growing industry for me to be a part of.
MV: What are some trends that you have noticed during your time working with data?
PC: One thing that I have noticed is that in the real estate industry, previously, there seemed to be more people putting in their time to manually assess their property data and processes. There were hours and hours being spent on analysing this data and trying to gain some insights from it. However, recently there is shift with more companies moving towards adopting suitable tech infrastructures for streamlining these processes.
Many companies nowadays even have their own innovation centres, dedicated to finding out how to simplify and extract maximum value with the use of technology, rather than by manual methods. Organisations are now more adaptive and willing to explore new avenues. With larger data sets increasingly being used, it has become more difficult to manage this with existing systems and processes. This is why organisations are turning to tech solutions offering quicker, accurate and consistent outputs.
MV: What excites you the most when you think of the new future of PropTech that we are heading towards?
PC: As mentioned before, the industry at the moment, relies a lot on costly manual work and a single error from this, could lead to misguided investments. I think with the use of advanced analytical and data mapping tools to manage investments, organisations will be able to form more informed and data-driven decisions.
You also often hear something along the lines of: ‘the sales cycle in the real estate industry is really long’. This is likely to change tremendously, with data being collected, analysed and tracked at a faster rate and on a real time basis. This could make the sales cycle seamless and help save money and precious time. This is definitely exciting!
MV: What is the best feedback you have ever received from a PRODA user?
PC: One of the best things that I have heard back from a user is how PRODA has made things really easy for them. He told us that they had a months’ time to process a rent roll, however by using PRODA he was able to do this in just 10 minutes!
It was amazing to hear that we helped him cut down the time taken to process this rent roll, and provided useful insights into the data.
MV: What do you enjoy most about working at PRODA?
PC: What I enjoy the most is that everyday is a new challenge, you will never find yourself working on the same things again and again. I get to really dive into the data, and find things out myself rather than just being given a piece of task to work on.
I would say working on standardisation logics and managing the rules is my favourite part.
Therefore, we need to do more to break down this barrier and challenge beliefs. Another possible way to tackle this issue is for those that are asked to be on panels to nominate and encourage a female from the industry, or a colleague, to take their place.
MV: Finally, what advice would you give to any young women or women in general who may be considering a career in PropTech, but feel there may be a barrier due to preconceived notions regarding gender?
PC: I don’t think there is anything which cannot be done by women. Every opportunity must be seized. I have personally never felt a gap between me and my male colleagues at PRODA. The environment has always been very supportive and there is always encouragement and motivation to keep learning & advancing our knowledge. So, it’s definitely important for company’s to create a supportive environment for women, but also my advice to women would be to just go for it!