Industry Innovation Through Purpose-Driven Company Building

George Carras, R-LABS’ Founder & CEO, reflects on his experience using innovation to create positive industry transformations and shares exciting news about the road ahead.

Twenty years ago, I was a young entrepreneur seeking to improve an industry. After my first RealNet board meeting, Andre Kuzmicki sat beside me and calmly said,

 “You’re not in business to only make a profit, but you need a profit to be in business.” 

At the time, I thought it was just one of those things that Andre would say, but those words have continued to have a profound impact on me and those of us in the R-LABS ecosystem who are committed to purpose-driven company building.

2020 was a year of true disruption, at a scale not seen in a generation – which forced all of us to choose our response. To those who chose innovation as their response last year: I want to thank you and let you know we are all further ahead because of it. 

With 2020 hindsight, we have strong proof that purpose-driven companies are providing much-needed innovation to the real estate industry. There is still much good work to be done in 2021, and I’m excited to share some great news here from R-LABS.

The Appreciation of Our Partner Companies in 2020

Our partners at R-Hauz and OneClose were great examples of industry innovation in 2020.

R-Hauz was co-founded with R-LABS to provide affordable housing supply within the City Planning Framework. We developed a digital twin of their six-storey townhome in the Lab and transformed it into a reality on Queen Street East in 2020. Despite the challenges of 2020, R-Hauz embraced innovation and set a new record in its first pilot. They completed the first six-storey mass timber structure in 6 weeks and the second building structure in only 5 weeks after applying their learnings. Later in the year, BDC Canada recognized R-Hauz’ trajectory with an investment to supply more innovative housing solutions that address the diverse needs of urban Canadians.

OneClose also successfully expanded its platform and partners to solve the problem of interim occupancy interest in new condominiums. In the spring of 2020, they were identified in an industry report to the government as a key liquidity and stimulus solution for new home buyers. OneClose concluded the year with a strategic investment from FCT – the leading national service provider in real estate technology and title insurance.

We’re fully behind our partners at R-Hauz and OneClose and continue to support their exciting growth journey. Their innovation in 2020 has given them much momentum for 2021.

Expanding Innovation and Opportunity in Real Estate in 2021

We also see several key problem areas in housing and commercial real estate where innovation is needed. In 2021, we’re expanding the R-LABS company building platform and creating opportunities for industry innovators and game-changing entrepreneurs to co-found great companies that solve major problems in real estate. Some of the key problems we’re focusing on include housing affordability, commercial real estate operations and business models, human health in built environments, urban flooding, and investible structures.

The R-Innovator Program will be available for those in the R-LABS ecosystem in 2021. We’ll make strategic investments in the individuals who choose to be Real Innovators in our Industry – equipping them with the innovation skills that are sadly lacking in real estate and supporting their personal and professional growth.

Discover Your Better Future in 2021

Will you be the learner or the lesson this year?  Is it more of the same or a time to change and grow? How can you use your time, apply your knowledge, grow your talents, collaborate with your network and make a positive impact? 

If you or someone you know is passionate about a problem in real estate, we’d love to support your growth. Both our EIR Program and R-Innovator Program are currently open to new participants and we hope you will join us in pushing our industry forward. Get involved by reaching out to Eryn Campbell, Head of People, for more information about our programs.

Remember: The events you face will never be what defines you. What will define you is how you respond to them.  For those of you who chose to respond with innovation, we want to be your partner.

Share this post