Future of Real Estate Competition and Awards

On November 15th, undergraduate and graduate students from across the University of Michigan presented innovative solutions to challenges facing the real estate industry in the third annual Future of Real Estate: Innovation Challenge. The competition challenged students to research the real estate industry and create an innovative business solution. Six finalists from across campus competed for a piece of the $30,000 prize package.

Congratulations to our winners: the undergraduate team M-Vertex, presented by Lev Sklar (BBA), and the graduate team, KeyChain, presented by Vaibhav Mittal (MBA), Rohan Narang (MBA) and Nate Fisher (MBA/MURP).  Thank you as well to our judges, advisors, sponsors, and university partners. Your time and knowledge are so appreciated. Lastly, thank you to all those that participated in this year’s competition. It’s clear the University of Michigan community is eager to continue the legacy of shaping the future of the real estate industry.

Past Competitions

2023 Graduate Finalists

First Place: KeyChain 

Keychain is an all in one rental solution that  saves time, money, and headache through “universal” background check and common application process for rental apartments. Keychain supports the full renter lifecycle with robust tenant management capabilities to continue to save time and money year-round.

  • Vaibhav Mittal (MBA)
  • Rohan Narang (MBA)
  • Nate Fisher (MBA & MURP)

Second Place: CycleNest

CycleNest provides a user-friendly end-of-transport solution for workers seeking to commute using alternative means of transportation including cycling, running and other forms of micro-mobility, ultimately improving people’s lives through a seamless and sustainable commuting experience. 

  • Sophie Fitchett (MBA)

Third Place: ESG Real Invest 

ESG RealInvest is an innovative platform designed to revolutionize sustainable investing in real estate. By leveraging advanced AI and data analytics, it offers comprehensive insights into Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics, enabling informed, ethical, and profitable real estate investment decisions.

  • Shivam Singh (MBA)
  • Haggai Chomba (MBA)
  • Omer Sfadia (MBA)

2023 Undergraduate Finalists

First Place: M-Vertex

M-Vertex analyzes QAPs, scoring criteria, proximity data, municipality data and more to assist LIHTC developers with site selection. M-Vertex also helps developers identify various public incentives (net of LIHTC) that their projects may qualify for.

  • Lev Sklar (BBA)

Second Place: Prop Chain

PropChain utilizes a public ledger blockchain in order to transition the title transfer process from a manual to a blockchain system. Propchain seeks to create equity and opportunity for radical change in the title industry by promoting security, transaction ease, and public access.

  • Drew Collins  (BBA)

Third Place: GreenHome Insights 

GreenHome Insights is a company committed to pioneering innovative solutions that empower both real estate professionals and homebuyers to make well-informed decisions regarding the sustainability and utility costs of residential properties. Our mission is to equip real estate brokers with a robust database and a cutting-edge tool, enabling them to assess utility expenses and identify potential enhancements that can significantly diminish long-term utility costs while concurrently enhancing property value for future resale opportunities.

  • Daniel Lin (BBA)
  • Matthew Brown (BBA)
  • Xixi Jiang (BBA)
  • James Pan (BBA)

2023 Jury

  • Edi Demaj: Co-Founder, KODE Labs
  • Melissa Libner: Head of Growth, SmartProperty
  • Wonwoo Lee: Chief Real Estate Officer, Oxford Companies
  • Stefan Ott: Chief Digital Technology Officer, CBRE Investment Management
  • Bryan Pritchard: Founder and CEO, Tricap Residential

2022 Graduate Finalists

First Place: The Summit

  • Anthony Bui, MURP
  • Sophie Fitchett, MBA
  • Chelsea Gaylord, MPP
  • Gabe Wingert, MEng

Second Place: The Atrium

  • Marney Coleman, MBA/MS (Erb)
  • Valerie Crum, MBA/MS (Erb)

Third Place: Huron Trailside Apartments

  • Nikshith Reddy, MArch/RE Development Certificate

2022 Undergraduate Finalists

First Place: Neighborhood Ecology

  • Izzy Beshouri, BA, PitE
  • Van Nguyen, BSArch

Second Place: The Burr on Summit

  • Abdulrahman Ateya, BBA
  • Naman Gupta, BBA
  • Raiyaan Movania, BBA

Third Place: Summit Point Housing

  • Drew Collins, BBA

2022 Jury

  • Jubek Yongo-Bure: Founder and Principal, Jumi Consulting Group
  • Matt Grocoff: Principal, THRIVE Collaborative
  • John Petz: Director, Real Estate & Public Affairs, Domino’s Farms Corporation
  • Matthew Kowalski: City Planner, City of Ann Arbor
  • Lisa Sauve: Principal and Co-Founder, Synecdoche

2021 Finalists

First Place: The Future of Real Estate is Equitable 

  • Alexandra Mills
  • Caroline Lehman
  • Evalynn Rosado

Second Place: The Future of Accessory Dwelling Unit Financing

  • Lindsay Keare

Third Place: The Future of Real Estate is Cooperative

  • Maya Baker
  • Alex Van Kuiken

2021 Judges Panel

  • Bryan Boyer: Director of B.S. in Urban Technology, UM Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Brian Finerty: Chief Investment Officer, Equity International
  • Lily Gonzalez: Development Design Specialist, Cinnaire
  • Judith Grant Long, PhD: Associate Professor, Sport Management, Associate Professor, Urban Planning, and Director of the Center for Sports Venues & Real Estate Development, UM School of Kinesiology
  • Zachary Sheinberg: Founder and Managing Partner, Wind Raven, Intermittent Lecturer in Finance, UM Ross School of Business
  • Kelly Vickers: Chief Housing Development & Investment Officer, City of Detroit
  • Susan Wagner: VP of Global Workplace Services, KLA