Leveraging the potential of digital technologies

Digital technologies offer exciting potential for developing more efficient processes and new business models. Union Investment is working at multiple levels along the entire value chain to seize the opportunities around digital technologies. Partnerships with innovative startups play a central role in this strategy.

Engaging proactively with the digital world

Activities range from automated business processes to smart analytics
Union Investment is driving forward digitisation across various areas, including automating business processes, digital real estate valuation, virtual reality and smart analytics. External data sources offer many different options for carrying out sentiment analysis. Properties with heavy footfall, for example, such as shopping centres and hotels, attract a host of comments and ratings from the public, thus creating a picture of the prevailing mood towards individual properties. This data can be collated and analysed.
To best exploit the huge potential for optimisation and extension of its business model, Union Investment has teamed up with the German Tech Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC). GTEC is Europe’s first private campus for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. It connects an international network of companies, universities and startups with the public.
Jörn Stobbe
“We want to inspire innovative startups worldwide to showcase their new ideas and business models to us.”

Jörn Stobbe, COO and Member of the Management Board, Union Investment Real Estate GmbH

Working with innovative startups

The most enduring solutions are created by combining the creativity and courage of young entrepreneurs with the capital, experience and accumulated data of established market players. Accordingly, Union Investment is interested in working with innovative startups from the real estate sector and offers a variety of different platforms to realise this.

We have developed a special forum in the shape of the PropTech Innovation Award, the first international competition for the proptech community. The primary goal of this joint initiative between Union Investment and GTEC is to promote innovative ideas and business models, thereby helping to drive change in the real estate sector.

In its inaugural year, the PropTech Innovation Award attracted entries from over 200 startups across 46 countries worldwide, with business ideas covering the entire property market value chain and all relevant use types. On 17 May, the nine best startups pitched their ideas live in front of 200 guests and an expert jury. In addition to prize money totalling EUR 35,000, the winners can look forward to a place in the GTEC Campus Lab.

The application phase for the PropTech Innovation Award 2018 starts in the autumn, with attractive prize money and individual support programmes again on offer. Pre-registration is possible by contacting fabian.hellbusch@union-investment.de.

New business ideas for retail

Neue Geschäftsideen Holymesh

Union Investment and Sonae Sierra collaborated on the First Store competition to support innovative store-ready concepts by providing winners with premium shop space in Berlin's ALEXA shopping centre to try out exciting new ideas.
In the Best Newcomer category, the competition focuses on startups not yet established in the market, who are looking to open their first shop. The winner of the first worldwide retail competition, HOLYMESH from Cologne, will implement its business concept in ALEXA in the autumn. HOLYMESH’s new and first offline store, the HOLYMESH Millennial Store, will combine online and offline to bring its own-brand clothes and accessories collections by German social media stars to life, making them physically accessible to their fans.

Digital real estate valuation

The restructuring of Union Investment's property valuation process highlights the opportunities offered by digital Technologies.

The context here is that real estate investment managers and fund managers are typically required to have their properties assessed four times a year. In addition, on the given valuation date every property needs to be valued separately by two independent experts. With over 350 properties, this equates to 2,500 inspections a year for which experts need to be assigned, supported and the results checked. The volume of data involved rose almost 13-fold between 2012 and 2016.

Using a software solution, the workflows connecting the valuers and Union Investment’s in-house staff have been digitised and simplified. The software supports the external experts when creating valuations and makes carrying out the necessary plausibility checks on the documents much easier for Union Investment.

The key feature is that all the data the external experts need in order to carry out a property valuation is brought together in a single system, and a digital workflow activated.

In addition, master data and lease data from SAP can be prepared ready for valuation using the ImmoWert evaluation tool. The digital process reduces the workload by around 60 per cent.


Digital building information modelling (BIM) systems have the potential to revolutionise the development and management of office properties. Working on a pilot project with Savills Netherlands, Union Investment was able to gain initial experience of the ARCHIBUS information management system.


Asset Management Office

Shopping centres shape the life of a city. They therefore attract a host of comments and ratings, thus creating a picture of the prevailing mood towards individual properties and entire regions. This data can be collated and evaluated as part of sentiment Analysis.

Asset Management Retail

Shaping digital transformation

Digitisation means change. The courage to challenge established business processes and the curiosity to find more efficient solutions are the most important prerequisites for shaping this change. The best way to achieve transformation is to work shoulder to shoulder with all staff members, supported by a strong digitisation team in the real estate Segment.

Team Digitalisierung
Union Investment: A strong commitment to digitisation

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Recent places&spaces article on digitisation

More and more young companies with digital business models are aiming to shake up the real estate sector. Established market players need to respond, but how? One solution is to form alliances that leave the young companies plenty of freedom.


Jens Wilhelm, Vorstandsmitglied

Working together to establish new standards

Jens Wilhelm, a member of the Management Board of Union Asset Management Holding AG, is eager to seize the opportunities of digitisation. In this interview, he explains why the real estate segment has a special role to play here.