ULI Boston/New England Blog

5 Questions with Shaw Lupton, Managing Consultant at CoStar Portfolio Strategy

Shaw Lupton is a Managing Consultant with CoStar Portfolio Strategy, a top advisor to financial institutions with holdings in commercial real estate. A ULI trailblazer, Lupton co-founded the Boston Real Estate Technology Council (RETC) alongside friend and colleague Sara Shank of Beacon Capital. Launched last year, the RETC is a multidisciplinary, collaborative network where real estate practitioners and technology providers can share, debate, and hone their ideas. Lupton is a double alumnus of Brandeis University, where he serves as an adjunct professor in the International Business School.

  1. What do you consider some of the more exciting developments in real estate technology?

I’ve spent my career helping institutional investors make better decisions, so I’m excited to work on solutions to the real estate analytics problem, whereby difficult-to-quantify market forces affect asset-level performance. Rising market transparency is leading to improved leasing, operations, and portfolio management decisions, resulting in smarter risk taking and better societal outcomes. As a futurist and a dreamer, I’m excited to see widespread adoption of nascent technologies like augmented reality and driverless cars, and ideas no one has thought of yet.

  1. What aspects of real estate have not kept up with developments in the tech world?

Many real estate investors are just waking up to the idea of competing on analytics, which has been widely employed in other fields for some time. A growing ecosystem of established and startup tech providers are responding to this need. Investors who embrace data will find they can gain an upper hand in many areas, including capital allocation, due diligence, and fundraising. To fully realize the benefits of analytics, investors need the discipline to continually incorporate data into major decisions. This is where having an objective third party at the table can really make a difference.

  1. What inspires you to keep educating future leaders in real estate?

Real estate is the single biggest asset class, and it literally shapes the way we live, yet students often lack the training and connections needed to break into the field. Industry insiders need to think about ways to lower the barriers to entry so that talent coming out of business, engineering, and related fields of study views real estate as a viable career option. This includes real estate education early in students’ academic careers, and the kind of outreach ULI exemplifies with its programming for students and young professionals.

  1. How has your role as an adjunct professor shaped your practice as a real estate professional?

The role of an educator is similar to that of a consultant: A successful interaction depends on asking the right questions, identifying knowledge gaps, and providing the perspective needed to bridge those gaps. Coming from consulting, applying the case teaching method felt natural. At the same time, teaching has helped me become a better consultant; I’ve learned that seemingly obvious questions can have surprising answers.

  1. Why are you a member of ULI?

Real estate people have many choices in the various trade organizations. I view ULI as the place for all kinds of professionals who love the built environment. As someone who works closely with institutional capital, I wanted interaction with investment professionals, but I also wanted to meet other kinds of people like academics, brokers, engineers, lawyers, and planners. ULI members come from diverse backgrounds, but they all share a passion for real estate, which is why the programming is so valuable – it’s rare to find so many informed perspectives in one room.


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