When your business reaches conglomerate levels, how do you know which direction or topics you should focus on for your growth efforts? Kathryn Scheckel, Managing Director, Head of Hines Global Ventures at real estate giant Hines, suggests a disciplined approach — with the flexibility to pivot. She recently joined Christian Lindener from Mach49, on stage at GCV Symposium in London to discuss making those hard decisions about what to venture, invest or partner in. 

Are We the Right Company for this Venture?

It’s a tough question, and it goes to the very heart of your growth strategy: what types of ventures should you invest in and build? Topics and themes are linked closely to your growth objectives, and the future you see for your business and industry. Hines leverages a decision tree or framework developed in-house to make these hard decisions. “At the heart of that framework is, ‘are we really the right company to build this particular venture? Or are there other players in the ecosystem, whereby it just makes more sense for us to partner with them?’ We think deeply about who's already at the table,” said Kathryn. 

Hines leverages its in-house subject matter experts to make better venturing decisions and take ventures further. “We consider the force multiplier that our Hines SMEs add to the ventures we're building or investing in. Experts across every product type in real estate can be found at Hines: Multi-family, Office, Retail, Construction, Technical, Operating, Compliance. That gives us a rounded, different point of view. It’s one of the advantages of being a large business,” said Kathryn. “We are so diversified; we’re in 395 cities and 30 countries, with a lot of different use cases and pain points to solve. That means we have a really broad spectrum of what to build, partner or invest in.” 

Climate and Sustainability is a Pro

Kathryn broke down the criteria that Hines uses to decide which venture opportunities to pursue: “We’ve been explicit that Hines doesn't have to be a customer of everything that we build, or the ventures that we invest in. However, whatever we build needs to leverage our core business– even better if it’s aligned to climate and sustainability.” In addition, EXP at Hines (the recently launched division that combines Hines Global Ventures and Global ESG team) is looking for challenges that other businesses face — not just Hines. Kathryn explained that they go after “challenges that no one has solved so far. We don’t want to shy away from problems.”

No Rebel Without A Cause

Hines is all about strong discipline when making decisions about their growth initiatives. Kathryn added, “So that we don't become a rebel without a cause or kill ideas when we pivot. The worst case for us would be to wake up in the next few years and realize, ‘wow, we've just invested a lot of time and resources into an area that may not be achieving the right product market fit or the right outcome.’”

Keen to know more? Learn more about the three fundamentals of building a venture factory to institutionalize growth.