K-fast; Sweden's most progressive municipal real estate company and community builder?
K-fast is Eskilstuna's leading real estate company with a large portfolio of apartments, business premises and business areas that include property management & construction services etc. K-fast has a clear focus on developing the region and attracting cutting-edge expertise. Perhaps is K-fast Sweden's most progressive municipal community builder? A community builder with the ambition to solve the challenges of the future. Through NRGIZE and a close collaboration with small fast-growing startups in the Proptech area, K-fast has a good starting point for succeeding with their impressive goals.
NRGIZE had the opportunity to meet up with Henrik Sjölund, Construction and Property Development Manager at Eskilstuna's municipalitys real estate company K-fast. We had a conversation about their strategic development work, views on startups and the role as a community builder. Henrik has been responsible for all new construction of homes and premises for the last three years and is also responsible for development issues within the organization. A job that gives him many different contact and perspectives in both the private and public sector.
Henrik work mainly in two areas. He works with the project department which manages all new constructions, construction service that performs the work for the municipality. He also works in the operations department which is responsible for all operation of the properties which includes water, heating, electricity ventilation and more. Henrik explains:
”We see ourselves as community builders where we are and will be a driving force in Eskilstuna and the surrounding area, it is important that we take the lead and dare to try new things and are always close to the development issues and the new technologies that come"
When it comes to the operations of the properties, there is a lot to take into account and great opportunities for different types of energy saving according to Henrik:
” When we look at new solutions, sustainability is always in focus. This applies to ecological, economic and social sustainability, and the fantastic thing is that many of these startup companies within proptech include these issues in their business model and in their core value”.
Henrik believes that it´s absolutely crucial for real estate and construction company today to keep updated on news in the market and on the technology side. By meeting and collaborating with startups you can achieve exactly this, he says.
” Through projects such as NRGIZE, we get the opportunity to meet startups with unique cutting-edge expertise in a number of areas that are relevant to K-fast. We have already had meetings with nine startups from the program and we have a sharp pilot project that we are currently carrying out with one of the startups. During spring 2021 we will follow up the first data from the pilot and it will be so exciting to see the results "
says Henrik Sjölund, K-fast.
Henrik believes that initiatives such as NRGIZE and others are needed as a complement to an otherwise relatively conservative industry. Through matchmaking with startups, the opportunity is given for large established real estate companies to test new things through pilots in smaller scale. Henrik is of the opinion that everyone involved benefits from this in the long run and that it is crucial for a city like Eskilstuna that this type of initiative is prioritized.
Henrik believes that these types of collaborations increases the attractiveness to the region and attracts more startups to carry out projects, business and eventually establish themselves in the region. Eskilstuna is growing with a soon-to-be university and the city needs to attract cutting-edge expertise and new companies, but also make our existing ones grow. Henrik continues:
” For us at K-fast, in addition to the possibility of pilot projects and collaborations, this also means in the long run an increased demand for new housing and premises when we together create more jobs. It will be a spin-off effect with increased wages, increased tax revenues and growth in society as a whole. Startups are needed and we want to be part of attracting the very best here”
Henrik concludes by emphasizing the importance of these types of initiatives in Eskilstuna, he sees it as crucial to be able to meet tomorrow's challenges.
”We need to increase the attractiveness of Eskilstuna and show our innovative power. It is here and together we can further strengthen it "