EXCLUSIVE: Transcend Sells Brokerage Arm To SquareFoot
A New York-based, tech-oriented brokerage firm is entering the Metro Atlanta market through the acquisition of a 6-year-old office leasing firm headed by entrepreneur Patrick Braswell.
SquareFoot has acquired Transcend Commercial Real Estate Brokerage's commercial real estate brokerage arm for an undisclosed sum in a deal that closed last week, Bisnow has learned. The purchase gives SquareFoot a beachhead to expand farther into the Southeast after raising $16M in Series B funding more than a year ago.
“When he showed [SquareFoot's software platform] to me and I got to play around with it, it just blew me away,” Braswell said. “It's the superior platform to anything that I've seen or anything that I've created, which is hard for me to say, but it's true.”
Founded in 2011, SquareFoot is an office listing platform that combines proprietary technology with a team of brokers to bring the leasing process online. SquareFoot has already expanded and opened new offices in Nashville, Houston and Los Angeles this year, Wasserstrum said.
The firm, which caters to small and midsized tenants, has brokered more than 1,200 leases and has raised more than $29M since its inception. SquareFoot offers a range of services that allow users to search for listings, book tours, share documents with relevant parties involved in a deal, discuss lease negotiations, and sign and transact deals virtually.
“We invest more in technology than Transcend has in revenue. Small shops can't afford to invest in stuff that we can,” Wasserstrum said.
Transcend's model was similar to SquareFoot's, with its own proprietary tech platform that has assisted Transcend's brokers prospect for new clients and puts the office leasing process online for companies. Over the past year, Transcend helped Ware2Go lease 20K SF at Piedmont Center 14, Altium Packaging renew and expand to 60K SF at 2500 Windy Ridge and cloud consulting firm Search Discovery Inc. renew 10K SF at Atlantic Station.
The purchase to SquareFoot now splits Transcend: Its “low-voltage” division, which sells and installs building access control and security systems as well as internet and phone cable connections, will now operate as a separate company under Buie's direction. With the sale to SquareFoot, Miller has exited his interest in Transcend, Braswell said.
The transition to SquareFoot also consummates a relationship between Braswell and SquareFoot co-founder and CEO Jonathan Wasserstrum that started more than a decade ago, when Braswell was running the proptech firm Ten Eight, another company that aimed to digitize the commercial real estate leasing process. Braswell sold Ten Eight to RealNex in 2014.
Braswell got his start in the commercial real estate industry at Colliers in Atlanta and Scotland Wright & Associates. Wasserstrum said he and Braswell spoke often while both were growing their fledgling firms and consulted each other during their respective growth.
After raising its Series B round in 2019, SquareFoot focused on scaling its brokerage platform nationally, which led Wasserstrum to focus on adding offices in the Southeast.
“We were always comparing notes,” he said. “Through all this time, Patrick and I are talking, so I was like, 'Patrick, why don't you come here?'”
SquareFoot bought Transcend's six-member brokerage team, and it has named Braswell to head up all of its Southeastern markets and to help the firm expand farther in the region.
“I'm sticking with this,” Braswell said. "What they are building, and what they have built, is the future of where brokerage needs to be, and I want to be part of that long-term."
CORRECTION, JULY 28, 2:22 P.M. ET: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated that Houston was part of SquareFoot's Southeastern region. The story has been updated.