3 New Tech Startups Aiming To Simplify CRE Workflows
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More real estate firms are embracing tech as a way to streamline their workflows and implement best practices. And real estate vets are making the jump to starting their own tech startups, seeing voids they can fill in the industry.
Truss co-founder Bobby Goodman was born into real estate. His father founded Mark Goodman & Associates, which built 550 West Jackson, and Goodman worked as a leasing broker and tenant rep for 15 years at Colliers, JLL and at his father's firm. Goodman discovered working with smaller tenants took up as much time as dealing with larger tenants. Because the commissions from smaller tenant leases are not as attractive as those earned from larger tenants, the small firms seeking office space are either ignored or brokers fall into a "smaller tenant trap" and find it hard to pay the bills.
Goodman founded Truss to serve as a middleman. The platform launched last month to provide tenants seeking office space of 10k SF or less with an online, interactive experience, showing the available space for their needs and meaningful information on the listing side to make an informed decision. Goodman said 85% of the CBD's available office inventory under 10k SF is listed on Truss, with major league owners like Zeller Realty Group, GlenStar Properties, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and Transwestern adding listings by the day.
Zeller Realty chief operating officer Bob Six said he was attracted to Truss in part because of Goodman, and because he understands the frustrations in the marketplace leasing smaller office space. Six said Zeller has always been a "thought leader" when it comes to embracing technology that will maximize efficiency. The leasing industry has changed over time, with an emphasis on spec suite build-outs that require spending money up front. Truss provides Zeller with an opportunity to create value by using its platform to get to prospective end users faster.
CartoFront co-founder Nathan Glaisner said this mapping tool was created as a way for commercial and residential real estate professionals to generate leads. It uses maps loaded to the parcel level with up-to-date data, including zoning, pre-foreclosures and foreclosures, deaths, property transfers, and even legislative issues that may affect a property like TOD designations and TIF districts.
Interra Realty managing partner Brad Feldman is an adopter of CartoFront. He said it has been a nice new addition to his lead generation tool kit and helped him generate multifamily and mixed-use leads in high-yield markets like Edgewater, Rogers Park and Logan Square.
Juniper Square co-founder Alex Robinson is a tech guy by trade, but he has also invested in real estate. What Robinson found was the firms putting together the deals he invested in consistently used Microsoft Excel to manage their capital stacks. Excel, Robinson said, is good for ad hoc analysis but not for a larger database.
Robinson, Yonas Fisseha and Adam Ginsburg launched Juniper Square as a cloud-based center for investors to streamline the capital markets process, from fundraising and compliance through tracking investor performance. Juniper Square was beta tested by 12 real estate investment managers, providing a tight feedback loop to improve the software in real time. To date, over 8,000 investors have used Juniper Square's software to access over $25B in deals. The user pool ranges from smaller real estate investors to big-time players like Beacon Capital, Randolph Street Realty Capital and Farpoint Development.
Robinson said Juniper Square is very beneficial for smaller firms, but larger firms will be attracted to the cost savings (much of it in licensing fees) of not needing multiple software platforms to track their deals.