NYC: Seattle Techie's Excel-ent App
Hightower CEO Brandon Weber just needed a break. After four and a half years working on Excel as a Microsoft employee and 18 months at Zillow, he dove into real estate at CBRE. He built a leasing practice of over 4M SF of Seattle listings and would have kept on, except he couldn't ignore the frustration of conducting business via Excel. The software developer in him felt a “gravitational pull” to come up with something better. Hence the mobile and cloud-based Hightower platform that went beta in October, drew in $2.2M in venture capital in December, and launched in January, when it also moved from Seattle to Manattan's SoHo. We snapped him with the saloon-style bell that helps the staff of 13 (five more work offsite) ring in new biz, and it must be clanging a lot because business is growing fast.
In true start-up fashion, the company's office is in a live/work-zoned building at 149 Grand St, where there's as much outdoor space as indoor. This quarter, Hightower signed on Two Trees, JLL launched a multi-city trial, and Beacon Capital onboarded its entire nationwide portfolio. The software platform enables landlords and brokers to track and update leasing progress from prospect through the tenant's lease term all on their smartphones or tablets. That means real-time updates and features you used to have to program into Excel yourself. It also does a building and portfolio analysis of factors like asking rates, time on market, and comps. The company already tracks more than 200 buildings in 34 markets. (Without Excel, how will we ever drive ourself to tears? Is Up still in theaters?)