EXCLUSIVE: Workframe Upgrade Allows Corporate Tenants To Manage A Portfolio Of Projects Across Multiple Locations
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Long gone are the days of using spreadsheets, email threads and a slew of physical documents to track and manage office properties, capital projects and large portfolios. With platforms like New York-based Workframe, a collaborative workflow optimization platform for large office occupiers, real estate professionals are able to manage project initiatives from a single platform.
The New York-based startup, founded in 2016 by co-founding trio Robert Moore, Andy Parsons and Matthew Smith, recently unveiled a platform upgrade that allows Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. to build out and manage not only individual office spaces, but also locations across their entire portfolios.
“These are primarily corporate tenants — so [a company] that has a real estate portfolio [of] physical office locations that can number 50 or more globally,” Workframe CEO Robert Moore told Bisnow. “Workframe is really a collaboration hub. We’re trying to take people out of inefficient channels of communication about these projects. The biggest incumbent we’re replacing is email, that’s what people use to have these conversations. That’s not a great system of record.”
Through its suite of services, Workframe users can track the progress on a number of projects, including office relocations, new build-outs, office revamps and maintenance requests. The platform also keeps track of critical documents, allowing all parties involved in an initiative — from leasing brokers and landlords to architects and workplace designers — to communicate from a central platform in hopes of minimizing errors, identifying risks and cutting down on cost overruns.
“It’s worth noting that we have a mobile app that also has some updates that makes it much easier [for clients] to use and increase its scope across portfolios. Quickly tap a button in our IOS app, indicating that something is in progress or [completed],” said Parsons, Workframe's chief technology officer.
Brokerage giant Newmark Knight Frank led Workframe’s latest funding round in May. The startup raised $9.5M in Series B funding, and Newmark has rolled out the tool across its service lines nationwide. Additional investors included MetaProp and Venrock.
“We're always seeking compelling technology solutions that can enhance our productivity and efficiency, and have never encountered a solution with as much potential to transform the industry as Workframe’s," Newmark Knight Frank CEO Barry Gosin said in a statement. "The Workframe platform will enable us to deliver better service to our clients by accelerating project timelines and simplifying the leasing process for tenants and landlords alike."
A Convoluted Environment
Commercial real estate brokerages are increasingly rallying behind software-as-a-service PropTech companies that make conducting day-to-day business for owners, operators, investors and builders more efficient.
“The entire category of workflow/deal flow/process automation is one that is increasingly gaining traction in CREtech as the overall CRE industry recognizes that improved communication and efficiency can be gained by adopting many of these new platforms,” CRETech.com founder and CEO Michael Beckerman said.
Dealpath, a deal flow platform that allows institutional investors and developers to evaluate and execute deals from one central hub, recently received a capital injection from JLL’s PropTech division, JLL Spark. The strategic investment in Dealpath, which has been used to support more than $500B in transaction volume, will help drive growth for the startup using JLL Spark’s experience, network and resources.
“Dealpath’s deal management platform is central in the evolution of real estate software services,” JLL Spark co-CEO Mihir Shah said. “We believe JLL clients, real estate investors and developers will see great benefits from using its proprietary technology and approach to data-driven and collaborative transaction management to improve the efficiency of evaluating, managing and completing real estate transactions.”
JLL Spark recently launched a $100M global PropTech venture fund to invest in burgeoning tech companies it believes will transform the commercial real estate industry.
Other commercial real estate project management and workflow solution tools for the built environment include Building Connected, a pre-construction tool for general contractors and landlords that allows users to bid, qualify vendors and track opportunities; Honest Buildings, a project management tool that helps owners and operators manage capital and construction projects; Juniper Square an investment management tool; and Building Engines, a cloud-based property management software provider.
Beckerman said the software-as-a-service space, much like the rest of the CRE tech environment, is growing a bit convoluted as new startups continue to hit the market that provide overlapping services.
“Again, as we are seeing in other parts of CREtech, a few winners will emerge and dominate the landscape,” Beckerman said. “The opportunity for many of those in this niche will also be to join forces with other complementary startups to attempt to build a single platform for multiple solutions under one centralized portal.”
The CRE landscape is crowded, Moore said, but he believes Workframe fulfills a distinct role in the market.
"The CRE tech landscape is pretty crowded and there are a lot of tools people use. Those tend to be really focused on a specific persona for a specific purpose — take construction management, for example. There’s a lot of construction management tools.
"We take a very different approach, which is trying to facilitate the way teams communicate with one another, both internally and externally to try to drive efficiency in the way these projects get done ... For the time being, in terms of workflow specifically centered around commercial real estate, I’d say we’re alone in that space. It's a good place to be."