Q&A: The Future Of Predictive Analytics In CRE With VTS
It’s been a big year for commercial real estate’s fastest-growing technology company. From raising a record-breaking funding round to managing 3.3B SF, VTS is only just getting started. We sat down with the CEO of the leasing and portfolio management firm, Nick Romito (above), to discuss the company’s 2016 focus, what features big-name clients are asking for, and his newfound love for London.
Bisnow: 2016 has been big for VTS—you’ve raised $55M, doubled in head count and established yourselves in London. What would you say has been your primary focus?
Nick: Even with so much going on, everything we do is focused on one goal: building the single ecosystem that the CRE industry calls home. This year we’ve dedicated huge resources to developing the products and data integrations needed to make sure that VTS is the one central place for landlords and brokers to seamlessly manage the leasing process and drive portfolio performance.
Bisnow: VTS has been around for long enough to have a few long-term clients, including Blackstone, Boston Properties and JLL. How have you seen technology change the way your clients operate?
Nick: Faster decision-making is a big one. Historically, landlords and brokers have based their investment and leasing decisions largely on gut instinct—the real-time information just wasn’t available. Now, with data centralization, we’re seeing real-time trend information being used to support huge decisions—from brokers recommending that landlords change their leasing strategy, to landlords making multimillion-dollar acquisitions. Another major area is mobility. With smartphone and iPad apps, landlords and brokers are working on-the-go, which has increased information flow pretty drastically. All players are accessing critical information and using it to make decisions far more rapidly.
Bisnow: You’ve mentioned before that your customers play a big role in the development of your products and features. Is there anything you’ve heard clients ask for that really stands out?
Nick: We’ve really noticed a shift in the way our clients are thinking about data. A few years ago, the focus was on streamlining data collection. Now that they have the data, the big ask has been for features that help our users get a meaningful understanding of what that information means in aggregate and then put it to use. Based on that feedback, we’ve spent a lot of time bolstering our business intelligence offerings with a strong focus on data visualization. These tools help our users quickly comprehend leasing and portfolio information and make timely decisions that drive revenue, whether it be, for example, to lease a space faster or retain a tenant.
Bisnow: VTS expanded into London at the end of last year. What has the response been like?
Nick: We love the Brits! They’re definitely hungry for technology and have understood pretty quickly that a tool like VTS will help them make money and save time. We’ve worked closely with local experts to ensure the platform has the nuances and integrations necessary for the UK market, and I think this localization has shown that we’re committed to getting it right. The warm reception we’ve received so far tells me this has been a good approach!
Bisnow: What can we expect from VTS in 2017?
Nick: Definitely a continued focus on building the single ecosystem for landlords, asset managers and brokers, as well as the products and data integrations that drive it. We’re also really excited to continue expanding into new global markets (preferably ones with good surf). We’ve got big things coming down the pipe!
Nick will be speaking with real estate magnates Larry Silverstein and Tony Malkin at Bisnow’s national Office Leasing, Development and Investment Event on Nov. 9 in NYC. Sign up here.
To learn more about Bisnow partner VTS, click here.