STARTUPS DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR THE INDUSTRY
Commercial real estate’s (CRE) investment in technology has been lacking in recent years, according to a report by Coldwell Banker Commercial. Professionals believe the real estate industry is far behind other industries. In a National Real Estate Investor survey, 51% of CRE professionals stated there is a need for significant investment in technology because current funding is short relative to how much other industries spend on tech innovation. As a result, there has been an increasing need to develop new tools to benefit brokers and agents. A number of startups have been developed to fill the void in the CRE world. Here, we showcase just a few of these companies that have come up with novel ways to do real estate:
1. MotionLoft: Maps out traffic on/around a property in real time
MotionLoft is an application that measures pedestrian and vehicle counts by using a sensor. The sensor is usually attached on a building’s exterior, and obtains data in real time. An example of how to use the data is to obtain reliable traffic counts along a thoroughfare, which could be used to influence an investor’s decision to purchase a building or not. Another way the information can be used is for a building’s internal use of traffic flow patterns such as which parking entrances/exits are used the most, etc. Previously, traffic counts were dependent on local government statistics or they had to be manually counted. Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban is a primary investor in the company. It is currently available in Los Angeles and other key nationwide markets.
2. LeaseMatrix: Lease analysis
With the help of LeaseMatrix, CRE brokers, landlords and tenants are able to analyze lease proposals and compare lease comps. The application also enables brokers and investors to conveniently compare lease vs. buy scenarios during a meeting or just about anywhere with an internet connection. The app’s user-friendly format helps investors make the best financial decision. Because LeaseMatrix is cloud-based, content can be accessed from any computer or tablet. There is no need to bring a flash drive or to be constrained to one computer.
3. Hightower: Portfolio / pipeline management
Branded as the “industry’s most advanced leasing platform,” Hightower is another cloud-based CRE application for the computer and the iPad. It is useful to brokers for tracking proposals, tours and deal files. CRE owners will also find the program useful, as it allows for pipeline tracking, tenant management and marketing available space. Founded by a former commercial broker, the application was developed to change the lack of analytical tools available in the industry. The app has Aaron Levie, the CEO and Co-founder of Box (a cloud storage company), as an angel investor. Hightower recently completed a $6.5 million Series A round of funding.
hese are just a few of the companies that are being created to benefit CRE professionals. The need for new technologies, apps and programs is great in this industry, as upgrades have been lagging for quite some time. The three described above each fulfill a specific niche. Of course, many more exist and other startups will undoubtedly come along and fill the remaining empty holes in the CRE world.