And challenging the value proposition of Big CRE firms

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For years now, PropTech, the catchy name given to Property Technology, has been innovating the Commercial Real Estate landscape, democratizing the information that was once held by a few brand name brokerage firms.

CoStar was one of the first. In less than 10 year, CoStar went from start-up to the dominant commercial Multiple Listing Service in every major city in the country – dare I say, monopoly. Why was that? Well, they offered a better user experience complete with a mobile app – which the competition, until then, hadn’t needed to supply.

Similarly, almost overnight Listing Agents were forced onto Institutional reporting platforms such as 42 Floors and View This Space as investors sought to streamline, digitize and gather real time information about the on-the-ground activity of their building

But who is looking out for the tenants and what they need? Who is providing data (via Prop Tech) to improve decision making for business owners? Here are three!

Site Selection

Placier.ai is one of our favorite Prop Tech firms to watch. This private equity backed startup, archives anonymized GPS cell phone data from app users across the U.S. to develop real estate insights.

Want to know the number of people walking or driving down a street? Got that. Want to know how long the average customer spends in a Target store? Yep. Want to know the top 5 places each guest frequents just before and just after their visit? Got that, too. Want to know the average customers psychographics, age, sex and annual income? Yes, yes and yes.

To use an analogy, retail site selection was at best a bit like throwing darts at a dart board, powered by 10 year old Census tract data, hearsay and a hunch. Powered with insights of this magnitude, retailer fortunes will flourish.

Financial Analysis

LeaseCalcs a California company, became and overnight sensation when it decoded real estate tax law and enhanced traditional cash-flow real estate comparison models with Balance Sheet and EBITDA impacts – making it possible for active investors to quickly optimize real estate to improve EBITDA. In a world, increasingly looking to growing enterprise value these new viewpoints offered by LeaseCalcs simplifies deal structuring.

CoLiving

Common a Manhattan based CoLiving Management company has recently completed a Series D funding request worth $50M to continuing facilitating its growth in the world of CoLiving as they look to provide housing to remote workers in a quickly changing real estate market.

Common’s secret weapon, is their platform and technology. Common markets directly to the end-user/renter and they continued to brand the experience of dealing with real estate through the use of a slick, easy to use Technology that seamlessly provides communications to the renter, facilitates financial transactions, manages access, work order processing, networking, etc. Moreover, unlike other “co” business models that guarantee rent they run their business on a traditional third party-management contract, collecting a percentage of the gross sales. This allowed them initially to survive the early days/months of the pandemic. Common’s next largest competitor, Quarters, who operated as a master-lessor, filed for bankruptcy in 2020, clearing the field for major growth for Common.

With insights as powerful as these, it should be considered malpractice in the commercial brokerage business to provide site selection counsel without these tools … yet you’d be surprised by who is not! REAL ESTATE LIFE HACK, make sure your broker is familiar these and other PropTech.

We want to hear from you, what PropTech has got you gitty with excitement for the future. Let us know! Send us an email or post a comment here!

​​‘til next time,

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​​Brian + Ben
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