Hanging Out The Shingle: Three Commercial Real Estate Startups

screenshot of the square foot.com

Market upturns such as we’re experiencing bring a greater number of entrepreneurial projects – it’s the free enterprise system’s most reliable behavior and probably its greatest feature.  Without entrepreneurs, markets and wealth would concentrate into an ever-smaller segment and stagnation would follow, as discovery of new ways of adding value would be postponed forever.

Commercial real estate is no exception.  Practitioners, tech folks and others split off from brokerage or services firms to seek their own fortune, widening the marketplace and leveraging what and who they know — and why and when they know it.   The ways in which this takes place changes over time, even if the motivations don’t.  Let’s take a look at three such new arrivals to the commercial property marketplace.

The Square Foot: Full-Service SMB Leasing 

Retail, industrial and office space searching can be a pain for prospects and reps.  Common listings allow for search criteria that only tell part of the story and leave too much room for barking up the wrong tree.  But helping prospects to see themselves as tenants in a property at the time of search is a technical innovation at The Square Foot.  One thing that’s eye-catching and time-saving  in this application is the way it translates square footage into “room for x or more people”, and does so at search time by implementing a slider.  This allows the prospect to mouse her way toward an business expansion target expressed in headcount — something out on the horizon, yet informing the search right now.  Smart application design.

Dallas’s Ridge Pointe: Big-Firm and Fund Manager Team Up To Serve The Underserved

All the commercial real estate search innovation in the world isn’t going to add any value to a retail or office deal unless experienced pros are there to shape the deal and to read the area’s economic opportunity.  That’s the thinking behind the new Dallas brokerage Ridge Pointe Commercial Real Estate.  founded by former UCR broker David English and Jeff Grinnan of Magnim, Corp:

The company will focus on retail and office projects and clients in eastern communities, including Rockwall, Rowlett, Forney, Terrell, Mesquite, Garland, Sunnyvale, Greenville, and Royce City. “We think there is an opportunity for a full-service, community-based commercial real estate firm that focuses on areas underserved by other firms,” English said.

He and Grinnan are longtime friends who both live in the Rockwall area, which gives them “unfair advantage,” English said: “We intimately know the market and understand it because we live in it. We want to add value to the area and do things that are beneficial to the community.”

42 Floors: Meeting Startup Office Needs In Technology’s Cradle

The San Francisco / Silicon Valley commercial property market is the nation’s startup business showcase.  Venture capital firms are channeling billions into finding the next big tech hit, and the office market is always reflective of that attention.

42 Floors focuses on the needs of the Bay Area startup business, but doesn’t stop at the floor space.  Using a very contemporary and elegant site design, 42 Floors puts together map searching with the “Showroom” – the place where the startup’s need for everything from whiteboards to onsite haircuts is only a click away.  This joining of searching for both space and for stuff to put in it is similar in concept to Rofo.com, but implemented less as a social application  and more as a very intuitive walk through the possible.  This is one commercial RE app that’s ideally matched to the psychology and patterns of creating a startup.



  • Jason Sandquist

    July 16, 2012

    CRE Tech Startups need to start paying attention to User Interface and Design. So many stale CRE products have such crappy design.

    • Raymond Pressley

      February 27, 2015

      42 Floors is starting to gain some traction against the outdated platforms currently controlling the online lease listings. Look for the same to happen with commercial sales in the near future.


Leave a Reply