If you ran a small business that needed office space, how would you start your search? Typically you’d ask around to find a broker, talk to him/her, describe what you think you need, and then waste a few days going out looking at spaces with that broker, refining your criteria along the way. Undoubtedly, some of these properties wouldn't fit all your criteria, would be out of your price range or otherwise would be unappealing in unanticipated ways, and you wouldn't feel satisfied unless you were willing to invest a lot of time.
In an online and on-demand world, we don’t think that makes any sense at all. Fortunately, neither do Jonathan Wasserstrum, Aron Susman, and Justin Lee -- the founders of NYC-based commercial real estate search and brokerage site TheSquareFoot (TSF).
Last week, TSF announced that Primary Venture Partners led a $2.0 million seed investment in the company. We were joined by our friends down the block, RRE Ventures, David Pesikoff of Triangle Peak Partners, who was an early investor in leading consumer real estate site Trulia, and several heavyweights of the NYC CRE business, who joined as strategic angels. TSF is rapidly transforming the commercial leasing process, making the way tenants and owners connect and transact much more transparent, simpler and delightfully efficient. They have quickly become a leader in NYC and this investment will help them lock up our local market and begin a national expansion.
We met Jonathan, Aron and Justin more than a year ago when they were part of the ERA accelerator program and were impressed by their vision. We tracked their progress over the past year, convinced that they just might be the team to disrupt this enormous market. Watching the team execute, it has become clear that they are the right people for the challenge, and that they were thinking about it in a deeper and more effective way than anyone else. We reconnected in the Fall to begin more intensive discussions about partnering.
What got us excited about this team? In short, ‘Founder-Market Fit.’ The founders have exactly the sort of deep domain expertise that is necessary to tackle a vertical marketplace. This is not a group of former bankers and consultants who conceived of the concept in a business school class. These are real estate professionals who felt the pain and inefficiency of the industry, and ultimately were compelled to change it. They understand intimately how the market works and where the opportunities are.
Tech-enabled real estate brokerages like Redfin and Compass have achieved great success in residential real estate, but no one has cracked the commercial code - until now. We’re excited to partner with this experienced team to make a run at building the definitive, national source for commercial space.
Concurrent with this financing, we’re also excited to welcome longtime friend and former SquareSpace COO, Jesse Hertzberg, to the TSF Board of Directors. Jesse has real estate in his family history and early career roots, and at SquareSpace became an expert in marketing to the type of small businesses that will be at the core of the TSF customer base. He’s making a big difference already.
Read more at some of the press links below to learn more. And please direct any businesses you know who are looking for space in NYC to www.thesquarefoot.com!