Categories Narrative

The Rise of Real Estate Tech

Over the past couple years, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking, researching and writing about Commercial Real Estate Tech companies (don’t worry, I will not do another five day series this January.  Ha). 
Why? The second graph below says it all.   
Here are some highlights from the article:
–NYC and Silicon Valley are garnering the majority of startups, for valid reasons, the size of the NYC market, and the home of start ups, etc.
–The amount of venture capital money is less than 3% of the overall total of venture money raised.
–There is more to come as real estate is one of the last industries to be disrupted.
Thank you for all the valued feedback I get weekly.  I am continually reenergized by the emails I get and the additional comments readers provide.  I am more stoked by the business we are getting.



The Rise of Real Estate Tech

City Lab

By: Richard Florida
Date: September 11, 2014

First Article Photo

Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Zillow’s $3.5 billion acquisition of Trulia this summer signals the growing interpenetration of high tech and real estate. Cozy, a start-up that enables users to pay and collect rent, screen tenants, and streamline the rental housing application process online, raised $6.5 million in venture capital funding in the second quarter of 2014. New York-based Floored, which creates interactive 3-D graphics so that potential buyers and renters can explore spaces online, raised $6.4 million in the same period. And Honest Buildings, which bills itself as the “world’s leading connection engine for real estate projects,” raised $12.3 million.

In all, high tech real estate startups attracted $585.6 million in funding in 2013, according to a report from Ash Zandieh, CEO of the consulting companyRE:Tech.

The graph below, from the report, shows real estate tech start-up funding as well as total deals over the third quarter of 2012 through the second quarter of this year.



While investment in real estate tech accounted for less than two percent of the total $29.7 billion in venture capital investment in 2013, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ MoneyTree Report, it represents roughly as much venture capital investment as in sectors like computers and peripherals, financial services and telecommunications.

The average deal size for real estate tech start-ups grew by nearly 150 percent, from about $3.3 million in the second quarter of 2013 to $4.8 million, according to the RE:Tech study. (Zandieh says he and his company obtained their data by reaching out to partners in the industry). The vast majority of these deals—86 percent—were for early-stage startups, signaling that the industry is just beginning to heat up and attracting more venture capital investments.  

Zandieh predicts the investments will only increase; the real estate tech revolution, he says, is just getting started. “Right now, there’s a flood of investment because real estate has been a laggard in adopting technology,” he says. “At this point, [venture capital firms] are putting in capital to solve issues. Really, we’re at the beginning of it. [Investment] will reach its peak in five, 10 years.”

But another report, from commercial real estate data company CompStak, suggests that real estate tech innovation may have already peaked. According to the report, which is based on data on venture capital deals from AngelList, over 100 commercial and residential real estate companies launched in 2012, while fewer than 25 were established in 2014*.

Graph (2)(CompStak)

“We’ve been wracking our brains over [the commercial real estate numbers],” says Compstak’s Joe Leon. Still, he remains optimistic about the future of real estate tech. “If you think about how long it takes for a business to get going, it’s logical that we’re still in the earlier stages [of tech innovations],” he says. “There’s a lot left to come.”


The geography of real estate tech is even more telling. According to RE:Tech, it’s a tale of two cities, with more 36 percent of start-ups concentrated in New York and Silicon Valley, as the graph below shows.

Picture2 2(Re:Tech)

New York real estate tech start-ups have grown much more rapidly than those of Silicon Valley, increasing at a rate of 78 percent each year since 2012, compared to 18.2 percent for Silicon Valley. The Valley, however, continues to be home to much larger investments, with an average deal size of $4.1 million versus $2.2 million for NYC.

The rise of real estate tech is happening in New York and the Bay Area because the former is the epicenter of the real estate industry, the latter the epicenter of technology. Having a deep base of industry talent and advanced customers of lead users can be a crucial advantage to innovative enterprises, as MIT’s Eric von Hippel’s research has long shown. And New York has already zoomed to the top of the digital media industry and related industries because of its extensive talent and expertise in these fields. It will be interesting to see if New York can supplant Silicon Valley in this new field, or if the two can co-exist side by side.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that 100 commercial and residential real estate companies were funded in 2012 and 25 were funded 2014; in fact, these numbers reflect the number of such companies that launched in those years. 


Categories Narrative

10 Things to Know About Commercial Real Estate Appraisal

“Appraisal” is one topic that we spend very little time talking about, until you need to refinance or you are acquiring a new asset.  Below is a great summary article about appraisals.  Read it now, or store it away for when you need to recall what is important.  I have highlighted some key areas that have impacted me over the years as a buyer.
One key point is to know the three types of interests (highlighted in green below):
–Fee Simple Interest
–Leased Fee Interest
–Leasehold Interest

If you have any questions about the value of a building you own or are looking to buy give me a call.
Finally, we have all our past narratives on our website.  If you ever want to look back, you can simply go here: 




10 Things to Know About Commercial Real Estate Appraisal
A commercial real estate appraisal can be complicated-from knowing what to ask for as well as what to provide to the appraiser-here’s what you need to know.
By: Darren Dahl
Date: May 12, 2011


Small business owners have a lot to digest when it comes to the subject of commercial real estate—especially these days. That goes double for the notion of obtaining an appraisal on a piece of commercial real estate, a process that can differ quite a bit from appraisals done for residential properties. “Commercial is very different from residential in the fact that appraisals are much more subjective in nature,” says Scott Everett, founder and president of Supreme Lending, a mortgage lender in Dallas. “Much of the value derived from a commercial building is based on the rental rates received relative to the expenses paid out. The underlying asset is important, but not even close to the same way that a residential properties value assets.”

In other words, if you’re looking to get an appraisal done on a piece of commercial property—perhaps because you want to buy or sell it or even because you want to establish a value of a lease or lodge a property tax appeal—there could be a bit of a learning curve in knowing what you’re about to embark on. Inc. contributor Darren Dahl asked Douglas McKnight, a 22-year veteran commercial real estate appraiser and managing director at CapStruc Valuation in Malvern, Pennsylvania, for some insight into his profession. What follows is a list of the top 10 things McKnight says you need to know about commercial real estate appraisals:

1. The Inspection Is Only a Small Part of the Appraisal Process

Depending on the size and complexity of the property to be appraised, it might take less than an hour to several hours to inspect the property. Some clients perceive this as the entire process but the truth is that it is just the beginning. Appraisers research public ownership and zoning records, investigate demographic and lifestyle information, and compile comparable sales, replacement costs, and rentals. They then analyze this information as it relates to the value of the property. Finally, they write a report on their findings. The inspection is just the beginning of an appraisal process that may take several days or even weeks.

2. Don’t Try to Misrepresent the Facts

Appraisers are professional skeptics. They will seek to verify anything that you tell them from other sources. McKnight says he often ask questions that he already knows the answer to just to test the credibility of the people showing him the property. Appraisers are always thinking about how they will defend their opinions if they are ever brought to court, even in assignments in which litigation appears unlikely. If you misrepresent anything, the appraiser will discount the credibility of anything else that you say.

3. Don’t Withhold Information

You will probably be asked if you can provide a property tax bill, a set of drawings of the property, income statements, and other things. You might not know why an appraiser is asking you for something but it is best to provide whatever you can. Appraisers have no interest in unduly expanding their work files but they do need certain information and the more you provide, the more quickly they can complete the assignment. If you subsequently dispute the appraisers value opinions and produce additional information that wasn’t provided from the onset, you have wasted valuable time.

4. Appraisers Must Adhere to a Strict Code of Ethics

Appraisers must follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, which, among other things, requires them to provide an unbiased opinion. Failure to follow this might result in disciplinary action from the state, including revocation of an appraiser’s certification. If an appraiser refuses to do something that you ask for, it is probably because of the obligation to adhere to these ethics.

5. The Client Is the Party That Orders the Appraisal

If the appraisal is for financing, the lender is the client. Appraisers are obligated to maintain client confidentiality, so if you are the borrower or any other party, the appraiser cannot release the appraisal report or any other confidential information to you. If you order an appraisal as part of a property tax appeal and are afraid that the appraised value might be higher than the assessed value, you can rest assured that the appraiser won’t release the results to the property tax board without your permission.

6. Identify the Intended Users

Make sure the appraiser knows who you want to use the report. If you are looking to buy a property, that might mean you intend to share the appraisal with the seller, your lender (though they will likely obtain their own appraisal) and possibly your local property tax appeal board. These people or parties will be identified in the appraisal report and are the only ones who are authorized to use the report.

7. There Are Three Types of Preports

A “restricted use report” is the shortest and least expensive type but can only be used by the client. Fees can vary based on the size of the property as well as the scope of the appraisal, but a good starting point for a restricted report might be $2000 to $2,500. A “summary report” summarizes the data and analysis and can be used by any intended user and can cost upwards of $3,000. A “self-contained report” contains all of the details of the data and analysis, but is rarely requested. If you tell the appraiser how you intend to use the report, he or she can guide you as to what type of report you will need. 

8. The Type of Report Is Separate From the Scope of Work

The amount of work involved in reaching conclusions does not depend on the type of appraisal. With a restricted use or summary appraisal, the appraiser will compile large amounts of information that are retained in a work file but are not included in the report. For this reason, the differences in fees between the various types of reports are less than the amount of information contained in the reports might indicate.

9. Consider the Date of Valuation

Several years ago, McKnight appraised a nightclub. The weekend after he inspected the property, someone was shot in the club. This introduced stigma that reduced the value of the property. This indicates the importance of establishing the date of valuation. Appraisers can appraise property as of the date of inspection, as of a past date (a “retrospective appraisal”) or as of a future date (a “prospective appraisal”). It is important that you establish the correct date of valuation for your needs.

10. Consider the “Property Interest” Appraised

Last but far from least, it’s important to tell the appraiser what your interest in the property is. For example, if you want to know what a property is worth free and clear – such as a warehouse you want to move your business into – you are interested in what’s called the “fee simple interest.” In other words, you simply want to know the value of the building and its property. On the other hand, if you want to know what a property is worth to a landlord when occupied by a particular tenant or tenants, you want a “leased fee interest.” Finally, if you want to know what a lease is worth to a tenant, you want a “leasehold interest.” This is a common request when people look to buy businesses, as they need to know what the value of the lease is to that business. “Be sure to identify which property interest you want appraised,” says McKnight.


Categories Narrative

Ten Ways Big Data Is Revolutionizing Supply Chain Management

As an office broker, I am not usually asked about supply chain activities. Our industrial brokers, however, live it every day. There is a huge disruption happening in the supply chain. Below is some detailed (and slightly over my head) information on 10 ways big data (analyzing over 52 different sources) is disrupting the supply chain. More than 60% of supply chain executives believe these to be the MOST important technology changes that are happening. How is this changing space usage?

–Delivery optimization (4.24 times improvement in order-to-cycle delivery times)—might allow smaller inventory and warehouses.
–New knowledge sharing networks—might allow companies to create new alliances and share space or even transportation.
–New locations for your supply chain as you take a deeper dive into the data.

Every single part of every single business is being disrupted. We are living this every day. Give us a call if you want to see the future of your business and what it means for your office space.


Ten Ways Big Data Is Revolutionizing Supply Chain Management


By: Louis Columbus
July 12, 2015

Bottom line: Big data is providing supplier networks with greater data accuracy, clarity, and insights, leading to more contextual intelligence shared across supply chains.

Forward-thinking manufacturers are orchestrating 80% or more of their supplier network activity outside their four walls, using big data and cloud-based technologies to get beyond the constraints of legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems. For manufacturers whose business models are based on rapid product lifecycles and speed, legacy ERP systems are a bottleneck.  Designed for delivering order, shipment and transactional data, these systems aren’t capable of scaling to meet the challenges supply chains face today.
Choosing to compete on accuracy, speed and quality forces supplier networks to get to a level of contextual intelligence not possible with legacy ERP and SCM systems. While many companies today haven’t yet adopted big data into their supply chain operations, these ten factors taken together will be the catalyst that get many moving on their journey.

The ten ways big data is revolutionizing supply chain management include:



  • Enabling more complex supplier networks that focus on knowledge sharing and collaboration as the value-add over just completing transactions.  Big data is revolutionizing how supplier networks form, grow, proliferate into new markets and mature over time. Transactions aren’t the only goal, creating knowledge-sharing networks is, based on the insights gained from big data analytics. The following graphic from Business Ecosystems Come Of Age (Deloitte University Press) (free, no opt-in) illustrates the progression of supply chains from networks or webs, where knowledge sharing becomes a priority.


  • Big data and advanced analytics are being integrated into optimization tools, demand forecasting, integrated business planning and supplier collaboration & risk analytics at a quickening pace. These are the top four supply chain capabilities that Deloitte found are currently in use form their recent study, Supply Chain Talent of the Future Findings from the 3rd Annual Supply Chain Survey (free, no opt-in). Control tower analytics and visualization are also on the roadmaps of supply chain teams currently running big data pilots.


  • 64% of supply chain executives consider big data analytics a disruptive and important technology, setting the foundation for long-term change management in their organizations.  SCM World’s latest Chief Supply Chain Officer Report provides a prioritization of the most disruptive technologies for supply chains as defined by the organizations’ members.  The following graphic from the report provides insights into how senior supply chain executives are prioritizing big data analytics over other technologies.

figure 4

  • Using geoanalytics based on big data to merge and optimize delivery networks.  The Boston Consulting Group provides insights into how big data is being put to use in supply chain management in the article Making Big Data Work: Supply Chain Management (free, opt-in). One of the examples provided is how the merger of two delivery networks was orchestrated and optimized using geoanalytics. The following graphic is from the article. Combining geoanalytics and big data sets could drastically reduce cable TV tech wait times and driving up service accuracy, fixing one of the most well-known service challenges of companies in that business.




  • Greater contextual intelligence of how supply chain tactics, strategies and operations are influencing financial objectives.  Supply chain visibility often refers to being able to see multiple supplier layers deep into a supply network.  It’s been my experience that being able to track financial outcomes of supply chain decisions back to financial objectives is attainable, and with big data app integration to financial systems, very effective in industries with rapid inventory turns. Source: Turn Big Data Into Big Visibility.


  • Traceability and recalls are by nature data-intensive, making big data’s contribution potentially significant. Big data has the potential to provide improved traceability performance and reduce the thousands of hours lost just trying to access, integrate and manage product databases that provide data on where products are in the field needing to be recalled or retrofitted.


  • Increasing supplier quality from supplier audit to inbound inspection and final assembly with big data. IBM has developed a quality early-warning system that detects and then defines a prioritization framework that isolates quality problem faster than more traditional methods, including Statistical Process Control (SPC). The early-warning system is deployed upstream of suppliers and extends out to products in the field.







Categories Narrative

What DOES $1,500 buy you? – Very Different Apartment Comparisons Across the US and Around the World

Apartment development and rents have been the talk of this cycle’s development. I found a couple different examples of apartment comparisons:
First, a look at which states offer the most square footage across the US. In Detroit you can rent an 818 SF place for the same price you get for a 285 SF place in San Francisco. I heard a few stories of people renting couches in San Francisco this past summer (the couch with one shelf in the refrigerator makes for fine living for some).
Second, I found it fascinating what $1,500/month in rent would get you in living space all over the world. Buenos Aires and Moscow look like a bargain. Tokyo, not so much. I like the modern feel of the Mumbai apartment at 94,000 Indian Rupees.

We get the privilege of leasing office space all day every day. This includes national account transactions all over the country. From high end corporate offices, to really cool tech space, to back office/flex –you name it— we lease it. There is as much variety in our office space world as there is in different apartment projects all over the globe.
Enjoy…and call me if you need office space (not an apartment iPhone smiley face).



OIT - Aug 25_Page_4

This Is What $1,500 A Month In Rent Would Get You In Cities All Around The World
By: Rachael Krishna
July 20, 2015

London — £997 ($1,551)
London 1 London 2 London 3
1. Zoopla / Via
2. Zoopla / Via
3. Zoopla / Via

Location: High Street Kensington
∙ Studio flat with bed, kitchen, and toilet
∙ Super-nice entrance hall

Paris — 1,220 euros ($1,323)
Paris 1 2 Paris 2 Paris 3
1. Leboncoin / Via
2. Leboncoin / Via
3. Leboncoin / Via

Location: 13th arrondissement
∙ Forty square meters of space
∙ Kitchen, toilet, and shower room
∙ Listing advises that the property is “impossible” for sharers and probably best for a couple.

Berlin — 1,250 euros ($1,356)
Berlin 1 Berlin 2 Berlin 3
1. Craig’s List / Via
2. Craig’s List / Via
3. Craig’s List / Via

Location: Rosenthaler Platz
∙ One bedroom, one bathroom, “Altbau”-style loft apartment
∙ Look at all that space tho. <3

Kathmandu, Nepal — 150,000 Nepalese rupees ($1,474)
Nepal 1 Nepal 2 Nepal 3
1. apartment-kathmandu / Via
2. apartment-kathmandu / Via
3. apartment-kathmandu / Via

Location: Sunakothi, Lalitpur
∙ Four-bedroom, five-bathroom house
∙ Comes with separate servant quarters, landscaped garden, and swimming pool

Mumbai — 94,000 Indian rupees ($1,477)
Mumbai 1 Mumbai 2 Mumbai 3
1. Magic Bricks / Via
2. Magic Bricks / Via
3. Magic Bricks / Via

Location: Poonam Nagar 
∙ Three bedrooms, two bathrooms
∙ Perks include gym, swimming pool, jogging track, and clubhouse

New York City — $1,425
New York 1 New York 2 New York 3
1. Craig’s List /
2. Craig’s List /
3. Craig’s List /

Location: Prospect Park South, Brooklyn
∙ One-room apartment
∙ They’re totally cool with you having a dog in this tiny space.

Buenos Aires — 13,580 pesos ($1,488)
Buenos Aires 1 Buenos Aires 2 Buenos Aires 3
1. Airbnb / Via
2. Airbnb / Via
3. Airbnb / Via

Location: Palermo Hollywood
∙ One bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms
∙ Perks include a pool, a gym, and a walk-in wardrobe

Shanghai — 8,564 Chinese yuan ($1,380)
Shanghai 1 Shanghai 2 Shanghai 3
1. Airbnb / Via
2. Airbnb / Via
3. Airbnb / Via

Location: Xuhui district
∙ One bedroom, one bathroom
∙ Somewhere in this tiny flat there is apparently a Jacuzzi. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sydney — 485 Australian dollars a week ($357)
Sydney 1 Sydney 2 Sydney 3
1. Real Estate / Via
2. Real Estate / Via
3. Real Estate / Via

Location: Sydney’s central business district
∙ One bedroom, one bathroom
∙ You and your laundry can wash in the same room like a weird long-term couple.

Moscow — 85,000 rubles ($1,491)
Moscow 1 Moscow 2 Moscow 3
1. Cian / Via
2. Cian / Via
3. Cian / Via

Location: Aeroport district
∙ One-bedroom studio apartment with built-in stereo, large bathroom with sauna and bidet
∙ Owner describes it as an LCD Airbus — and look at that sauna.

Los Angeles — $1,512
LA 1 LA 2 2 LA 3
1. Zillow / Via,apartment_duplex_type/82867622_zpid/12447_rid/331432-397718_price/1250-1500_mp/days_sort/34.103134,-118.1777,33.943218,-118.533726_rect/11_zm/?view=map
2. Zillow / Via,apartment_duplex_type/82867622_zpid/12447_rid/331432-397718_price/1250-1500_mp/days_sort/34.103134,-118.1777,33.943218,-118.533726_rect/11_zm/?view=map
3. Zillow / Via,apartment_duplex_type/82867622_zpid/12447_rid/331432-397718_price/1250-1500_mp/days_sort/34.103134,-118.1777,33.943218,-118.533726_rect/11_zm/?view=map

Location: Downtown
∙ Studio apartment, one bath, and a rooftop swimming pool, because all homes in Los Angeles have swimming pools
∙ The bedroom looks pretty goth with that fancy chandelier.

Tokyo — 185,000 yen ($1,491)
Tokyo 1 Tokyo 2 Tokyo 3
1. Tokyo Apartment /
2. Tokyo Apartment /
3. Tokyo Apartment /

Location: Suginami
∙ Three bedrooms, and living/dining/kitchen area
∙ Apparently you get a hammock, so you can lie back and take in the beautiful sight of your inner-city flat.

Nairobi — 150,000 Kenyan shillings ($1,463)
Nairobi 1 Nairobi 2 Nairobi 3
1. Property 24 / Via
2. Property 24 / Via
3. Property 24 / Via

Location: Affluent Westlands area of the city
∙ Two bedrooms, open-plan kitchen, and a pretty awesome view
∙ Apparently there are two waterfalls in this complex.

Cairo — 9,648 Egyptian pounds ($1,232)
Cairo 1 Cairo 2 Cairo 3
1. AirBnb / Via
2. AirBnb / Via
3. AirBnb / Via

Location: 200 meters from the pyramids
∙ Four bedrooms, one bathroom, and air conditioning

Cape Town, South Africa — 15,000 South African rand ($1,209)
Cape Town 1 Cape Town 2 Cape Town 3
1. Private Property / Via
2. Private Property / Via
3. Private Property / Via

– Located in the Sea Point area of the city.
– Two bedrooms, one bathroom.
– As the name Sea Point suggests, you’re pretty darn close to the sea.

Rio de Janeiro — 3,107 Brazilian reais ($972)
Rio 1 2 Rio 2 Rio 3
1. Wimdu / Via
2. Wimdu / Via
3. Wimdu / Via

Location: Santa Teresa
∙ Two bedrooms, one bathroom, and, again, a hammock
∙ Santa Teresa is an artistic neighborhood, so you can go out and get creative with all that rent you saved.

Please note that currency conversion rates and housing markets are always changing. All figures were correct at the time of publication.