One of the last independent angel investments I made was into a company called Truss. They were solving a very difficult problem in commercial real estate. If you have tried to find space of 10,000 square feet or less, it’s really really hard.
- CRE Agents don’t want to work with you because it’s just not worth their time. They don’t make much money from it and have to dedicate the same resources.
- A lot of the building owners don’t have any convenient way to list or show space.
Yet, it’s a huge part of the market.
Truss had a really great proven founding team. I had developed a relationship with Bobby Goodman via some of my other investments. Bobby had and continues to have a very good grasp of issues in CRE with a very deep network. Another founder, Andy Bokor, and I met via startup stuff and Hyde Park Angels. Andy previously had done a couple of startups successfully with the last being Trustwave.
At the time I invested, they were a website with very little or no customer traction. But, clearly, customers wanted it and with the team they had there was certainly confidence they could execute. Since that time they have.
They are listing almost 100% of the CRE space in Chicago and Dallas and are expanding to other markets.
Today they announced that they raised a Series A round. They are taking the business up the mountain to the next level.
CRE is ripe for disruption. Many of the processes are rooted in “That’s the way we always have done it” which isn’t always the most efficient. Our venture capital fund, West Loop Ventures, did it’s first investment in the CRE space when we partnered with Megalytics.
Technological innovation is going to drive better decision making in CRE. For example, Megalytics does credit risk analysis better and more efficiently than anyone. That drives capital efficiency and more importantly allows CRE people to allocate time efficiently. They are rolling out a tenant monitoring system which will really help the industry.
It’s an exciting time to be an investor in B2B Fin Tech. The markets are huge. The pain is acute.