The Silicon Review
The commercial real estate landscape is constantly evolving as new technologies are integrated into workflows for every industry segment and property type. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate of technological change and adoption for all companies and industries. The ability of workers to work remotely will have significant implications on how companies utilize space, impacting the size of an office, the layout and amount of space per employee, and even the location of the office. The traditional process to lease commercial space has fundamentally changed with an emphasis on new technologies like virtual tours and paperless transactions.
Certain specialized firms provide solutions to help with commercial real estate, and TenantBase is one such firm with an extraordinary platform. The goal of TenantBase is to provide tenants with a technology and service platform that solves the pain associated with leasing space in order to become the most trusted consumer brand in commercial real estate. By aggregating tenant demand and making it available to the leasing community, tenants now have leasing agents and owners submitting space and offers tailored to them. Tenants can benefit from getting lease terms better suited for their business or tenant improvements and concessions that provide significant value. TenantBase has spent six years developing the technology and operating model to support widespread capture of tenant demand and streamlining the leasing process to benefit rent-paying tenants - the essential party to commercial real estate value creation. TenantBase is a tech-enabled commercial real estate platform built to revolutionize the leasing process for tenants. TenantBase couples proprietary technology with top local tenant rep brokers to ensure tenants have an end to end leasing experience built and tailored entirely around the needs of the modern tenant consumer.
TenantBase is headquartered in Santa Monica, California and has more than 150 brokers and employees in 11 United States markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Houston, Denver, Atlanta, Austin, San Antonio, Orange County, Inland Empire and Nashville.
In conversation with Bennett Washabaugh, CEO and Co-Founder of TenantBase
Q. What makes you a better service provider compared to conventional commercial real estate brokerages?
Traditional brokerage firms have historically targeted large corporate users by providing a variety of services that resulted in small and mid-sized businesses becoming an underserved market. These smaller or growing companies expect a modern consumer experience with tools similar to what is available to apartment seekers and home buyers. TenantBase provides this type of consumer experience that is combined with personalized service by our brokerage team. Due to the complexity of negotiating commercial leases, there will always be a need for experienced brokers to help businesses throughout the leasing process. In order to accommodate a large volume of clients, TenantBase has developed proprietary tools to serve our clients and brokers. We are focused on creating efficiencies by measuring and improving in all operational aspects while still understanding customer satisfaction is critical for long term success. Our core company value is Win with Service, and our 5-star rating validates that on TrustPilot based on more than 500 reviews. In addition, TenantBase was recently named as a Forbes Best Startup Employer 2020 after a review of more than 10,000 companies in all industries.
Q. Why does TenantBase focus so specifically on tenants within Commercial Real Estate?
TenantBase will be the largest, most trusted Tenant Facing Commercial Real Estate Platform in the World. Our goal is to empower the occupier in the modern digital era. Now more than ever, small to midsize businesses and consumers use brands and platforms that they trust. A buildings’ value is based on demand and cash flow from rent-paying tenants; likewise, credit vehicles financing this industry are based on demand or cash flow from rent-paying tenants. Although tenants continue to be the most important piece of the commercial real estate value chain, the industry has never had a winning demand aggregator in the modern platform era. Listing sites focus on building the supply side inventory from leasing agents and building owners before they can even start aggregating demand. These sites are reliant on the landlord community throughout their lifecycle. The value propositions are designed to benefit owners or leasing agents, their long-term customers, as opposed to tenants that may have a need once every 5 to 10 years. The monthly subscription fees charged to the leasing community encourage these platforms to provide the supply side with advantages while offering little to the demand side - tenants. Traditional brokerage firms function similarly, and their cash cow is property owners due to vertical integration of brokerage services. Listings generate property management contracts, capital markets opportunities, and investment sales transactions. Revenue generation has always focused on the supply side but the industry LIVES off of the demand side and the rent tenants pay.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
We recently announced the release of an online transaction platform tailored to the leasing community’s needs in the new era of digital leasing. The product, TenantBoard, houses thousands of qualified tenants actively working with TenantBase Advisors to lease office, industrial, or retail space. The software empowers the leasing community to transact business digitally with in-market tenants. It utilizes proprietary machine learning models to match qualified tenants to vacant space uploaded to the platform. The product also provides local leasing communities aggregated tenant demand analytics to help position vacant space for lease. TenantBase is releasing the software for free to Leasing Agents, Owners, Co-working operators, and Tenants trying to sublease their own space. Landlord agents can sign up for access to a personal dashboard where they can target companies by square footage required, location, occupancy date, lease term, and tenant qualifications. This is a dramatic change to the typical process of posting listings online or contacting brokers in the hopes of finding a suitable prospect. As Landlord agents add current or future vacancies to the TenantBoard, machine learning processes identify in real-time which current tenant requirements are the best match and allow them to easily submit flexible space configurations and deal terms to those tenants.
Meet the leader behind the success of TenantBase
As the Co-Founder and CEO, Bennett Washabaugh has created a technology-based commercial real estate brokerage that is on pace to become a unicorn technology company. Prior to founding TenantBase in 2014, Bennett worked in the commercial real estate brokerage industry in Chicago. He saw incredible market inefficiency on the tools and service level provided to small and mid-sized businesses leasing office space. In 2019, Bennett was named a national Connect CRE 2019 Next Generation Award winner. Bennett is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan and holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Michigan. He lives in Santa Monica with his wife Grace and two children, James and Leigh.