In this day and age, more and more corporations are going paperless, even within their organizations and not just with their clients and customers. Tenant rep Bobby Goodman knows he needs a digital alternative to paper leases for office spaces.
After getting blank stares from young tech company executives when he handed them a stack of paper about options for office space, Bobby Goodman decided he needed a new approach.
While a 60-year-old managing partner at a law firm might prefer a paper presentation, younger decision-makers craved an online experience, where they could browse images and information on pricing and location on their own time, says Goodman, a veteran tenant rep who helped lead the tech tenant practice in the Chicago office of Jones Lang LaSalle after the recession. So he left JLL in 2016 to create a digital alternative.
His platform, called Truss, is akin to a commercial real estate version of residential listing sites like Redfin or Zillow. An artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant helps tenants find space of less than 10,000 square feet—the size that small and midsize businesses need but which typically aren't worth the bother of big-time brokers—and helps companies narrow their search before Truss' team takes over to finalize deals. Truss gets a commission from landlords when it helps them land a deal and rebates a portion of that to the tenant.
Initially, downtown leasing agents were leery of sharing rent rates and other lease details on a third-party platform, but Goodman won them over by noting the information already was available if tenant reps looked hard enough.
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