Upstart proptech company SquareFoot, which is focused on developing an online listing platform for office space, has hired veteran real estate executive Jeff Rosenblatt to expand its reach into the business of leasing space the traditional way.
Rosenblatt had most recently been at the Kaufman Organization, a firm that owns and leases its own portfolio of commercial real estate and provides leasing services to other landlords and tenants. Rosenblatt previously worked for Advisors Commercial Real Estate, Newmark Knight Frank and Grubb & Ellis.
"Jeff has closed on more than 1,000 transactions in his career," said Jonathan Wasserstrum, co-founder and CEO of SquareFoot, which launched in 2012 and currently staffs about two dozen brokers. "He's the first broker we have hired who will bring a substantial amount of business in with him."
Rosenblatt said the firm's effort to digitize office availabilities, which are generally known only to leasing brokers, would help build his own business.
"A lot of tenants and landlords are using this platform, and it will serve as place to connect with them," Rosenblatt said. "The brokerage business is antiquated. I've decided to join the 21st century."
Services such as CoStar offer detailed information on office vacancies, but they cost thousands of dollars to access and are generally only used by brokers and other real estate professionals. While residential renters and buyers shop for homes and apartments online, a similar digital listing marketplace for commercial spaces has yet to take root.
Wasserstrum said it costs nothing to list space on SquareFoot's platform. But those listings serve as strong leads for the firm's brokers, who can bring tenants to the space and earn the company lucrative commissions.
"We're not just a listing service, we're a soup-to-nuts platform that will handle all aspects of a transaction," Wasserstrum said. "We have an app where partners at a firm can swap pictures of the spaces they've toured and where they can organize their space search. We want to create a seamless experience."
The company has so far raised about $13 million in funding, Wasserstrum said.
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