Find the perfect commercial space the easy, fast and free way with TheSquareFoot
Today's featured startup, TheSquareFoot, gives you the ability to easily find commercial real estate listings and connect directly with the landlords.
TheSquareFoot's online marketplace makes commercial real estate leasing is easier by educating prospective tenants and connecting them with landlords, brokers, and the service and product providers necessary for finding and setting up the perfect space.
For landlords, they provide an outlet to market their properties directly to prospective tenants as well as data and analytics on what tenants are looking for. Landlords also have access to white-labeled versions of our search functionality for them to use on their own site with their own branding. Read our interview with Co-Founder, Aron Susman.
What inspired you to start your company?
TheSquareFoot was born in late 2010 in Houston, Texas. Seeing many business owners and entrepreneurs like ourselves struggle through the commercial real estate leasing process made us think…”there has to be a better way.” We say that a lot around here because the search for the right space has so many inefficiencies (a nice way to say a pain in the a**), every step becomes stressful.
While working at a healthcare technology company moving from Houston to Orange County, Aron was charged with finding new office space, but had no idea where to begin. He looked online, but was unable to find any resources that educated him on the process or allowed him to easily search and manage the process. He called Justin and Jonathan, both of whom have commercial real estate backgrounds, and they had to walk him through all of the options and what the process entailed. The timing couldn’t have been better, as Justin had the entrepreneurial itch and Jonathan was finishing up his MBA at Columbia University and was eager to build a company of his own too.
Tell us something unique about you and your co-founder(s)?
We are three twenty somethings born and raised in Houston, Texas, all obsessed with great food, sports, and music festivals. Jonathan and Aron have been friends for 15 years and Aron and Justin for more than a decade.
What problem does your product or service solve?
TheSquareFoot is a one stop shop for tenants who don't currently have an easy way to manage their search process. Many use craigslist which might be ok for finding concert tickets, but not ideal for office space. Others drive around aimlessly around town calling “for lease signs.” Current options also don’t offer educational tools and resources or let you engage a broker and other service and product providers.
On the landlord side, the pain point we are solving is the marketing of properties online. They haven't been satisfied with the current offerings which seem like dinosaurs compared to the latest offerings on the residential side of the market. They are also looking for better ways to showcase their offerings on their own website and track listings internally.
What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
1. Driving the demand side (prospective tenants) of the marketplace.
2. Helping the supply side (landlords, listing agents) keep their data up to date in real time.
3. Iterating the platform to drive the most value for the landlords / agents and the prospective tenants.
How has Startup America helped you overcome these challenges to growth?
Our meeting with Scott Case at DEMO was extremely helpful in crystallizing our value offering. In addition, the Startup America network has been great as well as the webinars.
What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?
We used the LinkedIn Pro account, Discount with LegalZoom, Gold Edition of BillFaster.com, plus we even had the chance to sit down and have office hours with Scott Case!
Why should startups join Startup America?
To expand their network, meet other startups nearby, learn from the knowledge base, and take advantage of the great deals from vendors to members of Startup America.
What is the startup culture like in your City/State?
The startup scene in Houston is somewhat nascent but has been steadily growing. Everyone is very supportive of each other’s ventures and help out when they can. Houston is starting to follow the lead of Austin, which has a great startup community of ventures, mentors, angels, and resources. Texas is a great place to start a business due to favorable tax benefits, less regulations, and a robust and growing economy.
Our goal is help small businesses and entrepreneurs more easily navigate the space leasing process from the search to signing the lease to getting furniture and telecom equipment. It starts with understanding the pricing and availability, but there is so much more to the process. Over time, we hope to bring the entire process online and help even the person with zero real estate knowledge get their business ready for business!
Learn more about TheSquareFoot
Startup America Member since November 2011
Twitter: @thesqft, Co-founders: @asusman103, @jmwass, and @jdlee80