CompStak, a startup that sells comparison data on commercial property leases, has just announced its planned expansion into the Los Angeles market June 1st, and into the Washington D.C. market July 1st.
Opportunity exists where data are hard to come by. CompStak is positioning itself as a partner to a commercial real estate market that has historically relied on word of mouth, as well as the more tedious hunting and pecking methods to uncover rental comparisons.
These old school tactics have worked to close deals in the past, but CompStak sees a different future and is using crowd sourcing to make comp data available online. In a roughly 1-to-1 trade, “if you give a comp, you get a comp,” says founder Michael Mandel; trading comps is free and on a point system basis. But there’s more: brokers can search by landlord, building, floor, tenant name, etc., and with a few powerful strokes of the keyboard, can greatly narrow in on needed comparisons.
CompStak is looking to unchain lease terms that are typically locked in landlord/broker agreements, and encourage information sharing in the process. These terms are held in confidentiality, in part to keep rent profits high. CompStak sells data it collects on an enterprise level to hedge funds, banks, private equity funds, and landlords.
Mr. Mandel started as a real estate broker and met CTO Vadim Belobrovka at an Entrepreneurs Roundtable event in New York City. Since starting CompStak two years ago, they have closed a Series-A round last month and plan to be in 10 markets by the end of the year.
CompStak consists of 13 employees in the U.S., five developers in Russia, and what Mr. Mandel calls a “jeans to work, suit in the closet” culture – making reference to the dichotomy of an easy going startup environment with formal Wall Street clients. CompStak puts full trust in its employees, only hiring very motivated people and affording them perks such as no limit on vacation hours. CompStak looks for future leaders like Squeakers with initiative and maintains that the rest will follow.