July 11, 2014
There are a number of industries still alive and kicking that one would consider a ‘dinosaur’: old, ungainly, and not technologically relevant. Dan Mihalovich has found one such industry that he feels is in dire need of upkeep: commercial real estate.
According to him, anybody who has touched an office leasing deal has the scars to prove it – it’s a process that is far too arduous. That’s why he decided to build Griddig, a platform that escorts tenants, brokers, landlords, and service providers from start of a project to the closing terms of the lease.
They thrive on the idea of providing transparency in the industry via real time collaboration, and we wanted to learn more. So, we sat down with Mihalovich to get an inside look at Griddig.
Tech Cocktail: Specifically, what are you bringing to this ‘dinosaur’ industry?
Mihalovich: We bring parties the ability to collaborate in real time with their teams. If you’re a building owner you might have an architect, contractor, and listing broker on your team. You can collaborate with them on Griddig all the way through signing the letter of intent – the agreement of general business terms for the lease.
We also provide tenants – the other side of the equation – a way to get in touch with various service providers. If you’re looking to lease an office space, we encourage you to hire a broker. They could come from our pre-curated selection of top brokers in the area, or you could bring your own, independent broker into the platform. The whole idea is that you surround yourself with the proper experts at the beginning of the process.
In our business, people understand that they’re probably going to mess something up because they simply don’t understand every aspect of it. Griddig was built to help people get off on the right foot, get everybody on the same page at the beginning of the process, and accelerate the whole transaction.
Tech Cocktail: Why do you hold transparency to such a high standard?
Mihalovich: Transparency prevents people from making big mistakes. The bottom line is that a lot of tenants aren’t going to understand the finer points of one aspect or another of the process – here’s an example:
When it comes time to move into the letter of intent, all of the affiliated parties are identified right then and there. In the course of negotiations, it can get confrontational, and when you don’t provide the other side with important documents it’s hard to close and reach an agreement.
You can comment and hash everything out with all members of your party before the letter is formalized. When it’s all said and done you can sign electronically and execute, and now your letter of intent is totally finished with no need for revisions. In this way, you avoid headaches, quarrels, and the distribution of misinformation – everybody is on the same page.
Tech Cocktail: How are you changing a paradigm here?
Mihalovich: Currently there is a very large and dominant player called Co-Star (publicly traded company), and their market cap right now is 4.6 billion. They don’t really have anybody in second place that’s as thoroughly covering listings for office space.
But the interesting thing about it is that for all those people listing their space, the listings aren’t public. So if you’re not a subscriber you can’t see the listings. Griddig is changing that.
Another aspect we’re focused on changing is altering your information. With some listing services, when you hand them your information they don’t allow you to touch it again. If you own a billion dollar portfolio and you want to change your rates, all you have to do on Griddig is log in and change your rates – as well as photos, floor plans, or other changes.
We hand the controls, quite literally, to the building owner and the building owner broker. When you invite your broker they have access because you’ve authorized them to do so. This is a more user friendly and more efficient way for building owners to be in control 100 percent of the time and ensure their information is 100 percent accurate.
It’s a live, thriving marketplace that should be updated. And the best way to do that is to give building owners control over that information.
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