021 – Francesca Loftus of hOM – Amenities, Data, and Bouncy Houses

hOM

Developing community with residential and office properties and gathering data by providing technology-enabled amenities for tenants…

hOMFrancesca Loftus, CEO of hOM (technology-enabled amenity provider that partners with residential and office properties to develop community by providing on-site fitness programming and unique events for tenants) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • How Loftus became focused on amenities
  • The company’s focus on amenities, especially in commercial buildingshOM
  • The cash outlay to adjust floors is a big step, so offering programming or events in a vacant space or available accessible spaces is a useful alternative
  • The genesis of the idea, two of her cofounders are in fitness and real estate, her background in theater management,
  • Some success because of the proximity of buildings to fitness studios
  • Selling to amenities managers
  • Most managers have tried other things, trying to be on trend with other buildings, then contact them to execute, cant do it themselves
  • Despite offering a wide range, fitness is most requested and engaging, yoga leads that interest
  • The hOM programs are unique and catch people’s attentionhOM
  • Mini golf, bouncy houses, partnerships to execute and deliver in diversity
  • Building community gives an edge for landlords
  • Figuring out a model to provide benefits to fitness instructors, finding it was actually cost effective,
  • Why Loftus was forced to be smarter how running business
  • Utility players with the ability to get anecdotal data on the building, valuable team members but tough to find
  • Looking at people with their whole selves i.e. developers and yoga teacher
  • Listening for grit and experience (28 full time employees and 50 part time)hOM
  • Loftus is from Canada, ended up in New York, from a competitive girls prep school, full college ride in mathematics, wanted to go to NY for theater, ended up managing a theater at 17 years old, having a public facing “beard”, doing a lot of programming work
  • Being curious about everything, having a dual role as performer and manager
  • The kind of culture in the hOM office with meditation and breath-work, the company’s C3P0, rituals in the office
  • Putting a voice to the tenants of buildings, creating incentive to communicate with them and close a gap of communication

013 – Jonathan Wasserstrum of Squarefoot – Now It’s Time for Commercial

Squarefoot

Transparent commercial brokerage with proprietary smart tools…

SquarefootThe real estate industry is antiquated. For most people they think of the residential real estate first, and that’s lagging enough. But technology and innovation in the commercial real estate space? That’s twenty years behind residential. An exception to this is Squarefoot, an online brokerage platform that enables companies to find commercial properties without going space to space.

SquarefootJonathan Wasserstrum, Co-Founder and CEO of Squarefoot (”a team of trusted commercial real estate experts armed with our own technology to help guide you from initial inquiry to lease signing and beyond”), joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • SquarefootThe state of affairs of commercial real estate today, two decades behind residential real estate, comparative sizes of residential vs. commercial
    Enabling tenants to find space more easily
  • The problem being solved by Squarefoot is offering transparency and technology, as a listings platform,
  • Squarefoot’s biggest size deal ever, and the average size and company needs commercially
  • Playing a role in helping solve real estate problems
  • How Squarefoot clients can see the inventory
    Squarefoot aligns better incentives between broker and client, instead of commission based on deal size, a flat fee per broker, a different comp model, so its not about steering toward biggest commission.
  • Most brokers aren’t still at the same brokerage after three years, and at Squarefoot the rate is better than the industry average
  • First efficiency, not having to prospect, how inbound people search online and wind up on the Squarefoot site
  • Offering further efficiency via tech and products in the space and discovery, and a proprietary app
  • Looking ahead to the next level: agency business representing landlords
  • Commission structure in commercial vs. residential similar, and how many buildings average landlord own
  • A lack of interest from Squarefoot in competing against CoStar — being just a channel for tenants to find space and landlords to market the spaces, not a current interest in data.
  • Is Wasserstrum a technology guy or real estate guy?
    Ample Hills ice cream makes a special appearance
  • Are most companies actually tech companies?
  • 20% of market is moving every year, but it takes 5 cycles for everyone to go through a new change of process/tech, with commercial taking even longer
  • The need to ask “how do I do it better”
  • Anything that can help increase the top line, and decrease expenses, should be a welcome thing
  • A lack of Houston TX accent
  • Houston’s lack of zoning