The New Way For #CRE To Startup Because We Can Do It Better.

The New Way For #CRE To Startup Because We Can Do It Better.

A Thousand Times.

I have said it a thousand times “people in commercial real estate are smart.” “Go ahead get in a room with some commercial real estate people. You will be smarter just for being there. We as in us in the commercial real estate business have always taken to the fact that our industry is  “lagging behind” the technology curve.

The big bad all-encompassing tech scene seems to dwarf the entire universe with the newest greatest sexiest products and companies. We sit back and watch, take it all in and raise our per square foot prices so we can “adjust to the market.”

If you take the time to pay any attention to my digital stream it’s not hard to surmise that I am deep (See what I did there? I did not say balls deep, trying to keep it clean.) in the #CRETech scene. The tweets the posts that feature companies the pics from the offices, dinners and “networking” events like this from The Big D.

I have seen many of these companies grow from literally one two three people to twenty thirty fifty people. I talk almost everyday to some company with a product in the #CRETech space. I mentor advise seed intro network email and encourage them all. I have seen created received and judged every imaginable pitch term sheet and deck that you could think of.

The Startup Model.

Look at Y Combinator Tech Stars 500 Startups and countless others. They have a system They have a certain way of helping companies go from idea to product to  forming a company to funding and hopefully making $$$$. Now, let me say this ” IT’S WORKING.” Yes, they have failures but they also have many successes. So, when I say I think #CRE of all the industries you could think of may have a better way. I see you tilting your head sideways in doubt. Fair enough.

What It Takes Now.

I’m not going to go too deep (see I did it again) but I need to give you context. The idea starts. It starts in someone’s head and they meet up with a friend and they hash it out. They decide that hey this may be something. They call a few people they know in and out of the commercial real estate business. They get some feed back good and bad but decide they want to pursue this even further.

Here is where it get’s HARD——–REALLY HARD!

They have to decide that they are going to basically give up whatever life they have now and commit to this idea 24/7/365.

They are going to tell family friends wives husbands children and their present employer that they are going to “start a company.”

Out come the 401Ks the credit cards the selling of cars houses dogs cats and the never ending looks of ” I love you but do you know what the fuck you are actually doing.”

It’s the commit 1000% of your actual human existence to that idea to make it work or die mentality. Actually I’m on board with all of that by the way.

BUT—–BUT  there might be another way.

Let’s look at a scenario.

There is a person sitting in front of a computer working a company. That person has been in the business anywhere from a few years to fifteen or twenty. They provide great value to that company and get paid and paid well. But, they see things. They see things and problems that need to be fixed. Problems that they see happening in the near future that may change the way that company they work for does business. Maybe even problems that may take that company out of business.

They vet that idea out with a few friends and colleagues.They get some good feedback and it is suggested that they “take it upstairs” and see what they think. Now, maybe that company is progressive and actually sees the potential. Are they set up to build this product within the structure they have now? Can they really “go to market” with this under the umbrella of products they have now?

What if it’s nothing remotely close to something they would ever look at but it’s a viable product. What happens then? What does that person do with that idea? They have a few choices. The first is just forget it. Maybe they try to get a couple of people interested and see it they can do it as a side project. They think about the all out (see not balls out) option and possibly throw some hints at the family to gauge their interest. What they also think about is the real possibility of throwing away years of work and career building away for an unproven and at best a possible radical departure from what the are great at.

What if they could get that idea to market and keep their career and the stable money that goes with it?

How would that work and why does commercial real estate fit into that equation?

Let’s say that person had a go to environment that took that incredible idea and made it happen for them.

What if there was a place that they could get the entire Startup Package. They decided what kind of involvement (within reason) that they wanted to have in the project. They would have access to every piece of the startup ecosystem available and still keep their wife or husband and the dog too. Sounds just a little bit too good does it not?

So where does the commercial real estate part come in? I will admit this is the selfish part for me. It’s hard ( I seem to use that word a lot) for me to think beyond the commercial real estate business.

Here is what I see. Take that great product or idea to the BIG HITTERS in commercial real estate. REITS, private portfolio owners public holding companies and major developers. Give them access to the products early. Let them get the products into users hands. Let them have a piece of the action. They literally have BILLIONS. Let them own part of that product. That way they don’t have to create develop or market that product themselves.

As I write this in the last week I have had conversations with two major companies that LOVE this idea. Also as a short side there is a major tech company in the space that just opened up a huge part of their software to outside developers. Why? They can’t do it all or should they even try. What do they get? Access and first shot at everything that develops on their open platform. Sound Familiar? Open up or die!

Guess what they major accelerators are doing? Creating what they call “Labs.” Labs for corporations to develop products.

What are we doing? Nothing. Am I stealing their idea? NO!

What are we not creating Labs? Startup Labs!

Who owns the buildings?


Guess who is inside the buildings?


The people using the products the corporations are developing!



We have the ultimate environment  for most products to be tested and the AUDIENCE/EYEBALLS/USERS sitting right in front of us.

Tell me how this won’t work.

We are #CRE

We are smart as hell.

So this is……..

The New Way For #CRE To Startup Because We Can Do It Better.









Duke Long

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