In December I asked Doug Curry 5 Simple Questions.
Below is his unedited response.
Let me begin by thanking you for posing the questions that a large number of people around the country have been wondering, thereby giving me the opportunity to address them to a large audience at one time, and for posing them in a more colorful manner that keeps everything interesting for all of us. In that I am being serious, as this industry gets too serious sometimes. So here we go.
1. What is happening with www.commercialsearch.com?
The site will go live by January 31st. We have been working on industry partnerships over the last 7 or 8 months that will make for a great launch of the best product possible, and not just a half-hearted attempt at a true national marketing platform. As you can imagine, working through and finalizing these partnerships has involved a lot of people and taken quite a bit of time. CommercialSearch will go live with several hundred thousand listings.
This number will rapidly increase, as we are finalizing partnerships with the largest content providers in the US,who have each agreed to list with CommercialSearch in the 1st Quarter of 2013. By the launch date, we will announce partnerships with multiple industry organizations that will make CommercialSearch one of the most recognized sites for public commercial real estate marketing in the country in 2013.
2. DMGT is your bank and…
CLARIFICATION. dmg :: information (dmgi) is actually our strategic partner, investor and collaborative thought leader and is a subsidiary company of DMGT focused on the commercial real estate industry. dmgi has a 15 year history of either investing in or purchasing several commercial real estate information companies and growing them to become the industry leaders in their respective sectors, with the goal of forming a global platform of content and solutions for the commercial real estate information industry. The President and CEO of dmgi is Suresh Kavan, the former President of one of the largest divisions of Thomson Reuters who was instrumental in making Thomson Reuters the global alternative to Bloomberg.
On that note, your request for information has publicly called out just how buried I’ve been over these last few months. The CIO of dmgi has been personally requesting me to provide him with content about Xceligent so they could post it on the dmgi website. I am sure he is very pleased that you have directly caused me to give him that information, which will be up on their website this week. (humor intended here). After next week, please go to http://www.dmginfo.com/our-businesses/strategic-investments to read more about us.
We are also working on potential partnership strategies with multiple companies within the dmgi portfolio. Some of the companies of note under the dmgi/DMGT umbrella are:
- Trepp – the leading provider of CMBS and commercial mortgage information, analytics, and technology to the global securities and investment management industries with the largest proprietary database of over 100,000 distinct loans valued at more than $1 trillion on the highest profile properties in the world.
- EDR – the leading provider of environmental risk information in the US, and created the world’s largest and most accurate database of environmental and historical land use records from thousands of sources.
- BuildFax – collects and organizes construction records on millions of properties across the United States, including new construction, major systems repair, additions, renovations, roofs, demolitions, contractors and more.
- RMS – the world-leading producer of risk analysis models, services, expertise and data solutions for use in the quantification and management of catastrophic risks.
- RCA – the premier provider of investment sales information and analysis to institutional markets and the commercial real estate industry.
3. I see ZERO differentiation…
It has always been our intention at the baseline level to produce the same level of content as our main competitor, but to utilize available technologies to make the processes more efficient and to locate our resources in geographically optimized areas, making the processes more cost-effective. (There is a much lower cost-of-living in the Midwest, compared to the East and West Coasts.) Those financial benefits then are directly passed on to our customers.
So, what do we do that is beyond that? The answer is that in working to create those efficiencies, each quarter Xceligent is able to create new processes to further enhance the data and add additional levels of content that has previously not been available to the industry. This will become evident as we start to release some of these additional offerings this quarter.
We are also sincerely dedicated to partnering with the industry. As I stated before, we will be announcing some game-changing partnerships later this month, but we have a long-standing history of partnering with industry professionals to provide the best service possible. In each of our markets, we have formed Top Producer Peer Advisory Boards. What that means is that at the end of each quarter, the top producers for industrial, office, and retail meet with our Directors of Client Services and review every single move-in and move-out that our researchers collected over that quarter. This collaboration not only forms a strong community of professionals in our markets, but also provides a greater level of transparency in each of our markets than any other company is able to provide with the most accurate vacancy and absorption rates in the industry.
When we signed the deal with dmgi, we had 170 employees and had been at roughly that level for the last 14 years. As of last week, our staff has expanded to over 400 people and is growing rapidly to meet the demands of our national roll out schedule over the next 2 to 3 years. All of those employees are dedicated to the same initiative of greater efficiency at a lower cost-structure, partnering with the industry, and providing the highest level of market transparency of any company in our industry.
You also asked for the number of markets we have launched to date. The increase in our staffing has allowed us to inspect nearly 120,000 buildings over the last few months. We recently launched Atlanta and the Las Vegas market, with Phoenix and Cleveland also launching this month, and have 3 more mid- tier markets launching this quarter on our research system. We have started on four new major US markets that we expect to be announcing soon. (shhh, we have to keep those other guys guessing).
Your request also calls me out on our need to get our executive and management teams publicly promoted on our website, so the industry knows who they’re working with. We’re extremely proud that our staff is comprised of a deep bench of professionals from the industry, all focused on the industry. We’re in the process of reworking our corporate website, and have needed to add that information for a while now, it just hasn’t been high on our priority list with everything else we’ve been working on. Thanks for asking the question and we’ll go ahead and add that in the next couple of weeks.
4. You mentioned complete access to 450,000 listings so…
The exact date that you can access CommercialSearch will be no later than January 31st. We expect to have over 400,000 listings when it goes live. Based on the current commitments we have from Associations, CIEs, and listing companies, we expect to exceed 500,000 or 600,000 by the end of the 2nd Quarter of this year. It’s important to note that if you post listings in CommercialSearch, you will receive free Premium Access and exposure for all of your listings until next year. If you list with us this initial year, then when we start charging for Premium Access next year you will receive Premium Access for an unlimited number of listings at rates that will feel like the clock got winded back to 2003 and rate protection for 3 years.
5. Open API.
I really like the Open API idea. We are currently releasing a new, private branded version to promote listings to sites of brokerage companies and economic development agencies. I would love to see the next generation of that be an Open API for customers’ sites and will be looking into that.
However, I will take you up on your offer to write an entire post about why this would set us up to dominate for years to come. It’s always great to see your ideas and explore how they could benefit our customers.
Bonus Question: Soooo……the goatee arrived after my 20’s, when staying fit was not as possible……somewhere about the time this company started……my wife didn’t mention it until I debated shaving it off……now a couple decades later the time it would take to get rid of the grey may be beyond me. Okay…so here’s the real deal…Sam Elliott’s always been a hero of mine…always loved his grey goatee…my favorite scene ever in a movie is when Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino have their discussion in the cafe in Heat. DeNiro has the coolest grey goatee of all time.
Apparently, you’re pointing out that it might not be working for me. I may need some fashion insight on this one. 🙂