(Screenshot via gohirise.com)
Why can’t an established player try to disrupt its own industry?
A gaggle of suits from the D.C. office of real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has launched HiRise, what they’re billing as “the first fully transactional marketplace for commercial real estate,” said Managing Director David Adams.
That means if you’re on the hunt for new space for your small business, not only can you can search the site for listings by preferences and geography, but you can also review lease and liability documentation and even make payment online. The focus here is on relatively smaller deals, mostly below 5,000 square feet and even including some coworking and incubation spaces, like Eastern Foundry. There isn’t much direct competition with traditional brokers, said Glenn LaFollette, a JLL spokesman. The goal is to get businesses into the company’s pipeline earlier.
The project should launch for D.C. later this month.
There’s something unique about a big business-to-business brand like JLL deploying a somewhat consumer-facing tool to test a new corner of its already large industry. If nothing else, the company has the dollars and relationships to offer up a pretty sound go-to-market strategy. If things go well in D.C., the tool could be deployed in JLL’s 50-plus markets by the end of the year.
JLL oversaw the project build and worked with an outside firm on the tech side — though they aren’t disclosing who. Once HiRise launches, JLL will be in the world of product, with all the challenges that come with it.
At launch, the site will be free for business owners to use. JLL will take a fee from the property owners each month over the course of the lease based on a standard percentage of the rent, said LaFollette, though he wouldn’t disclose what the percentage is yet.
The big brand wants to show it can test and deploy a consumer-facing web solution. Does it have the spunk to pull it off? At least Adams has the entrepreneurial talking points down:
“It’s going to change commercial real estate,” he said.
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