Startups

42Floors Takes Commercial Real Estate Online (Because Searching For Office Space Sucks)

Comment

Jason Freedman, co-founder of the new YC-backed startup 42Floors launching today, says he got the idea for the startup because “searching for office space just really, really sucked.” The reason the process was so miserable, he says, is because he was powerless. To find commercial real estate, he had to go through brokers who all insisted they had access to proprietary data. But when each broker returned a list of search results to him, it was the exact same list, in the exact same order, from the same database of listings.

Thinking that it was time to provide an alternative, Freedman decided to found 42Floors, a service that will allow people to search for commercial real estate online. The company is starting by hosting office space listings located in the Bay Area at launch, and will then expand into other markets.

Taking advice from Paul Graham, Freedom decided he wasn’t just going to build a web product, but actually learn the industry first. He got his broker’s license, shadowed a broker in town, and learned, over the course of six months, that listing agents are actually eager to find better ways to market their spaces.

“They don’t have a direct marketing channel,” he explains. “So I chose not to go to war with the brokers, but to work cooperatively with them. And they’re willing to give us their listings because they want to market better than they are currently,” he says.

On 42Floors, the agents can list their properties for free, and the startup provides an additional service for them, also at no cost: they take photos of the property up for rent or sale. Typically, brokers’ listings only include shots of the outside of the building, but 42Floors will shoot inside – something that matters more when companies are looking to find new office space. The company will also handle the scheduling arrangements when a potential client requests a tour of an office space, and in a few months, it will launch a mobile app version of the service that will allow all parties to stay better connected while on the go.

For now, 42Floors is primarily targeting tech entrepreneurs in need of office space, and it comes at the problem with a deep understanding of how startup founders think about finding this type of listing.

“People want to be browse, they want to be inspired.” says Freedman. “Even if it’s only 1,000 square feet – that’s a tech entrepreneur who raised a seed round and wants five desks; that’s a CEO who’s building his new castle.”

“People search for their dream offices, they don’t search for ‘commercial real estate,’” he adds.

On the site, the listings can be filtered by type (e.g., lease, co-working, shared), size, price and (soon) region. At launch, the focus is on the Bay Area, but the plan is to roll out the service to other startup markets in the coming months, including New York, Cambridge, Boston, Seattle, and wherever else there’s a tech center where startups need office space.

42Floors will be focused on this vertical for most of the first year, before expanding into other types of commercial real estate listings.

The reason for the focus on office space, Freedman explains, has to do with an unfilled need. Brokers make the most of their money from doing one big deal per year, not lots of small deals, so their focus is always on closing their high-priced listings. Meanwhile, 80% of commercial real estate transactions are under 5,000 square feet – spaces like those that startups would want to move into. These listings are currently ignored by the industry.

In addition to Freedman, 42Floors’ team (listed here) includes James Bracy, Jon Bracy, Ben Ehmke, and David Woodworth.

42Floors has raised seed funding from Y Combinator, StartFund, and Ron Conway (through SV Angel), who put in an additional investment. It also has ten commercial real estate veterans who participated as angel investors in an advisory round. The company has raised $400,000 in total, all sources combined.

And, in case you’re curious, the reason why the company is called 42Floors? Because 42 is the answer to everything, of course.

More TechCrunch

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

19 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

21 hours ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise

X, formerly Twitter, turned TweetDeck into X Pro and pushed it behind a paywall. But there is a new column-based social media tool in town, and it’s from Instagram Threads.…

Meta Threads is testing pinned columns on the web, similar to the old TweetDeck

As part of 2024’s Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is showing off some updates to Android that should be useful to folks with mobility or vision impairments. Project Gameface allows gamers…

Google expands hands-free and eyes-free interfaces on Android