Tenants of commercial buildings and property managers must adhere to strict liability rules that any seller entering property must have certificates of insurance and meet other requirements. The approval process for this can currently take days and is still largely done on paper.
Enter Jones. The New York-based commercial real estate startup is hosting a pre-approved vendor marketplace for tenants and property managers to find and hire the people they need in a compliant manner.
To continue moving its network forward, the company said on Monday it had raised $ 12.5 million in Series A funding led by JLL Spark and Khosla Ventures, which also included strategic investors Camber Creek, Rudin Management, DivcoWest and Sage Realty. . This new investment brings Jones’ total raised to $ 20 million, according to Crunchbase data.
Jones, founded in 2017, also manages certifications and approvals, moving the entire process online. Its technology can process an insurance certificate in under an hour and cut the overall supplier approval time to 2.5 days – from 12 days – with 99.9% accuracy, the co-founder said. and CEO Omri Stern at TechCrunch.
The precision part is the key. With much of the work being done by hand, the current accuracy is around 30%, he added. Additionally, certifications are lengthy and it is usually up to property managers to analyze insurance documents to identify what is missing rather than spending time with tenants.
“In the consumer world, an owner expects to go into a market, find a service, and hire it,” Stern said. “Office managers and tenants can’t get their preferred suppliers through the approval process, so we want to deliver a similar digital experience that they can consume and use in real estate. “
He says Jones’s differentiator from competitors is that all the stakeholders are in place: a group of top real estate clients, including Lincoln Property Co., Prologis, DivcoWest, Rudin Management, Sage Realty and JLL.
Yishai Lerner, co-CEO of JLL Spark, agrees, telling TechCrunch that commercial real estate is one of the largest and latest asset classes undergoing a technological transformation, similar to what the fintech 20 years ago.
He estimates the US market at $ 16 trillion, of which technology could unlock much of the value. This opportunity was one of the driving forces for JLL to create JLL Spark, where Jones is one of the first investments.
Although Lerner spent time with the property management teams in the field, he became close to the problem when his wife, as she moved, discovered that her sellers were not allowed into the building because they were didn’t have the right insurance.
“We’ve learned that property managers spend half of their time just checking the compliance of suppliers entering their building,” Lerner said. “We wondered why there was no technology for this. Jones was building at the time, and we brought them into commercial real estate because they had an example of how technology could solve the problem.
Meanwhile, Series A comes at a time when Stern sees Jones’ SaaS tool take off in the past 10 months. He declined to spell out growth metrics, but said what drives growth is “competing with the status quo” as companies research and adapt workflow solutions.
The company intends to use the new funds for product development both for faster and easier approvals and to attract new suppliers. Jones already works with tens of thousands of suppliers. It will also focus on integration, offering an API that could be used in other industry sectors where compliance is required.
Stern would also like to continue building the team. Having called on real estate experts, he is now also looking for people with training in fintech, cybersecurity and insurtech to bring additional perspectives.
“We are building an amazing business with the opportunity to be the next big digital marketplace,” he added.