Bizjournals: Commercial Real Estate Data Firm CompStak To Expand To D.C.

By Daniel J Sernovitz on May 08, 2013.

New York-based commercial real estate company CompStak Inc. is planning to bring its crowdsourced database of real estate leases to D.C. this summer in a move that could put it in competition with District-based CoStar Group Inc.

CompStak, founded by former Grubb & Ellis Inc. broker Michael Mandel, expects to expand into Greater Washington July 1 as part of a nationwide rollout.

The startup, already active in Manhattan and San Francisco, draws the intimate details of commercial real estate leases from the experts involved in those deals. It makes the information available for free in exchange for details on other leases or as part of a fee-based service for outside parties.

CoStar compiles similar information as part of its nationwide commercial real estate database, but Mandel said he does not view CompStak as one of CoStar’s competitors. He said CompStak has found a niche focusing strictly on leasing details, such as rent payments and tenant improvement concessions. CoStar has a much broader array of real estate data, including building vacancies, tenant rosters and asking rates for rent.

“This is an area of the market where we’ve identified a gap in what CoStar offers and provides a functionality that we think users will really appreciate beyond what they’re getting at CoStar,” Mandel said. “People have been sharing this information forever, but no one’s ever shared it in a comprehensive way.”

CoStar representatives could not be immediately reached for comment.

The heart of CompStak’s model is built upon the notion that on any given real estate lease there are any number of people who are involved in the negotiations. Once a lease gets completed, the first person to turn over the intimate details gets points that can be traded in for details on another lease.
CompStak is able to double-check the reliability of that information because it frequently receives multiple submissions and its staffers can watch for aberrations, Mandel said.

Noncontributing members can subscribe to the service at a subscription rate of more than $20,000 a year, he said. A year after the service launched in Manhattan, Mandel estimates CompStak has details on 99 percent of the leases that get done in the Big Apple.

The company recently received $4.5 million in a round of funding led by Canaan Partners and has ambitions to expand into every major market in the country.

Along the way, it is enlisting the help of big real estate companies to collect data for it including Tishman Speyer Properties LP, Beacon Capital Partners LLC and Malkin Properties LLC, which owns the Empire State Building. Tishman and Beacon are active in D.C., which could give CompStak a leg up as it establishes a data network in the area.