Commercial tenants and property managers must comply with strict liability rules: any seller entering real estate must have insurance certificates and other requirements. The approval process can currently take several days and is still mostly done on paper.
Enter Jones… A New York-based commercial real estate startup oversees the pre-approved vendor market for tenants and property managers to find and hire the people they need, as required.
To continue growing its network, the company announced on Monday that it has 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 raises Jones’ total investment to $ 20 million, according to the Crunchbase data…
Jones, founded in 2017, also manages certifications and approvals, bringing the entire process online. Its technology can process an insurance certificate in less than an hour and reduce the overall vendor approval time to 2.5 days – up from 12 days – with 99.9% accuracy, co-founder and CEO Omri Stern told TechCrunch.
The precision part is key. Since most of the work is done by hand, the current accuracy is around 30%, he said. In addition, certification takes a long time, and typically property managers must review insurance documents to determine what is missing instead of spending time with tenants.
“In the consumer world, the homeowner expects to go into the market and find a service and hire it,” Stern said. “Office managers and tenants cannot get their preferred suppliers through the approval process, so we want to provide a similar digital experience that they can use and use in real estate.”
What sets Jones apart from the competition, he says, is the presence of all stakeholders: a group of high-profile 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 that is undergoing a technological transformation, much like financial technology did 20 years ago.
He estimates the US market is $ 16 trillion, of which technology can unlock more value. This opportunity was one of the factors that prompted JLL to create JLL Spark, where Jones is one of the first investments.
Although Lerner spent time with the local real estate management teams, he became closer and more personal to the problem when his wife, moving into the office, learned that her salespeople were not allowed into the building because they did not have adequate insurance.
“We learned that property managers spend half of their time just checking the compliance of the suppliers entering their building,” Lerner said. “We wondered why there was no technology for this. Jones was in the construction business at the time, and we brought them into the commercial real estate business because they had an example of how technology could solve this problem. “
Meanwhile, Series A comes at a time when Stern has seen Jones’ SaaS tool pick up steam in the past 10 months. He didn’t go into details on growth performance, but said growth was driven by “competition with the status quo,” as companies seek and adapt workflow solutions.
The company intends to use the new funds for product development, both for faster and easier approval and to attract new suppliers. Jones already works with tens of thousands of suppliers. It will also focus on integration, offering an API that can be used in other industries where compliance is required.
Stern would also like to continue building the team. Bringing on real estate experts, he is now also looking for people with backgrounds in fintech, cybersecurity and insurtech to discover additional perspectives.
“We are building an incredible company with the potential to be the next big digital marketplace,” he added.