What with rental prices on the rise, many entreprenuers are finding the search for office space is becoming increasingly competitive and time consuming. Finding and setting up a new office has never been easy of course, but all parties involved yearn to simplify and streamline the soup-to-nuts of the dreaded leasing process.
With that in mind, a new startup called Truss is hoping to apply artificial intelligence to the office search, having recently raised $7.7 million in funding to fuel its expansion.
Truss is best described as a kind of tenant broker, which makes money by collecting a commission from property owners once a lease is signed. Then, it gives back 30 percent of that commission back to the tenant, making it a pretty tempting deal to anyone in the hunt for office space.
The way its platform works is nice and simple too. Landlords can list their properties for free, and prospective tenants can scour the listings on the site for no charge. Truss also uses 3D technology so each listing can be viewed virtually, allowing viewers to imagine what it would be like to actually walk around the property.
The best bit about Truss however is it only operates in a niche market, with spaces of 10,000 square feet and less. One might think that limits its potential, but Truss says that smaller office spaces are in high demand in today's startup culture.
Truss's AI capabilities come via its chatbot called Vera. According to Truss, Vera is "a great listener... always looking out for you, whether it's telling you about great new spaces or advising you on the fair market price for the space you’re considering.” In addition, Vera is able to schedule tours of office spaces users are interested, and can even organize a call with a company rep if you have further questions.
For tenants, the main advantage of using Truss for their office search is time. Truss saves time by shortening your search from days or weeks to just a few minutes. It helps tenants find properties that suit their needs, meaning they don't have to waste time looking at unsuitable properties. Upon finding a suitable space, tenants can carry out a virtual tour or make an appointment to see the property in person.
Truss also allows tenants to keep information in one place, and track all negotiations (and negotiation changes) until the agreement is reached and the lease is signed. The website also provides educational resources so that tenants can brush up on their real estate knowledge.
Landlords get benefits too, as each tenant must be qualified and verified before viewing a property, thereby ensuring no one's time is wasted. Truss also tracks all activity, viewings and queries once a property is listed so landlords are kept up to date.
Truss is currently available in Chicago and Dallas, with plans to expand to other cities soon.