Almost a decade ago, while employed as a construction industry executive recruiter, Noah Coughlin came to a key decision that would change his life. He realized the task of finding the best project executives and managers would require him to cultivate a dynamic network, a job necessitating research into companies and individuals participating in development projects across his home city of Boston, Mass. Sounded easy enough.
Except that it wasn’t. Coughlin was stunned to find the data not readily available. So he began the laborious tasks of drilling into documents and making cold calls, which swiftly persuaded him someone should create a platform that with the ease of a Google GOOGL search would deliver the project insights he needed. That person turned out to be him.
While an increasing reliance on insight-generating data is proving crucial in helping many industries boost sales, revenues and profits and trim costs, some observers have argued commercial real estate was late to the game. But the industry is catching up. According to the NAIOP, more than 3,000 apps are focused on commercial real estate, a big increase from the dozen in existence in 2014. Some assert, however that while a good deal more data now exists, platforms that allow the data to be visualized and navigated to make better decisions are lacking. Coughlin’s efforts have sought to address that issue.
His solution: BLDUP, a B2B platform delivering comprehensive market intelligence on real estate projects across all sectors from housing to health care. Powered by technology that gathers, organizes and presents data in real time and in a central location, BLDUP enables brokers, developers, subcontractors, manufacturers, vendors and other interested parties to rapidly pinpoint business opportunities.
Using the platform, CRE professionals can track projects from land acquisition through completion, and can access construction site status updates with accompanying images, saving them travel time. The result: fewer precious moments spent on research, more on key decisions the insights make possible. The product serves professionals in virtually every area of the real estate development value chain, including those in permitting and entitlement, design and construction, sales and leasing and property management.
Firms seeking to market to the BLDUP audience also benefit. For example, View, the nation’s premier smart window manufacturer, seeking to expand within the Northeastern region of the U.S., took advantage of the BLDUP platform to enter the Boston market.
BLDUP monetizes its platform in two ways. First, through its professional services arm, the company helps more than 20 clients each year leverage the platform for sales, marketing and public relations. Via BLDUP, they can publish their company pages, project portfolios and project updates to gain more pre-sales during construction. General contractors, subcontractors and vendors can garner more business by utilizing the BLDUP platform to spotlight projects to which they have contributed. Second, BLDUP produces revenue through its SaaS product, In The Know. Through this product, subscribers can gain real-time updates on projects and organizations they have selected. Customized, automatic updates are delivered to their email and dashboard.
While at present fully operational only in Massachusetts, the company is closing a seed round to expand its tech and sales and provide in-depth data on the top 10 MSAs across the country by next summer. So far, the company doesn’t really have a competitor, Coughlin says, as it is the only CRE market intelligence platform that supplies pre-completion project data.
Other companies in the space cover projects after construction.
“BLDUP will be a national brand,” Coughlin says. “The goal is for the brand to fill a space that exists online for the users that desperately need this data readily available. [Its] objective will always be to keep up wih the ever-increasing complexity and pace of the construction process by providing early-stage data before anyone else can.”