The Real Deal New York

Psst, heard about that deal? CompStak to bring its crowdsourcing model to sales

CRE data firm will compile NOI, cap rate data
By Hiten Samtani | October 02, 2017 12:45PM

Michael Mandel (Photo illustration by Lexi Pilgrim for The Real Deal)

CompStak, the real estate information firm that shook up the clandestine world of office leasing by introducing crowdsourced comps, is now taking on the investment-sales space.

CompStak will begin crowdsourcing key metrics such as net operating income (NOI) and cap rates from brokers, as well as aggregating and analyzing information from public records, according to Michael Mandel, CEO of the firm.

“We’re now in direct competition with the likes of Real Capital Analytics, CoStar and REIS,” Mandel said in an interview with The Real Deal. “All of the nuance we capture on the leasing side,” he said, will now be brought to sales. CompStak users can use the data to make pricing decisions, and figure out when to invest and when to sell, he said.

The company, founded in 2011 by Mandel and Vadim Belobrovka, pioneered an “it-takes-a-village” approach to the world of lease comps. Brokers were incentivized to report market chatter about lease deals – including holy-grail intel such as effective rent and concessions– in exchange for access to other lease comps. It took a discussion that usually happens at parties and industry events and compiled it into an online database that CompStak claims now accounts for nearly every office leasing transaction in Manhattan.

The bulk of CompStak’s revenue comes from its enterprise offering, which caters to institutional clients, pension funds, real estate investment trusts, and lenders. Customers include Wells Fargo, Boston Properties, Tishman Speyer and Carlyle Group. These firms pay CompStak an average of about $50,000 annually, according to sources at the company. CompStak has raised about $20 million in venture capital so far, and is now in 70 markets across the U.S., offering office, industrial and retail leasing comps.

As it expanded, CompStak struck up partnerships with other well-capitalized real estate data firms, such as VTS, Argus and Xceligent. Together, the firms are shaping up to be viable competitors to CoStar Group, the publicly-traded behemoth that has had the commercial real estate data field pretty much to itself since it acquired rival Loopnet in 2012 for $860 million. (CoStar also made big strides into the residential data space, acquiring Apartments.com for $585 million in 2014 and ForRent.com for $385 million last month.) CoStar hasn’t sat by as competition crept in, however: Both Xceligent and CompStak have faced headwinds as a result of lawsuits filed by CoStar.

Mandel declined to disclose CompStak’s revenue. In May, the firm landed another investment from an undisclosed entity, according to Crunchbase.