Months after paying over $200 million to acquire real estate data firms EDR and ExactBid, a tech startup that’s attempting to create a Bloomberg Terminal-like platform for real estate just picked up two additional companies.
New York-based Lightbox, backed by venture capital firm Silver Lake Partners, said Monday that it had acquired Real Capital Markets, a commercial real estate marketplace, and Digital Map Products, a cloud-based location and mapping platform. The firm did not disclose the value of the acquisitions.
The latest acquisitions bring Lightbox’s total portfolio of companies to four, including EDR and ExactBid, which provide due diligence, risk management and software-as-a-service tools on real estate assets. Each of the four businesses will ultimately operate under the Lightbox brand. Its CEO Eric Frank said Lightbox currently has 50,000 customers, and more than 500 employees.
Led by Frank, a former board member and advisor to Daily Mail General Trust’s real estate arm and an ex- Thomson Reuters executive, Lightbox plans to acquire established tech companies and create an information digital platform for professionals inside and outside the real estate industry.
“You have a very fragmented industry, which has a very small vendor community, and very siloed solutions,” Frank said in an interview. “And that has impeded the ability of the commercial real estate marketplace to really adopt and leverage technology to its fullest potential.”
Frank said Lightbox’s goal and ambition is divergent to that of Moody’s Analytics’ Reis Network, and CoStar’s suite of products, which primarily provide tools geared toward real estate professionals, and consumers. Instead, he said the operating company will serve as the real estate equivalent to that of financial markets information services, like S&P, Fitch Ratings, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg, which will interpret the real estate industry for financial firms, environmental firms, land developers, builders, appraisers, buyers and city planners.
Real Capital Markets, which claimed last year that over $1 trillion in deals were conducted on its platform over a five year period, will add a commercial real estate marketplace to Lightbox’s suite of tools. The firm says almost 70,000 transactions have been conducted on its website. Digital Map Products, which was launched in the 1990s, will add environmental mapping and location services to Lightbox’s offerings.
The company did not disclose its total received investments, but it is majority backed by Silver Lake, a tech-focused private equity investor with $45 billion under management, and Battery Ventures, a Boston-based investment firm with almost $7 billion under management. Frank, the firm’s chairman and chief executive, has a minority stake in Lightbox.
EDR’s chief executive, Chris Aronson, left the company shortly after it was acquired by Lightbox. He was recently hired as chief commercial officer at real estate data firm Compstak.