Better together: CRE crowdsourcer CompStak raises $4.4M

Latest funding round takes total venture investment in firm past $10M

From left: CompStak's Michael Mandel, David Peterson and Vadim Belobrovka (Credit: Trevett McCandliss & Nancy Campbell)
From left: CompStak's Michael Mandel, David Peterson and Vadim Belobrovka (Credit: Trevett McCandliss & Nancy Campbell)

CompStak, a real estate data firm that tapped into crowdsourcing to start a marketplace of lease “comps,” has raised $4.4 million in its latest funding round, the firm’s CEO Michael Mandel told The Real Deal. Venture capital firm Canaan Partners was the lead investor in the round, which takes CompStak’s total venture funding past the $10 million mark.

“This is really us just trying to pour some fuel on the fire,” Mandel said. “We want to double down on our product team and our salespeople.” CompStak’s revenues, user base and data have grown twelvefold since the firm raised $4.45 million in Series A financing in April 2013, Mandel said, though he declined to offer specifics about revenues.

Other investors in the funding round include investment firm dmgi, a backer of real estate ventures such as Trepp and Real Capital Analytics, along with Expansion VC — the venture-capital arm of the Melohn family — and real estate investment firm Rubenstein Partners. The cash infusion in CompStak is the latest in a series of big bets on real estate tech startups, which have collectively raised more than $700 million over the past two years.

Mandel, a former leasing broker at Grubb & Ellis, and software engineer Vadim Belobrovka founded CompStak in January 2012. To crack into a market dominated by established players like CoStar Group and LoopNet (now owned by CoStar), CompStak devised a crowd-powered model in which brokers trade their information about lease “comps” – info about rents, square footage, building income and tenants – in exchange for other comps.

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By making knowledge the sole currency of exchange – brokers cannot pay for information – CompStak was able to quickly build a large database of leasing activity. Its enterprise clients, which include Tishman Speyer, Wells Fargo and a major sovereign wealth fund, pay large sums for access.

But CompStak’s success hasn’t come without hiccups. In April, CoStar filed suit against four of its users, alleging that they had illegally taken proprietary CoStar data and shared it on CompStak. CoStar later dropped the suit, but not before CompStak was forced to reveal the identities of the four users.

The firm is now in 12 cities in the U.S. and plans to expand further. Most of its 40 employees work out of a 7,700-square-foot office at 36 Cooper Square. Half the space is sublet to food startup Plated, but CompStak will absorb the space when Plated moves out next month.

The company’s latest initiative? CompStak-branded M&M’s, which have been making the rounds in New York’s rapidly-growing real estate tech community.