In the commercial real estate data industry, access is key. With this in mind, one firm is attempting to secure what it calls “exclusive” partnerships with the biggest data providers — a move that has befuddled competitors.
Reonomy, a New York-based analytics firm that pools public data from other sources and repurposes it for its portal, has over the past three months announced a trio of “exclusive” or “preferred” partnerships with commercial real estate data providers including CoreLogic and Dun & Bradstreet.
On Monday, the company announced its latest agreement with Black Knight to use its property-record data.
But the partnerships have stirred confusion among Reonomy’s competitors, who have standing data sharing agreements with these data providers, and are unclear on whether they will be able to continue to access their commercial real estate data offerings.
“We reached out to [CoreLogic] about it and didn’t get much clarity,” Bob White, the founder and chief executive of commercial real estate data firm Real Capital Analytics, told The Real Deal.
White downplayed the significance of CoreLogic’s agreement with Reonomy, and said that his own firm relies on many other data sources.
“I have a long term deal with them, so I’m not particularly worried,” he said.
Many other commercial real estate data firms – including Attom Data Solutions, Credifi, CoStar Group and Moody’s Analytics Reis Network – use data from the three providers that Reonomy has partnered with.
But the providers have been vague when it comes to explaining what their partnerships with Reonomy mean for others.
CoreLogic did not respond to a request for comment before deadline, and Black Knight said in a statement that “all current Black Knight commercial real estate data data customers will continue to receive and/or access our data as they do today. In short, there will be no change for our current clients.”
With the exclusive partnership with Dun & Bradstreet in May, Reonomy is the only firm where the data provider’s commercial real estate company information and insights will be available. Dun & Bradstreet pointed to an earlier press release, which stated that Reonomy will become the “exclusive data redistribution partner of Dun & Bradstreet content for the North American commercial real estate market.”
Richard Sarkis, Reonomy’s co-founder and chief executive, told TRD that the exclusives are merely an effort to protect Reonomy’s proprietary information from being reshared with customers of its data providers.
“We’ve had to expose the crown jewels,” Sarkis said. “We don’t want them to show every Tom, Dick and Harry how this is done.”
He said that his firm provides data-as-a-service that standardizes commercial real estate information — including transactions, ownership and geospatial data — and synchronizes the aggregated information from its data providers.
“We have cracked the code on how to make commercial real estate data sing,” he said. “And these companies had an interest in commercial real estate, but hadn’t found a way to participate in the area.”
Reonomy’s strategy has so far paid off. Since it launched in 2013, institutional investors have poured $70 million into the New York-based firm, including a $30 million funding round last year backed by Softbank, Bain Capital Ventures and Sapphire Ventures.
The increasing number of partnerships with data providers is part of a wider push in the real estate industry that is moving toward a “common symbology” in data, which is currently prevalent in equity and financial markets, according to Eric Frank, the chief executive of Lightbox, a real estate information firm that is actively acquiring established data companies.
“In real estate, that doesn’t really exist,” right now, Frank said. “And so a lot of folks are trying to bring that to the market.”
For now, other data firm’s are trying to make sense of the partnerships. White, RCA’s chief executive, said that the lack of clarity from the data providers on their agreements with Reonomy has continued to raise questions about whether they will be able to use their data in the future.
“Virtually anyone in this space has a contract for title records with either one of [CoreLogic or Black Knight], if not both,” said White.
There remain a handful of other major data providers in the sector that are yet to sign exclusivity agreements with Reonomy, including the title insurance company First American.
CompStak, another analytics firm, which relies on crowdsourced data entry to provide building comps, has contracts with Black Knight and CoreLogic. Michael Mandel, CompStak’s chief executive, said that his firm would not be affected if those firms were not able to provide him with data.
But, he added, for companies who primarily rely on Black Knight and CoreLogic, Reonomy’s partnerships “will certainly have an impact on them.”
“It is a smart strategic move for [Reonomy],” he said.