Ad-tech startup Collective looking to break 57K sf lease at former NYT building

Following layoffs, firm negotiating with Columbia Property Trust to get out of 229 West 43rd St.

Collective CEO Joe Apprendi and 229 West 43rd Street near Times Square
Collective CEO Joe Apprendi and 229 West 43rd Street near Times Square

Advertising-technology startup Collective Media is looking to break its 57,000 square-foot lease at the former New York Times building following a reported layoff and corporate restructuring.

Collective, a player in the relatively new adtech industry where software automates the media-buying process, split its business into two separate groups in December and laid off 50 employees nationwide, according to

The company is headquartered at Columbia Property Trust’s 229 West 43rd Street, where it’s just two years into a 10-year lease for 57,000 square feet on the eighth floor of the 12-story building.

Collective is now negotiating to get out of its lease, sources told The Real Deal, and Columbia may already have a new tenant lined up to take the entire eighth floor.

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A representative for Collective declined to comment, and a leasing team representing Columbia did not return calls.

The adtech firm’s ups and downs are representative of a much-hyped industry struggling through some growing pains.

Under CEO Joe Apprendi’s direction, Collective grew to be one of the ad-tech business’ most promising startups, and was rumored to be heading toward an initial public offering when it relocated to West 43rd Street in 2014. As recently as last spring, the company boasted a venture-funding haul totaling more than $86 million, according to Business Insider.

But the industry as a whole had a tough year in 2015, and Collective was just one of several companies that trimmed their payrolls in response. They include the publicly traded Rocket Fuel, which let go nearly 130 employees in the spring and then made plans to slash its footprint in half.

In January, Rocket Fuel signed a lease for roughly 42,000 square feet at L&L Holding Co.’s 195 Broadway in the Financial District.  The company planned to sublease its headquarters in Herald Square, where not even two years earlier it signed a 10-year deal for 90,000 square feet at Vornado Realty Trust’s 100 West 33rd Street.