Goodbye brokers? VTS launching online commercial leasing platform

Marketplace would focus on simple deals spanning less than 5,000 square feet

VTS CEO Nick Romito
VTS CEO Nick Romito

UPDATED, Nov. 28, 6:25 p.m.: VTS is getting ready to launch a business that would automate some commercial real estate deals.

The startup tech firm is planning to launch the platform early next year, and it will focus on letting landlords and tenants negotiate directly with each other on relatively small and simple commercial deals for less than 5,000 square feet, according to the Wall Street Journal. The system will work for larger deals as well.

The platform would allow landlords and tenants to negotiate deals without brokers, according to the Journal. But Nick Romito, VTS’ CEO, told The Real Deal that the product would be marketed to brokers, with the idea that the marketplace would make their jobs easier  similar to the way residential brokers use StreetEasy.

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The five-year old tech firm and has created software to help landlords keep track of leasing deals throughout the entire process. It has information on roughly 9 billion square feet of office space in the top 20 U.S. markets, which will serve as the foundation for their new platform.

VTS merged with its rival Hightower in 2016 and has raised $106 million from Blackstone and other venture capital firms. Co-founder Brandon Weber told TRD earlier this fall that he would step back from his day job at the company but continue to sit on its board and work as an adviser to Romito. [WSJ] – Eddie Small

Update: This story has been updated to include commentary from VTS that indicates the firm will be marketing the new marketplace as a tool for brokers.