We met up with Matt Chapdelaine from Commercial Connected recently. What is Commercial Connected all about? As they put it, “Commercial Connected is a Professional Commercial Real Estate Sales & Leasing platform designed by Commercial Real Estate Professionals for Commercial Real Estate Professionals. With thousands of Commercial Real Estate listings updated daily by top brokerages & owners, Commercial Connected is truly the fastest growing CRE Platform in the country.” Matt tells us more about the concept, how it came about, and where they’re headed.
StartupCatchup: Please introduce us to Commercial Connected, Matt.
Matt: Commercial Connected is a Commercial Real Estate Sales, Leasing, and Matching platform for the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. The company was founded by two CRE Brokers with over a decade of experience, along with a skilled programmer. In its first year the site has thousands of users completing commercial real estate transactions across the country.
StartupCatchup: How did you come up with the idea for Commercial Connected?
Matt: As a commercial real estate broker in Chicago for a over a year, I knew that there had to be a better way to use technology to complete more transactions. I wrote down everything that I wanted in a new site, as well as everything I didn’t want…then began building accordingly. Being a CRE broker for 12+ years, I knew what I was looking for.
StartupCatchup: What made you actually take action and go for it?
Matt: Commercial Real Estate brokers are entrepreneurs by heart. As the owner of my own Brokerage firm I knew I had it in me to learn a new skill set and start building. Taking the first step was easy – where I was going with Commercial Connected was a bit harder.
StartupCatchup: How many people are currently working on the project and who are they?
Matt: Commercial Connected currently has 2 programmers, two marketing specialists and 2 sales staff. Each member is a specialist at what they do and is vital to our success.
StartupCatchup: How are you funding the project?
Matt: Commercial Connected is self funded by design – money runs out but sweat equity has so far proven to be very plentiful with this very committed team. We have been approached by investors, but we much prefer giving equity to committed employees. Commercial Connected generates enough revenue to cover our daily expenses.
StartupCatchup: What are your plans for the business and what do you hope to accomplish?
Matt: Deploying our matching feature this fall was a big milestone – and in the short term we are catching up on some small items. 2015 will feature industry leading user experience with virtual property tours, better matching and continued user growth.
StartupCatchup: What has been the most rewarding experience so far on the journey?
Matt: It’s hard to identify just one thing. Getting our first 1,000 users was big, getting our first 10,000th listing was big too. The best milestone continues to be hearing that buyers, sellers, landlords & tenants are completing more deals on Commercial Connected.
StartupCatchup: What, if anything, would you have done differently looking back on the journey now?
Matt: I’m sure I could think of a few things, but I don’t dwell on that. Some of life’s most important lessons come from failures so there’s value in everything we do.
StartupCatchup: What would you advise others who have an idea but simply don’t know where to begin?
Matt: My advice is just start. No one I know has every died building a new company – so anything you screw up will only be temporary. Once you figure it out – and you will figure it out – it’s a great feeling.
StartupCatchup: What motivates you to keep going on a daily basis?
Matt: Rarely does a day go by now that I don’t hear back from a user with a good story about Commercial Connected. Either them taking time to say thank you, or taking time to let us know how to improve the site – I can’t get enough of that.