Commercial Brokerage Meets Tech Startup

Tech startups have infiltrated most industries, providing efficiency-adding solutions to many businesses. However, the commercial real estate brokerage business has not benefited from such innovation – until now. 

Hightower, a one-year-old company, produced a software platform for commercial real estate brokers. Cofounder and CEO Brandon Weber, a computer scientist turned commercial broker, saw a need for such software in the industry.

Hightower provides an easy way for brokers to track deals and manage documents to specific properties. Their payment structure is per property, so there is a low barrier for entry to the software. While they intend to produce revenue from users, obviously, another viable option for them is big data. Data companies salivate over the kind of data that will be passing through Hightower’s software frequently.

The software saw considerable success since launching. Hightower has commitments from several commercial real estate heavy weights including CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Jones Lang LaSalle and Colliers. This is just a sample of its first 40 clients. The company raised more than $8 million in investor capital thus far, with every reasonable expectation that it will have successful growth. Who knows; maybe Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group will be the next client!

 

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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