The coronavirus pandemic could have made 2020 a terrible year for a startup focused on disrupting the management of commercial real estate leases. Instead, the opposite happened, according to Taj Adhav, co-founder and CEO of Leasecake, who recently received $ 3 million in start-up funding, made possible in part by participation in the Tampa incubator Embarc Collective.
The Covid-19 crisis accelerated the already long-term decline in the need for brick and mortar retail space, but it also caused havoc in the office space market as companies emptied cubicles and sent workers home to help reduce the spread of the virus. With commercial property vacancies on the rise, landlords and tenants disagreed on the details of leases, rent payments, insurance and other details.
“Now more than ever,” Adhav told the catalyst, “people need to keep a closer eye on things.” Good enough is no longer good enough. What Covid revealed was a very real risk in business that obviously commercial real estate leases had to be renegotiated or reworked, but if you don’t know where that information lives, you don’t know what the cut-off dates are, what the rental prices are Who the landlord is, it’s starting to show that there is an incredible hole in your organization. You thought you played together, you thought you had a system that was good enough, but in fact you didn’t. “
Leasecake is a cloud-based software-as-a-service platform that can be used by landlords, tenants and brokers to track cash flow, the expiry and renewal of rental contracts, as well as critical clauses in rental contracts and many other time-sensitive, business-critical ones Aspects of one or more commercial properties. It’s also available in a mobile app and replaces outdated business and accounting software that wasn’t specifically designed for real estate management.
“It replaces a lot of other systems that don’t quite meet the needs of a traditional business,” said Adhav. “Excel spreadsheets, of course, but we also see Google and Dropbox as well as Outlook and calendar reminders. But even if you look at project management systems like Salesforce or Monday.com, these are systems that are not easy to manage and can be scaled very quickly. Therefore we take the best in class for each of these solutions and offer them in a very consumer-oriented, customer-oriented application. “
Leasecake is headquartered in Orlando, but some of its largest customers, like Ideal Image, are based in Tampa. Adhav plans to increase the company’s stake in Embarc Collective as the workforce doubles from 10 to 20 this year. A trained accountant, Adhav knows the pros and cons of running a business thanks to a decade managing a $ 2 billion portfolio for Walt Disney Co. However, he’s also no stranger to the world of high-risk, high-reward tech startups: He was an early employee at Channel Intelligence, which was acquired by Google for $ 125 million in 2013.
“I love doing business,” he said. “Although I’ve always been a financier, successful exits help you understand what you’re capable of and what makes you tick.”
Adhav said Leasecake’s successful $ 3 million financing round – led by Las Olas Venture Capital in Fort Lauderdale – would not have been possible without the Embarc Collective. Investment firms from New York, Cleveland and the US West Coast also participated in the starting round.
“We’re one of their first companies outside of the Tampa market,” he said, “but I can only say amazing things about how supportive they are and how much value they add – not just in the US.” Tampa Market, but the Central Florida Corridor as a whole, due to the resources they put in in a way that is completely organic for businesses to grow. “
Mark Volchek, founding partner of Las Olas Venture Capital, said in a press release that Leasecake is an ideal match for what his company is looking for in startups.
“What we love about Leasecake is that it offers a competitive advantage over real estate events,” explained Volchek. “Customers use the platform to track renewal options, expiration times, and critical clauses that are included in a commercial real estate lease. Leasecake is also the tracking tool for everything from business licenses and insurance renewals to fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance contracts. At Las Olas, we focus on investing in vertical software solutions for these types of industry problems – business critical areas that older solutions ignore. “