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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Real Estate Startup Exits Incubator to Meet Demand

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A startup that helps local companies find and lease office space recently graduated from incubator EvoNexus in Irvine and moved into its own office in Newport Beach.

TenantBase uses technology to reach what it calls an underserved market via automated transactions and access to real estate professionals through its website. It considers startups and small businesses to be underserved because those kinds of companies typically lease smaller spaces, which means smaller commissions for traditional commercial real estate brokers.

The move out of EvoNexus at The Vine in University Research Park marks the next phase of its Southern California expansion, including hiring entry- and senior-level employees to manage the growing demand for office space in OC.

The startup serves tenants and landlords. A recently upgraded tenants’ website integrates a more efficient map and filtering structure, according to chief executive Bennett Washabaugh. A new dashboard for landlords is intended to help expedite office suite leases.

TenantBase raised $900,000 in seed funding, he said, and opened a Series A venture capital round in March for an undisclosed amount to fund its expansion.  

It’s placed many companies, including startups, into office space owned by Irvine Company, Newport Beach-based Olen Properties, and the Colton Company, based in Irvine, Washabaugh said.

TenantBase experienced more than 100% growth in customers and sign-ups from February to March after a soft launch in OC in January, he said. Customers are companies that already have signed a lease through TenantBase, and sign-ups are companies that have simply signed up to use the company’s services. Signing up for the service is free for both tenants and landlords. When a tenant signs a lease, however, TenantBase asks to be compensated with the market-standard commission fee.

The company plans to fully establish its presence in Southern California during the second and third quarters of the year, including Los Angeles, San Diego and the Inland Empire, Washabaugh said.

It was founded in 2014 in Nashville. TenantBase Executive Chairman Greg Hawkins is the former chairman and chief executive of Buy.com.

Millennial-Focused Firm

A Newport Beach-based media startup that aims to help millennials achieve entrepreneurial dreams is expanding its online content. Trade Kraft Media calls itself “the first knowledge-video network,” providing original video content and digital courses for millennials who want to become entrepreneurs.

Its founders include Ash Kumra, chairman of OC’s Tech Coast Venture Network, who has been recognized by the White House for entrepreneurial success; Peter Scott, an author and international peak-performance coach; and former NFL player Anthony Trucks, an author and speaker.

The startup did a soft launch in November with a Facebook video channel. It will launch a video marketplace in May offering two options: more of its free courses and fee-based, premium videos that expand on certain topics. It will also provide an expanded video library.

This week, Kumra will be interviewed about starting Trade Kraft on “Live With Lisa,” a new cable TV show presented by Atlanta, Ga.-based Cox Communications. The host is Lisa Song Sutton, a serial entrepreneur, one of Trade Kraft’s co-creators and Miss Nevada 2014. Trade Kraft will host its second event May 12 in Santa Monica featuring a panel discussion by female entrepreneurs.

Digital Coupons Offered

A digital marketing startup recently launched a digital-coupon feature on Facebook. Rallio, based in Irvine, intends to do the same on Instagram next quarter, according to chief executive Chuck Goetschel.

Client companies can place posts on Facebook that users can click on to have digital coupons sent straight to their phone.

“What’s exciting to the business owner is they can now post on social media and boost it with our tool, so everyone within a certain radius can see it,” Goetschel said. “And when [our customers] log into their Rallio dashboard, they can see how many people viewed, claimed and redeemed [the coupon] and the revenue generated by it.”

Rallio’s clients pay nothing extra for the new feature, Goetschel said, as it’s been integrated into Rallio’s existing technology.

Rallio specializes in serving large retail chains with multiple locations, like New York City-based Verizon, which has approximately 6,000 retail stores and is one of Rallio’s customers.

Its funding has come from friends, family and angel investors, Goetschel said.

NASA Apps Finalists Chosen

The second annual NASA International Space Apps Challenge was held recently at PeopleSpace, a co-working space in Irvine. The top two projects chosen to compete as finalists in the global competition were Dronematic, which created an app giving small-drone operators detailed information about weather conditions, local terrain and no-fly zones within a 5-mile radius of their GPS locations; and Solar Atlas, an interactive simulation of Mars to help space explorers research and plan missions using NASA’s data.

Deborah Diaz, the chief technology officer of IT at NASA, was one of the four judges. She traveled to the competition from NASA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

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