Spacelist’s approach to a new CRE Marketplace
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Bill MacEwen of Spacelist.ca. Spacelist has become one of my newest favorite listing sites. Not because it makes my life easier (I don't need to search for commercial real estate in Canada), but because the site serves as a great example of how Commercial Search 2.0 should look and feel.
Spacelist.ca is on a tear, listen to these stats -
368 Firms using the site
Currently home to 12,500 listings totaling 136,000,000 square feet of available space
This is roughly 60% of all for lease listings in Canada (they're targeting 80% by year end); they're seeing 100 new listings being added each day
The site processed over 1,000 inquiries last month.
I do feel like the CRE search site opportunity is becoming a little saturated (more in the U.S. than Canada). So, I took the opportunity to pose the question I ask most start-ups: What makes your site different from the rest?
Bill's (paraphrased) response:
SpaceList is focused on creating a comprehensive and open commercial marketplace. This means covering not only office, but also retail, industrial, and land. It also means removing paywalls on the search side and technical barriers on the listing side.
While I do not see that this would be a significant differentiation for a listing site here in the States, it actually is in Canada (from what I can tell).
Because Costar hasn't really rolled out north of the border (yet, I've heard mention of folks seeing their vans on the streets of Toronto), trying to build a robust marketplace by covering a wide variety of product types makes sense.
This is counter to the trend we've seen here in the States over the last 18 months, where listings have focused on certain listing product niches (i.e. OfficeSpace.com, 42Floors.com, TheSquareFoot.com).
The only real search alternative I've heard of in Canada is Altus Insite, which still has a listing site 1.0 feel to it.
Best of luck to Bill and his team.