NYC-based, Mark Smukler and Alex Ohebshalom are exactly the type of young entrepreneurs we need to be attracting to the commercial real estate tech space. As I wrote recently in my Q and A with Diane Danielson of SVN International, attracting young people to the commercial real estate industry is paramount to the health and viability of the industry, but the same holds true for the tech sector as well. If anything, attracting the likes of Mark and Alex is perhaps even more important as I believe that the future of the commercial real estate lies in embracing tech. These guys are the real deal. They have the drive, hunger, passion and ideas to build something truly spectacular.
Alex and Mark have backgrounds in both tech and real estate making them the idea entrepreneurs to fix inefficiencies in the sector. Their entire focus is on helping residents of apartment buildings live better by streamlining the communications with property managers and building operations. The site was completely born out of Mark and Alex’s personal experiences. To me, that's always the best sign that a startup will succeed, when the founders “scratch their own itch”. And what they are building is the next generation of property management.
Bixby is an easy-to-use web and mobile platform helping facilitate communication, commerce, and convenience for the resident community. For property owners and managers, local businesses or service providers, real estate brokers, and of course, residents, Bixby helps everyone involved in the life of a building community effortlessly. It takes only a few minutes to add the property to the site and then seconds to add the tenants.
The core features today on Bixby are really cool! The Message Board component streamlines management and resident communications, the maintenance request system is an easy tool to organize and schedule requests as well as an on-line rent paying system and can also be used in the event of an emergency. The other part of what Mark, Alex and their team are doing is working with local service providers and merchants to deliver services to the buildings where their app is in use. By integrating with many other products and services seamlessly, it's the foundation for all communications! I friggen love that. Right now Bixby is 90% residential focused and 10% office but the APP can really scale to any property type of any size!
It’s one of the last miles of the service chain that I think has been often overlooked by landlords…creating an environment where residents can connect with their local community. Check out this feature here on partnerships.
While I am all for coming into an industry and trying to profoundly change it, I honestly think the ones that will succeed initially in the real estate tech space are the ones who take a part of the industry that is inefficient and make it efficient. Make it in real time. Create a two sided communications portal and platform. That’s exactly what Mark and Alex are building!!!