A Discussion with Poonam Mathis
When Poonam Mathis founded StealthForce, a platform that connects clients with on-demand commercial real estate consulting services, she expected that tech-savvy millennials would be quickest to apply. To her surprise, however, more experienced commercial real estate professionals have flocked to the platform, including appraisers, CFOs, and investment directors - all with 20 to 30 years of experience.
And some of these seasoned pros also happen to be CCIMs.
Mathis, who recently spoke at the CCIM Global Conference in Toronto, has more than a decade of experience in real estate herself. Before founding StealthForce, she was deputy to the head of global real estate asset management for Partners Group, which has $40 billion in assets under management. She also earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard and a master's degree in business administration from Wharton.
Like many CCIMs, her interest in the industry stems from a family connection. “I'm a developer's daughter at heart,” she says. “I grew up walking raw land, construction sites, unfinished buildings, and ultimately new spaces.”
With StealthForce, Mathis has created a new space that she hopes will contribute to an evolution of the industry mindset. “The status quo of generalist talent, research, and insight applied to disparate opportunities leaves nuance misunderstood and money on the table,” she explains. StealthForce aims to provide “specialized and scalable” resources tailored to each project, regardless of firm size.
The arrival of the gig economy is only one of the factors that could fundamentally change commercial real estate. And Mathis contends that embracing these changes will be the key to thriving in the coming years.
“For too long, many in real estate have thought about competitive advantage as guesstimating the right cap rate to underbid the next guy, or building and hoarding local market data, or wining and dining well,” she says. “With all of the innovations in commercial real estate … it's becoming less and less of an opaque market.”
Increased transparency will “ultimately shift the focus to building the best product, designing the best public/private partnerships to do the most good, and designing the most optimal live/work spaces,” Mathis explains. “Those professionals with the best knowledge- and judgment-based skills will be the ones that win in the next generation of real estate.”