Hacking the Commercial Real Estate Process

Q&A with Poonam Mathis, Founder of StealthForce

Poonam Mathis

In the fast-growing worker movement known as the gig economy, Poonam Mathis, founder of StealthForce, offers a simple, yet elegant solution to providing project-based real estate insights and customized consulting services on-demand.

With a B.A. from Harvard, a MBA from Wharton, and more than a decade of experience in real estate private equity, Mathis and her StealthForce team are poised to not only disrupt the industry but redefine how commercial real estate deals are made.

CCIM: What's the biggest opportunity for the commercial real estate industry today?

Mathis: Efficiency through enhanced access. For too long, many in real estate have thought about competitive advantage in terms of “guestimating” the right cap rate to underbid the next guy, or building and hoarding local market data, or wining and dining well.

With all of the innovations in commercial real estate, from listings transparency, to big data applications, to software tools enabling better landlord-tenant or GP-LP communication, to gig economy platforms like ours, it's becoming less and less of an opaque market. Relationships will always be key in this space, whether you're a developer, broker or investor.

But the new and growing transparency will ultimately shift the focus to building the best product, designing the best public-private partnerships to do the most good, designing the most optimal live-work spaces. The people who can do those knowledge/judgement-based things the best will be the ones that win in the next generation of real estate.

CCIM: What's the biggest threat facing the commercial real estate industry today?

Mathis: Myopia. The industry is changing, the demographics are changing, the stakeholders are changing, and the tools are changing. The industry needs to keep up or risk becoming less profitable than others in the long-term who have been quicker to embrace change, with lucrative results.

CCIM: What problem are you solving with StealthForce?

Mathis: Inefficient resourcing. We are leveraging technology to solve this problem which manifests itself in various ways in real estate. Typically, large shops deploy expensive generalists to review deals in wildly disparate markets with an almost academic approach.

At the other end of the spectrum, given their pay expectations, smaller developers and investors lack access to highly skilled talent. For real estate stakeholders both large and small, the myriad of new tools and technologies designed to increase their efficiency can be both confusing to digest and onerous to integrate.

StealthForce will solve these inefficiencies through one integrated platform where clients can access the talent they need, as well as the tools that will maximize their productivity, through one integrated source on a deal-by-deal basis. It's essentially allowing users to hack the CRE investment process.

CCIM: How can CCIMs and other commercial real estate professionals position themselves to succeed in the coming years?

Mathis: First, understand that your profession is evolving no matter what slice of real estate it is you live in. So, do whatever you can to better understand the fundamentals of the value added by other key players with whom you interact.

You don't know what your role will look like in ten years, but if you understand commercial real estate well, you will be much better positioned to adapt as needed.

Mathis will participate in the CCIM Global Conference, Oct. 16 in Toronto, as part of the Women Optimizing Our World session. Learn more at conference.ccim.com