Location: New York, NY
Industry: Real estate and technology
Co-founder and CEO
A CRUCIAL PIVOT
SquareFoot is a leasing marketplace for commercial real estate. “Before relocating to New York City, we launched the business in Houston with a completely different business model: We were an online listings platform that aggregated listings from various sources and charged landlords and owners to list on our platform,” says Jonathan Wasserstrum, co-founder and CEO of SquareFoot. “We were solving the first layer of the problem: Listings were fragmented, there was little transparency in the process and businesses struggled to find what they need.” However, when the company decided to replicate the model in New York City, it discovered this wouldn’t work because owners were not willing to pay for listings and businesses needed help through the entire leasing process. Today, SquareFoot employs an in-house brokerage team and helps tenants with everything from search and discovery to touring, lease negotiations and signing.
Quick Tip: “A great leader surrounds himself with people who are better, smarter and more experienced than he is and lets them flourish.”
Wasserstrum’s most important lesson in leading SquareFoot has been that people are the biggest asset. “I may have conceived the idea and started the company with my two co-founders, but we couldn’t be here today if it were not for the people on our team,” he says. “Each one has made valuable contributions to the business and helps us continually improve our product, service and even brand voice and company values.”