What does the office of a high growth startup look like?

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san francisco office space

How did you feel when you walked into your office this morning?

It’s probably not something you took note of. Think about it the next time you’re walking in. If you’re unhappy too many days in a row, your productivity may drop. Your work could suffer. You may even start looking for jobs elsewhere in a few months.

That’s exactly what startups try to avoid by investing in a great office. Startups who experience rapid growth and manage to raise (or make) a large amount of money are willing to go the extra mile to make their office space truly amazing.

Here are a few quickly growing startups who took investing in their office space seriously.


Thumbtack helps consumers hire experienced professionals to accomplish personal projects (like improving your singing). With a 321% headcount growth rate over the past 2 years and $148,200,000 in funding, Thumbtack took building a beautiful, 23,000 square foot office in SoMa, San Francisco, CA seriously.

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Of all the companies in this article, Postmates has the most staggering employee growth. In the past 2 years, their headcount has grown by 2,038%. Delivering anything in your city on-demand, 24/7, PostMates is now available in 15 states, but they call California home. Their digs in San Francisco that host most of their 385 employees aren’t too shabby.


Now, San Francisco isn’t the only city with beautiful startup office space. SoundCloud, the online community of artists, bands, podcasters and creators of music & audio have bucked the trend. They have offices all over the world to house their 392+ employees, but over $120,000,000 in funding and a 143% headcount growth rate over the past 2 years allowed them to splurge on this beautiful New York City office.

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Boasting a 177% headcount growth rate over the past 2 years, NewsCred, the leading content marketing software, has built a beautiful homebase in NoMad, New York, New York for its 205+ employees. Here’s the type of space you can afford with $46,750,000 from great investors like FirstMark Capital and Greycroft Partners.

It may be difficult to tie the beauty of an office directly to the success of a company, but we have a feeling these companies are on to something.

Image Credits: Officelovin

Sources: All data from Mattermark

Brokers: How to Become a Trusted Early Advisor of a Growing Startup

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A familiar story

You’ve already heard the story I’m about to tell you.

In August 2004, Peter Thiel led Facebook’s $500,000 seed round, it’s first source of outside investment. Having founded PayPal, Clarium Capital Management, and Palantir, Thiel was a force in Silicon Valley. His investment took the form of a convertible note, only to be converted to equity if Facebook grew to 1.5 million users by the end of 2004.

The company missed the mark, but Peter Thiel gave them the benefit of the doubt, and left Mark Zuckerberg with a lasting piece of advice. “Just don’t f*ck it up.”  (1)

Peter Thiel was first. He was relevant. He trusted his gut. His initial $500,000 investment turned into a $1+ billion payday 8 years later.

Investing in startups and finding office space for startups is quite similar. If you want to win business and find office space for the fastest growing startups in your city, you need to become a trusted early advisor.

You need to be first. You need to be relevant. You need to trust your gut.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the free report of 34 San Francisco Startups That Will Need Office Space Soon

Act like an investor


A good investor won’t write a check for a startup unless the company is showing signs of growth. Yet, these signs aren’t always obvious. If an investor waits until every major publication is covering a startup, she’ll miss out on the deal.

You don’t want to miss out on deals, but you also don’t want to waste time with startups that will never grow into a large office. Start looking for signs that not everyone else can see. Being first can make or break a career.

Every broker you’ve spoken to recently is buzzing about a particular company, but that doesn’t mean you should waste your time searching for connections you have to its COO or CFO. How much has its headcount grown over the last month? Over the last 6? When was the last time they raised funding? How does its trajectory compare to other startups in the vertical? How is its website traffic growing?

Your answers to those questions will keep you from getting distracted by hype, and shed light on smaller companies that are truly destined for massive expansion. Ones that other brokers are completely unaware of.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the free report of 34 San Francisco Startups That Will Need Office Space Soon

Be relevant online


How can you beat a broker out on a deal when he has a personal connection to the founding team?

At the end of the day, a startup’s founders are held accountable for making the best decisions for the business. If you successfully position yourself as the commercial real estate broker for startups, it would be irresponsible for the founders to go with anyone else. There is one way to make it irresponsible for them to go with a broker just because they are friends.

You can be visible where they are hanging out online. The majority of the startup community spends its time on Twitter, Blogs, and Product Hunt. Pro tip: don’t spam them about what you’re offering as a broker.

Instead, educate yourself on the ecosystem. Read the (shameless plug) Mattermark Daily to see what the most influential investors and founders are talking about every day across blogs. Follow people like Marc Andreessen, Sam Altman, and Dustin Curtis on Twitter for a pulse on the community. Check Product Hunt daily to familiarize yourself with the most talked about new products.

Once you’ve gone through your startup crash course, be yourself. Feel free to comment on products and news in the ecosystem. The next time you’re being introduced to the founder of a hot company, don’t be surprised if they recognize your name or face from somewhere. You will gain a massive amount of respect in that entrepreneur’s eyes if it turns out they remember you from a comment you left on Product Hunt.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the free report of 34 San Francisco Startups That Will Need Office Space Soon

Trust your gut

The odds are now stacked in your favor.

You’re able to use data to uncover the fastest growing startups before everyone else, and you’ve positioned yourself as the startup commercial real estate broker.

The last step to become a startup’s early advisor is trusting your gut. Other brokers you’re competing against may catch wind that you’re venturing into the startup space, or maybe even learn of the specific companies you are talking to.

To beat out the competition, it’s up to you being yourself and conveying to the founders how much you care about their product/service, and how you’ve helped similar teams in the past. If you actually believe in them, and what they are working on, the message will ring true.

And you might be looking at a new life-long tenant.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the free report of 34 San Francisco Startups That Will Need Office Space Soon

Image Credits: NY Post, TechCrunch  

Sources: (1) Peter Thiel Wikipedia page


Commercial Real Estate Brokers: Get to Know the Investors in Your City

Published on in real estate, Venture Capital by

commercial real estate

Exclusive Bonus: Download the free report of 34 San Francisco Startups That Will Need Office Space Soon

Stop missing opportunities

Let’s talk again about missed opportunities in commercial real estate.

On September 27th, 2013, legendary investors Hunter Walk and Satya Patel of Homebrew Ventures invested in the Seed round of a small company called Shyp.

Want to guess how much their headcount has grown since then?

It’s up by over 2,600%.

In that time, I can guarantee you Shyp has had to look for a new office (or two) to fit all its new employees. It’s too bad that you weren’t the broker who helped them find their new home.

Now imagine if you were a close friend of Hunter’s and he recommended you to Shyp’s founders as the best commercial real estate broker around. You would have made a killing on commission. You would also be the first broker to come to mind as the company continues to expand and look for larger offices.

So why are you still spending time canvassing cold tenants in your city one by one? Go after investors and beef up your referral pipeline in a fraction of the time.

If you’re serious about landing the biggest startups in your city as clients, here are a few questions you should be asking yourself.

What type of investors should I be meeting?

commercial real estate startups

Exclusive Bonus: Download the free report of 34 San Francisco Startups That Will Need Office Space Soon

Now, not all investors are created equal.

If you spend your time networking with investors that specialize in anything after Series B rounds, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Set your sights on Angel Investors that are present for Seed or Series A rounds.

At this stage, investors aren’t just dropping off their money and running. They are becoming trusted advisors who will help the startup overcome all hurdles – big and small. For many founders, finding an office is one of the most stressful processes they are forced to deal with. It’s a major decision and any good early stage investor will want to make that process as smooth as possible, so the entrepreneurs can get back to what they’re good at: building the business.

This is when the timing is perfect for you to become a trusted advisor and close a startup that needs office space.

You can also think of investors at this stage as quality control. There is only so much you can tell when a team grows from 8 to 10 people, but this is when the stakes are the highest. The last thing you want is to waste your time meeting a company whose growth is tapering off, only to blow off a small team that is about to blow up.

If the startup comes with a big name investor attached it tells you one thing; they are serious about growing.

Are there enough angel investors out there for me to meet?

 startup office space

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In the Bay Area alone, there are over 753 Angel Investors who have done anywhere from 1 to 128 deals. Kevin Rose and Rick Marini are two of the more notable names that come to mind (1).

In New York City, the number of Angel Investors is closer to 341 with deal volume ranging from 1 to 147 (2). David Tisch and Jeff Pulver are two of the more well-known angels in that market.

The point is, there’s no need to feel like there aren’t enough investors to connect with. Many of them invest in multiple startups every year. Befriend one of them and you could increase your visibility to a universe of rapidly growing companies you had no idea existed.

Where should I be networking with them? 

commercial real estate broker

Now we’re talking.

The investment community is more tightly sealed than the startup community in the sense that you’ll need to rely on personal connections to make introductions for you.

Your best shot is tapping into your network of current startup tenants. Ask them to introduce you to their investors, and position yourself as a broker who consistently does a great job representing early-stage startups.

If you don’t have any startups as clients, you’ll want to start attending Tech Meetups. There are many out there, but check out Startup Grind first. It connects entrepreneurs, investors and others in the startup ecosystem in over 150 cities and 65 countries.

Two notable early stage investors, Hunter Walk of Homebrew Ventures and Thomas Korte of AngelPad, have both been guest speakers in the past. Being close friends with either could make a commercial real estate broker’s career.

To be clear, it will be tough to stand out at one of these events. Shortly after a guest speaker finishes a talk, he/she is swarmed by attendees. Don’t count on having a lengthy conversation. Instead, use it as a chance to get meaningful face time with the investor. When an email shows up from you the next morning, he/she will think twice before deleting.

Maybe it will even be passed along to a portfolio company.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the free report of 34 San Francisco Startups That Will Need Office Space Soon


Image Credits: Wired, This Week in Startups, Meetup Startup Grind

Sources: (1) According to Mattermark data on Angel Investors in San Francisco. (2) According to Mattermark data on Angel Investors in New York.