JLL, Khosla lead Jones’ $12.5M Series A for real estate vendor compliance – TechCrunch
Commercial real estate tenants and property managers must adhere to strict liability rules that every seller who enters the property must have insurance certificates and meet other requirements. The approval process for this can currently take days and is still largely on paper.
Enter Jones. The New York-based commercial real estate startup curates a marketplace of pre-approved providers for renters and property managers to find and hire the employees they need in a legally compliant manner.
To further expand its network, the company announced Monday that it had raised $ 12.5 million in Series A funding led by JLL Spark and Khosla Ventures, including strategic investors Camber Creek , Rudin Management, DivcoWest, and Sage Realty. According to Crunchbase data, this new investment brings Jones to $ 20 million.
Jones, founded in 2017, also manages certifications and approvals and moves the whole process online. Its technology can process an insurance certificate in less than an hour and reduce the vendor’s overall approval time to 2.5 days – from 12 days – with 99.9% accuracy, Co-Founder and CEO Omri Stern told TechCrunch.
The accuracy part is key. Since much of the work is done by hand, the current accuracy is around 30%, he added. Additionally, the certifications are lengthy and it is usually up to the property managers to analyze the insurance documents to determine what is missing, rather than spending time with the tenants.
“In the consumer world, a homeowner expects to find a service in a marketplace and discontinue it,” said Stern. “Office managers and tenants cannot win their preferred providers through the approval process, so we want to offer a similar digital experience that they can consume and use in real estate.”
He says that what sets Jones apart from competitors is that there is everyone involved: a group of high-profile real estate clients including Lincoln Property Co., Prologis, DivcoWest, Rudin Management, Sage Realty, and JLL.
Yishai Lerner, co-CEO of JLL Spark, agrees, telling TechCrunch that commercial real estate is one of the largest and final asset classes to go through a technology shift, much like fintech was 20 years ago.
He estimates the US market at $ 16 trillion, of which the technology could unlock much of the value. That opportunity was one of the reasons JLL started JLL Spark, where Jones is one of its earliest investments.
Although Lerner spent time with on-site property management teams, he got closer to the problem when, while moving, his wife learned that their salespeople were not allowed into the building because they didn’t have the right insurance.
“We learned that property managers spend half of their time verifying the compliance of sellers entering their property,” Lerner said. “We asked ourselves why there is no technology for this. Jones was in construction at the time, and we took them to commercial real estate because they had an example of how technology could solve the problem. “
Meanwhile, Serie A comes at a time when Stern has seen Jones’ SaaS tool take off in the past 10 months. He would not go into concrete terms with growth metrics, but said that the growth driver is “competition against the status quo” as companies look for and adapt workflow solutions.
The company intends to use the new funds for product development to gain faster and easier approvals and attract new vendors. Jones already works with tens of thousands of vendors. It will also focus on integration and offer an API that could be used in other industries where compliance is required.
Stern would also like to continue building up the team. After consulting real estate experts, he is now also looking for people with a background in fintech, cybersecurity and insurtech to bring in additional perspectives.
“We are building an incredible company with the potential to become the next big digital marketplace,” he added.