By Meghan Hall
For decades, the commercial real estate industry has operated by word of mouth and personal connections. However, an emerging tech platform is looking to change the status quo by helping companies within the CRE industry showcase their work and make contact with other project teams. ProjectMark, founded by former college roommates and industry consultants Tom Deane and Noel Brady, has been designed to provide a long-lacking method to leverage professional relationships within the commercial real estate industry. The Registry spoke with Deane on ProjectMark’s rising network and marketing platform, and its potential to shape how the commercial real estate industry connects to and sources talent.
Please tell The Registry a little bit about ProjectMark. How did the vision for a CRE-based network and content hub initially arise?
In construction, finding the right people with the right experience is critical to a project’s success. However, finding local, qualified companies is typically limited to your existing networks and this doesn’t always provide the most suitable candidates. I’ve been in numerous meetings where the question comes up, ‘’Does anyone know who’s worked on that project?!” Even for the large organizations most people know, it’s a process trying to find out their specific presence at a local level.
On a project Noel and I were involved in, that question was constantly being asked. We were literally looking at similar projects asking ourselves how we find out who was involved. That was the light bulb moment as they say. There was a missing link that provided a great opportunity for ProjectMark to step in and bring a new platform to light.
Regarding the content hub, as we began building the platform and onboarding early members, we saw great opportunities in helping companies manage their content, and optimize their data stored to streamline their BD/Marketing workflows.
From your perspective, what was it like trying to build and design a CRE tech platform as professionals with plenty of commercial real estate experience, but while still fairly new to the tech world?
It’s been an amazing albeit challenging experience. Our domain expertise has certainly helped us relate to our members as we incorporate feedback and continue to enhance the platform. I think the management and people skills you acquire in the CRE industry are uniquely transferrable to starting a tech company.
For all the new experiences (which there are plenty!), there’s a great community of people in the contech space that have been willing to lend a hand or share advice. This has been instrumental for us in navigating new waters.
How is the platform design specifically around the idea of the “eight second attention span”?
If you’ve seen the documentary ‘’Social Dilemma’’ (If not I recommend) it really dives into how distracting our phones have become. It is truly eye opening how our attention is constantly being competed for and sold.
This has been top of mind as we continue to build ProjectMark. It is more critical than ever to engage your audience in an interactive and innovative manner.
Our member profiles are intended to be the perfect online elevator pitch whilst we’ve placed a big focus on user engagement with our report tools.
In terms of process and business strategy, why did ProjectMark decide to incorporate features such as workflow management, company organograms and proposal/qualification report development, in addition to its original idea of a CRE network?
Great question – as we were onboarding and discussing ProjectMark with our early members we saw great opportunities to optimize the data they were uploading for other business activities. Developing tools that provide independent value for our members has really been our core focus to date.
How do you think ProjectMark will achieve network effect?
Another great question. Our goal firstly is to provide value to our members, independent of the network. As our network grows, we have tools in our pipeline to drive network activity and bring more audiences to the platform.
Who are some of ProjectMark’s members?
We’ve a host of AEC companies across multiple disciplines and sectors:
- General Contractors – Skyline Construction (& companies), Matt Construction, Descor Builders, Peacock Construction, Rylko Builders
- Owners Reps – Pacific Program Management, Impec Group, Facilicorp, Construction Testing Services
- Architects – AP+I, HGA, Quezada Architecture, WDA
- Subcontractors – Anning Johnson, Architectural Woodwork of MT, SME Steel, Cleveland Marble, Pacific Stair
I could go on! Check out our platform for more great companies!
Can you speak to ProjectMark’s onboarding process? How does this help companies streamline and effectively create their ProjectMark profile?
Yes, we’ve made it really easy for companies to onboard with us. We’ve been there every step to ensure it’s an easy process. We also offer to build the bulk of the profile for our members with the content they share with us (from websites or qualifications reports) – this has helped fast track the process.
What are some of the biggest benefits to using ProjectMark as a platform?
On the ProjectMark network side, companies can be found by project experience, a key factor in winning new work, building new relationships or attracting the best talent. Members can associate with each other’s projects, follow and favorite members & projects and get notified with their network updates.
With our reports section, we help streamline the SOQ development process, allowing members to develop collateral both in PDF and microsite (digital) format. With the microsite, we’re pushing the barrier on how qualifications information is presented – from a dynamic map feature, adding video content, to interactive team profiles. Furthermore, our report analytics section gives our members the ability to track client engagement.
Our ProjectMap embed feature allows companies to use their customized ProjectMap in multiple other scenarios. For example companies can embed their ProjectMap on their websites. Updating the ProjectMark account will simultaneously update the map embedded in any location. Additionally, the map can be used for zoom presentations or interview situations.
Have you received any feedback from ProjectMark members? If so, what have been their thoughts and how have you worked to incorporate their feedback into the platform?
Feedback has been instrumental to us. Where we are today and our future roadmap has been underpinned by conversations we’ve had with our members. We’ve built some great relationships with our members so far and there’s definitely an excitement around what we are setting out to accomplish.
What is your favorite feature of ProjectMark? Why?
Favorite feature, that’s a tricky one!
I’d say I’m most excited about the microsite reports right now. Referencing your above question about attention span, engagement is key when displaying content & especially when trying to sell why your company is qualified for a project. We asked ourselves, can we provide a new experience in addition to our PDF reports tool. Our microsite is an interactive environment that still gives off the proposal feel. More to come here!
Why did ProjectMark decide to launch and gain its initial critical mass in the San Francisco Bay Area? What markets does ProjectMark hope to target next and why?
San Francisco made sense as Noel & I reside and worked here and we knew it would provide a great starting point for ProjectMark. Although we’ll be continuing to prioritize local markets for now, ProjectMark doesn’t rely on the network being active for our members to see value in us. We have early members in Canada, on the East Coast, and even Ireland!