At the crossroads where brick and mortar meet digital, the commercial real estate industry is frothy these days. There are endless solutions looking for problems to solve, most of it well-intentioned but ill-conceived by developers outside, or at best, at the fringes of our industry. The goal at Caret, a proptech company formed by experienced commercial real estate executives, was to provide a platform to increase operational efficiencies and mine the data to make better informed asset management decisions.
Our team sat down with one of the founders of Caret, Rob Blackwell, to discuss how Caret is changing the way tenants and building owners and managers interact with their buildings in this digital age.
What is Caret and how did it come to be?
RB: The idea for Caret started during a redevelopment of a downtown office highrise. We were attracting a number of new users to that building who were not your traditional large office users. These smaller companies were less hierarchical than traditional ones, and this led to more people interacting directly with our management team whenever they had questions or needed to place a service request. We wanted to create an app where we could not only facilitate this conversation, but also easily connect our tenants to all of the new amenities we had included in the redevelopment. We quickly recognized the value in removing the traditional “gatekeeper” role that many tenants use when they want to interact with their building. By democratizing the communication process, we have been able to connect with all users of our space, not just the office administrator of the typical tenant.
These days, ease of use is everything. How does Caret make this process easier?
RB: Ease of use is exactly where we wanted to start, but there was no blueprint for this in our industry. We wanted to empower tenants with the ability to easily submit service requests, something typically not done in the past because the process was to either call the call center or log onto a desktop. By adding service request functionality to Caret, we created the most convenient platform that allows tenants to voice issues, and in turn allows Operations and Property Management teams the opportunity to address tenant issues in real time. This process drastically improves the tenant experience and has paved the way to add access to tenant amenities. Caret not only provides the platform to place a service request or receive building information updates, but also allows the ability to book building amenities like the gym or golf simulator, all using the same app.
Tenant spaces are a reflection of their brand. How does the Caret platform help the tenant maintain their brand, and do you think this adds any value to the tenant experience within the building?
RB: We wanted to make service requests a lot easier, which in turn, increases pride of ownership because people will get results quickly. The platform also helps us keep tenants informed, and this is a step that is typically missed. When a tenant places a service request, in the old way of doing things that would be the end of the one-way communication. They never knew the status, or if there was a delay for some reason. The Caret platform allows for real time updates, giving the tenant a sense of control over their space. Helping tenants feel more engaged and empowered within their space is a powerful thing.
Creating this process was not easy, what went into creating the Caret platform?
RB: We spent three years developing the platform and building the app, and we had a couple learnings throughout the process, but these learnings were imperative to get to a product that we are proud of, and one that we think provides value to all the stakeholders. We are leveraging more and more data from our assets and getting a deeper understanding of how our tenants and management team are interacting in our buildings. This is helping us refine our asset management strategies, while improving the overall tenant experience. Caret has simplified the way in which Asset and Property Managers, Building Operators, contracted staff and tenants interact. We think this platform is a critical tool that every commercial building owner or manager needs. For more information on Caret and what we do please reach out on our contact form.
Most Property Managers know the acronym MBWA, which stands for ‘Management by Walking Around.” We’re familiar with the phrase because experience has taught us that there’s nothing like walking a site or property to understand where to focus your attention at any given moment should be