Depending on where you are in the world, it’s hot. And as temperatures continue to rise, so too does the risk of drought — even though nearly three quarters of the globe is covered in water. What does our climate have to do with data? Well, it’s a lot like the water in this scenario. Data is all around us, but unfortunately just because there’s a lot of it, doesn’t mean that it’s always accessible or usable.
Those that have embarked on the journey of becoming more data-driven know that it can be a daunting undertaking – particularly for those in commercial real estate. Underwriting a single deal is a process that requires a unique and particular mix of local expertise, external data sources, and of course, the ever-illusive lender’s intuition. While there are plenty of data providers out there today, sadly, it can still be incredibly complicated and frustrating to put that data to work.
Solving this problem is ultimately what brought together CRE technology companies Blooma and Cherre. What began as a series of conversations over the last few months has quickly snowballed into a formal partnership that combines the power of Cherre’d data integration engine and the intelligent workflow and automation of the Blooma platform. Together, these two companies are joining forces to help empower CRE firms to become data-driven, and more importantly, to change the data paradigm for the entire industry.
DATA: UNPACKING A COMPLEX PROBLEM
Oftentimes in the technology space the problem lies in changing a mindset or behavior, which is no easy task (a million failed New Year’s Resolutions stand testament to this). In the case of CRE and data, the issue is not why, but how. Many companies have unsuccessfully embarked on the journey of trying to cobble together one master data set or technology solution to rule them all. The problem lies in an almost impossible level of nuance, variation, and detail.
Put simply, it’s not only a matter of aggregation. There are deep technical challenges involved with connecting datasets that were never designed to work with one another. There are separate datasets for building, parcels, and owners. Each of which is vastly complex and cannot be easily lined up by any one variable – a problem that cannot be solved by assigning an ID, for example. This challenge alone has burned many companies.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the inherent complexity of the data itself, lies a much larger and more systemic issue: there is a longstanding history of vendors in the space refusing to work together due to lack of trust, bureaucracy, and blanket competition of market share. Taking a look at some of the challenges that pioneers in the industry have faced, this skepticism today is understandable, but it means that the frontier before us is largely uninhabitable without a major paradigm shift. Without access to core datasets, no aggregator or application can have a meaningful impact on the industry. At best, they can be a sideshow for broker lead gen or BI dashboard building. True change can only come from taking a different approach. An approach that Cherre has modeled for the rest of the providers in the industry. Cherre CEO, L.D. Salmanson, sums up the problem for us, “CRE data is disparate, incomplete, siloed, expensive, and fundamentally incompatible. Models are only as good as the connected data that feeds them, and seemingly simple questions around asset value and risk are still very complex and hard to answer as a result.”
LET IT FLOW: CRAFTING THE PERFECT SOLUTION
Beginning this month, users on the Blooma platform will have access to connected property, title, mortgage, demographics, crime, and tax data via the Cherre API – a move that will effectively end the need to hunt and gather information from disparate sources and the key value add for customers from the partnership.
Blooma COO, Tal Almog, puts this in context, “For the most part, the relationship between data providers and customers today is not designed with the customer in mind. Accessing the data they pay for is a tedious and cumbersome process that forces them to login into separate portals and copy/paste that information elsewhere to make it actionable. This is what we’re trying to eliminate in our partnership with Cherre.”
The partnership will roll out in a series of phases, beginning with the integration of the following connected data sources through the Cherre API into the Blooma platform:
- Cherre CoreConnect Foundation (standardized, mapped, and resolved property, title, mortgage, demographics, crime, tax data, etc.)
- Hazard Hub (environmental data)
Over time, the integration will expand to include enhanced functionality that will allow users to pick and choose which additional connections they want to see in the platform. This feature is altogether unprecedented in the world of CRE and would be the first of its kind, putting users in the driver’s seat and empowering them with a la carte insights.
‘CHERRE PICKING’ THE PERFECT PARTNERS
Built together with industry veterans, the value of partners is not lost on the founders of Blooma. The tech company has crystallized their partner strategy into an ethos that rests on the belief that we can do more together than we can accomplish alone. Put more simply: we’re better together. Since its inception, the leadership at Blooma has taken great pains to choose the best of the best in the industry to strengthen its core functionality and help take the guesswork out of this process for its customers. This criteria made working together with Cherre an obvious choice. “What it really comes down to for us are shared culture and values. We believe in working towards the democratization of data and putting data where customers actually want to use it, and Cherre is doing some ground-breaking work to help do this in the industry,” says Tal. “They are a true partner and are working with us to help create a solution that leverages the best of what they have to offer, with added flexibility to create a solution that our shared customers actually want.”
Founded in 2018, Cherre has quickly taken the world of CRE by storm, establishing themselves as the industry’s leading data integration and insight platform. “Our vision for Cherre has always been extremely far-reaching,” says Salmanson. “We want to transform real estate investing, underwriting, and management and in order to do that, we’ve got to bring together the entire industry — for the first time ever. The impact we can have together is so much greater which is why these partnerships are so incredibly important.” Today, Cherre is helping customers connect all their real estate data into a single-source of truth, enabling data-driven decision making across the entire organization. Cherre’s customers can quickly and accurately report on performance, automate processes, and maximize investment strategies. Plus, Cherre’s growing connections marketplace makes it easy to seamlessly connect new data sets, providing a holistic portfolio view contextualized and benchmarked against market-wide intelligence.