The world of commercial real estate is notoriously tricky. There aren’t tons of great sources of information for tenants to consider in order to make the best possible decision. But Tenavox is a new startup in the Houston area that’s aiming to change that.
Read about the company and how it aims to help small businesses in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Provides information for lessees about commercial real estate listings in the Houston area.
Co-founder Josh Feinberg told Small Business Trends, “We have launched our platform dedicated to helping small businesses make better lease decisions at Tenavox.com. In the past four weeks since launch we’ve rolled out over 4,000 buildings here in the Houston area, 150+ reviews and a growing with over 1,000 buildings added per month. Tenavox is built to educate, empower and provide transparency to a historically opaque industry, leasing commercial real estate.”
Providing unbiased resources.
Feinberg says, “We’re not brokers, we’re not transactional and we don’t seek representation or commissions from our members. We just educate and connect.”
How the Business Got Started
Because of a former client’s bad experience.
Feinberg explains, Originally the idea was incubated after talking to a former client of mine. I started in Tenant rep, made her deal some 9-10 years back and we lost touch after I rotated to the investment side of the business. She called me on the verge of tears one evening after she had renewed her lease on her own. Her original deal had come up and the new owner of the building pressured her into a renewal at aggressive rates, under threat of non-renewal if she did not get it done quickly. He also indicated she needed to sign quickly. She got nervous and pulled the trigger.
“Two months later her expenses went up almost 50 percent and she is having trouble paying her rent. I did what I could for her but something she said stuck with me, she said “it’s easier to get good information on a car, or a house, or even a hotel, but not with my lease. And now I regret making it”. I mulled that for weeks, fortunately we were able to get the attorneys involved and shore up her situation as well. In the meantime I shared with her my idea for Tenavox, a site built for Tenants, to allow people just like her to educate, learn and tell others how their lease experiences are in the hope they don’t make a bad or uninformed decision. She was extremely receptive, and the idea was born. 9 months later we have almost 1000 users in Houston less than a month after launch, the need is real.”
Getting its first review.
Feinberg says, “It was a huge deal when someone learned about us and organically left their feedback on our site. Tenants helping Tenants, powerful stuff.”
Launching a beta.
Feinberg says, “Just being live is incredibly scary, especially when 1 percent of what you envision is built out. But the feedback helped drive and curate our true launch here last month and users experiences have been invaluable to shaping our platform.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Growing the team.
Feinberg says, “Engineers and marketing folks are our top needs right now.”
Feinberg explains, “Our company mascot is my little dog, ShamSham, you can find her on a lot of our promotional social channels.”
“You can drag a horse to water … but you can’t make em drink.”
Feinberg adds, “It’s one of those quotes that constantly reminds me no matter what you build it may not be for everybody and not to take it personally, because many people will find value in what are creating.”