CBRE kicked off 2017 with a continuation of its recent acquisition-based growth strategy. The company announced yesterday that it has acquired, Floored, Inc., a provider of technology that allows users to create layouts and test-fits for properties, create interactive 3D tours, and experience virtually-created properties. This acquisition is the latest in a series of acquisitions by the Real Estate Brokerage firm spanning the past year and a half. The moves don’t appear to be designed to achieve a solitary business goal; instead, the multiple businesses brought under the CBRE umbrella could be placed into three broad categories: improving competitive advantage for its brokers through technology innovation, and 2) expanding its global footprint by purchasing smaller brokerages and affiliates, and 3) widening its portfolio of service offerings.
The Floored acquisition definitely falls into the first category. The New York City-based startup offers two key innovative tools, Protofit and Floored Build, that can help create a mutually beneficial scenario for brokers and tenants by improving the buying, leasing, and building experiences.
Protofit lets would-be tenants compare vacant spaces and customize their floor plans by simply accessing a link, where they can make changes, get updated space metrics, and perform a virtual 3D walkthrough of their newly imagined workspaces. The floor plans even pull images directly from Google Earth to show prospects how surrounding scenery would appear when looking out a window.
Protofit allows brokers to see who is using the tool, what they are changing and how much time they are spending modifying their plans. These simple analytics features can help brokers gauge a prospect’s level of interest and areas of concern or opportunity.
Protofit’s 3D modeling capabilities help brokers demonstrate space efficiency to clients who might have otherwise been leery of a particular property because of its lack of raw square footage.
Last year, CBRE announced its acquisition of Forum Analytics, LLC, a software and analytics provider of real estate planning, forecasting, and site selection solutions. Forum offers several tools for its SIMMS online platform that help users with basic demographic benchmarking, analog engines, or holistic regression-based sales forecasting, as well as planogram optimization solutions that help tenants make better decisions on floor space allocation and merchandising.
The company acquired Global Workplace Solutions from Johnson Controls in late 2015, a move that improved CBRE Group’s ability to deliver integrated, full-service solutions including Enterprise Facilities Management (EFM), Advisory & Transaction Services (A&T), Project Management (PJM), and Management Consulting.
In 2015, CBRE entered the affordable housing market by purchasing Tax Credit Group (TCG), a leading provider of advisory, investment sales, debt and structured finance, and research services to owners of Affordable Housing.
CBRE has also purchased growth by acquiring smaller brokerages and affiliates including Sitehawk Retail Real Estate, a leading retail real estate services firm based in Indianapolis.
In 2016, the company acquired an affiliate in Norway and agreed to buy a 49% stake in Malaysia’s real estate services provider – C H Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd, WTW Real Estate Sdn Bhd and WTW Property Services Sdn Bhd.
The CBRE Group’s acquisition spree shows no sign of slowing in the new year. What the company does next is anybody’s guess. The only thing that does seem certain, however, is a continued use of acquisitions to improve its growth and innovation objectives.