Finance

Real estate data firm Cherre raises $50 million as everyone from landlords to investors is desperate to quantify post-pandemic building needs

  • Commercial real estate data firm Cherre has raised a $50 million growth round.
  • The round was led by Shanghai-based growth equity firm Trustbridge Partners.
  • Investors are looking to big data to guide them as norms for office and homes are upended.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Commercial real estate data firm Cherre announced today that it has raised $50 million in a growth funding round.

The round was led by growth equity firm Trustbridge Partners, a secretive Shanghai-based company with approximately $11 billion under management that controls WeWork China and has investments in Delos and Talkspace.

Other new backers included Israeli venture firm Glilot Capital and Goldman Sachs vice chairman Mark Schwartz. The round also included previous funders Intel Capital, Navitas Capital, and Carthona Capital, as well as debt from Silicon Valley Bank.

The company, which declined to provide its valuation, has now raised $75 million in total across three rounds.

Cherre — pronounced “cherry” and founded in New York in 2016 — has created an infrastructure tool that connects and combines data sets from different providers. Other real estate data companies, meanwhile, try to create their own databases.

Cherre’s approach allows customers to stitch together their own internal data with that of sector-wide big names including Trepp and Real Capital Analytics as well as smaller, sector-specific information from the likes of Hawk, which tracks data centers.

The data Cherre provides to its customers — who can range from investors and landlords to insurers and advisors — includes occupancy levels, local demographics, and status updates on building loans and mortgages.

Its $50 million investment comes as uncertainty continues to loom over the commercial real estate industry, with the future of giant office towers, in-person retail stores, and the tourism-driven hotel business at stake.

But the uncertainty created a major need for data, in order to figure out, for example, how many people were actually fleeing big-city apartment buildings to buy suburban homes and how deeply office landlords were discounting their vacant space for rent.

“If it wasn’t obvious, we exploded in popularity over the last year,” Cherre cofounder and CEO L.D. Salmanson told Insider.

A Deloitte survey of commercial real estate power players found that 34% of North American leaders and 58% of leaders of Asia-Pacific companies expect their firms to increase investment in data analytics this year.

The survey also found that 57% of the most sophisticated investors — private equity, hedge fund, and mutual fund respondents — are likely to use new alternative data sets this year in order to inform new investments and make decisions about existing ones in a post-pandemic world.

What the data costs — and what it shows

Cherre aims to bring together disparate sources of data into a single, overarching database.

“We need every data vendor,” Salmanson said. “We work in the middle as a hub to connect them all. We’re not replacing them, we’re going to empower them.”

The company works with dozens of data partners, having added 40 in 2020 alone. Customers pay a base fee of around $120,000 a year for access to Cherre itself, and then can integrate their own internal data, as well as purchase data sets from Cherre’s partners. According to Salmanson, the cost is much lower than it would be for teams to build their own comparable platform.

Users from insurance companies to private equity firms can manipulate the database using an application programming interface, or API, which allows the companies’ own data scientists and machine learning teams to study it. Those firms with less in-house technical prowess can use Cherre’s built-in dashboards and reporting tools to navigate the database.

While Cherre’s data partners track things like building loans, occupancies, and local demographics, Cherre also partners with human resources software company ADP to provide residential landlords with up-to-date data about their tenants’ income and employment across their entire portfolio.

Salmanson said this sort of data can help landlords and lenders estimate the exposure their portfolio has to certain groups of people, who may be more likely to move from big cities to the suburbs or back to their parents’ houses. Knowing demographics helps building owners know if they’re catering to remote-ready professions like lawyers or early-career Gen Z professionals.

“The resulting value proposition to both customers in providing a single source of truth for real estate data as well as to data partners in driving distribution is incredibly compelling,” Yoon Chang, co-head of the US investment team at Trustbridge Partner, wrote in a press release.

Salmanson built a similar company before, when he was a principal at research and advisory firm GreenCrest Capital. The company, founded and run by Cherre board member Boaz Rahav, collated data in the late-stage private equity space, and was sold to investment bank Oppenheimer in 2013.

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