A real estate company surprised employees with $10 million in bonuses at a holiday party

Harry & David Grand Signature Gift Baskets will never hit the same way again. At its annual holiday party, a Maryland commercial real estate developer announced it’s handing out $10 million in bonuses to its 198 employees this year. The average bonus at the firm, St. John Properties, was $50,000, but some got as much as $250k. One brand new team member who hadn’t even started yet got $100.

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Real Estate Technology

RentSpree Achieves Highest Cybersecurity Compliance

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

RentSpree, the industry's premier end-to-end rental management software provider, announced it achieved System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type II compliance, demonstrating RentSpree's commitment to data security and adherence to industry-leading information security policies and practices. Acknowledged as the leading data security standard for SaaS providers, SOC 2 Type II compliance involves a rigorous process, ensuring that a company securely manages data, safeguarding both the organization and the privacy of its customers. Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the SOC 2 Type II audit provides a report on the examination of a company's controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. RentSpree's audit report was issued with a "clean" audit opinion from national audit firm Sensiba LLP. "This achievement is huge for us and was a top priority this past year as the integrity of our systems and the policies and practices we have in place to protect sensitive information is integral in today's marketplace," said Michael Lucarelli, CEO and Co-Founder, RentSpree. RentSpree offers rental software solutions such as tenant screening, online applications, document automation, e-signatures, denial and approval communications, and property landing pages. RentSpree has also added renter services capabilities including rent payment reporting. "While we've consistently prioritized the security of our platform, having this affirmation from a nationally-recognized third-party auditor adds further validation that we are implementing the necessary measures to safeguard our systems and users," said Jonathan Holland, Chief Technology Officer, RentSpree. In addition to auditor Sensiba LLP, RentSpree utilized Drata, the leading compliance automation platform, to streamline its compliance efforts and continuously monitor its security controls. About RentSpree Los Angeles-based RentSpree is a provider of award-winning rental software that helps seamlessly connect real estate agents, owners, and renters to simplify and automate the entire rental process, from listing to lease. The all-in-one platform is known across all 50 states for its easy and secure interface and suite of rental tools, including tenant screening, rent payments, marketing and renter management. To date, RentSpree has partnered with more than 300 of the most influential MLSs, real estate associations and brokerages to serve over two million users in the U.S. RentSpree has been ranked on Inc. 5000's fastest-growing private companies in 2022 and 2023.

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Real Estate Investment

Pennington Partners & Co. Announces Launch of Real Estate Investment Vertical

PR Newswire | January 04, 2024

Pennington Partners & Co., a multi-family investment office that specializes in working with entrepreneurs, CEOs / founders, and their families, has announced the launch of Pennington Real Estate Partners (PREP). The new vertical will make direct investments in residential and commercial real estate across the United States, providing new and existing Pennington clients with proprietary real estate investment expertise. The new offering will focus on tax-advantaged investing including Opportunity Zones, structured equity, and senior secured lending given emerging opportunities in the existing marketplace. The launch represents an expansion of the Pennington team with the addition of Taylor Coe and Alex Rongione. Both come from distinguished careers in institutional real estate investment management, most recently at Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners, and will join the firm as Managing Directors and members of the PREP Investment Committee. As leaders of Pennington Real Estate Partners, Coe and Rongione will each be responsible for designing investment strategies, sourcing opportunities, executing business plans, and realizing investments. Additional information and bios can be found below. "Pennington Real Estate Partners opens the door to many new opportunities for our clients," noted Brian Gaister, co-founder and CEO of Pennington Partners. "We have expanded our in-house real estate investment expertise that will allow us to capitalize on investment opportunities throughout the United States. We are incredibly honored to have Taylor and Alex join us to lead this new endeavor. Both bring significant experience that will be essential in uncovering and navigating new investments." The launch of Pennington Real Estate Partners comes on the heels of notable growth and expansion for Pennington Partners. The firm closes out the year with more than 100% growth in assets under management, the launch of a new offering in private equity, and has been recognized in numerous industry accolades. "We're thrilled to be joining forces with a top-tier firm like Pennington, where we can add commercial real estate and associated structured finance to the array of opportunities available to our advisory families," added Coe and Rongione. About Taylor Coe and Alex Rongione Taylor Coe joins Pennington Real Estate Partners as a Managing Director and member of the PREP Investment Committee. Prior to joining Pennington, Taylor was on the equity investment team at Walker & Dunlop Investment Partners ("WDIP"), a middle-market real estate investment platform with over $6.1 billion of assets under management as of his time of departure. At WDIP, Taylor was responsible for closing investments with a total capitalization in excess of $1.3 billion. Taylor is also the founder of Sunshine Peak Partners, a boutique investment management firm, and is a graduate of the University of Colorado. Alex Rongione joins Pennington Real Estate Partners as a Managing Director and member of the PREP Investment Committee. Prior to joining Pennington, Alex was also on the equity investment team at Walker & Dunlop. He contributed to all aspects of the investment process including but not limited to capital raising, strategy, origination, and execution. At WDIP Alex was responsible for closing investments with a total capitalization in excess of $1.7 billion. Alex is a CFA charter holder, a NAIOP Developing Leader, and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. About Pennington Partners & Co. Originally founded to serve the needs of the two founding families who have built and sold companies in various industries, Pennington Partners & Co.'s mission is to elevate the lives of highly successful entrepreneurial founders and their families. We provide a breadth of investment, wealth planning, and personal financial administration solutions that were created by and for founders, CEOs, wealth creators, and multi-generational families. We partner with successful families and their advisors by providing objective advice, strategy, sophisticated investment solutions, and family office services to generate meaningfully higher efficiency while maintaining the intimacy of a single-family office. In short, our vision is to transform the landscape of financial advice for families of complex wealth, in order to deliver better outcomes.

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Real Estate Technology

Cushman & Wakefield Collaborates with Microsoft to Enhance AI Technology Platform

Business Wire | January 25, 2024

Cushman & Wakefield, a global leader in real estate services, today announced the firm is working with Microsoft to deploy an advanced suite of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. “We are committed to seamlessly integrating our people with the right technology and processes to enhance service offerings to our clients. Today’s launch of the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 at Cushman & Wakefield again demonstrates our ability to pair robust technologies with market intelligence and expertise,” said Salumeh Companieh, Chief Information & Data Officer, Cushman & Wakefield. Since 2018, Cushman & Wakefield has been focused on aligning business, data, and operations. Results to date range from an 80% material reduction in operational cycle time, to a reduction of client supply chain costs via proprietary supply chain network optimization capabilities. Azure OpenAI Service Azure OpenAI Service is a cloud-based generative AI solution that offers customers a range of capabilities, including access to cutting-edge AI models, backed by the power of Azure. With Azure OpenAI Service, Cushman & Wakefield can benefit from the power of cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to deliver innovative solutions for its clients and stakeholders. Azure OpenAI Service enables Cushman & Wakefield to create custom copilots that can enhance customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and increase competitive advantage. The platform enables developers to build, deploy, and manage AI solutions for various scenarios and domains. Some of the features of Azure OpenAI Service include machine learning, cognitive services, bot framework, computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition and more. Microsoft Technology Centers Microsoft Technology Centers are facilities that provide immersive experiences and deep technical engagements in 50+ locations around the world. Microsoft Technology Center architects collaborate with academic, industry, and government partners to advance the state of the art in AI and create positive impact for society. The Microsoft Technology Center is providing Cushman & Wakefield with access to cutting-edge research, tools, and top specialists from Microsoft and its partners to develop powerful and adaptable applications that use AI features. It is also providing insight into various areas and problems that need AI solutions, with learning and improvement through feedback and advice. Copilot for Microsoft 365 Copilot for Microsoft 365 brings the power of next-generation AI, grounded in the user and company’s data, to Microsoft’s workplace productivity tools like Teams and Outlook and Word. It works alongside users to provide suggestions, summaries, generate, analyze and explore content and data across documents, presentations, spreadsheets, notes, chats, email, meetings, and more. Ensuring the safety and security of interactions with Generative AI is a crucial value driver for Cushman & Wakefield. Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers a high level of security for how the firm leverages GPT models, providing confidence that data is not exposed for training and does not leave the company’s ecosystem, thus safeguarding confidential information. “With this next generation of AI, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation at Cushman & Wakefield and across commercial real estate,” said Laura Craig, General Manager, Data & AI, Microsoft. “We’re collaborating with Cushman & Wakefield to bring together AI advances that benefit from Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Copilot for Microsoft 365 to empower the firm’s professionals with new, AI-powered tools.” About Cushman & Wakefield Cushman & Wakefield is a leading global commercial real estate services firm for property owners and occupiers with approximately 52,000 employees in approximately 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2022, the firm reported revenue of $10.1 billion across its core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. It also receives numerous industry and business accolades for its award-winning culture and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and more.

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