BROKERAGE, REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Businesswire | April 20, 2023
Lessen, the premier tech-enabled, end-to-end solution for outsourced real estate property services, announced today a strategic acquisition of Blue Skyre IBE, a global facilities management solutions provider. This acquisition allows Lessen to extend its offerings in facilities management and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) solutions, as it continues to pursue its vision of bringing unparalleled operational excellence and efficiency, enhanced services and advanced technology to commercial and residential real estate—all under the direction of a single, unified platform.
Blue Skyre IBE Chief Executive Officer Maureen Ehrenberg and Chief Strategy & Product Officer Colette Temmink will join the Lessen leadership team. Ehrenberg is now president of Lessen’s commercial division, which was formerly the commercial division of SMS Assist, acquired by Lessen in January 2023.
Formerly CEO of Blue Skyre IBE, as well as a co-founder, Ehrenberg is an internationally recognized real estate industry business leader, with more than 35 years of experience in business process transformation, strategic positioning and operations of large, complex portfolios. Before co-founding BSI, she was the Global Head of Strategic Real Estate Operations for WeWork. Her previous experience also includes being International Director and Global President of JLL Integrated Facilities Management Services; Global Head of Integrated Facility Management at CBRE, and Executive Vice President of Grubb & Ellis Company and President and CEO of Grubb and Ellis Management Services, Inc. Ehrenberg was named to the Woman of Influence Hall of Fame by Real Estate Forum/Globe St.
Temmink is Chief Operating Officer of the commercial division.
"This acquisition advances our goal of providing a game-changing, tech-enabled service model for the entire real estate ecosystem,” said Jay McKee, CEO of Lessen. “Lessen and Blue Skyre share a vision of leveraging technology to help shape the future of real estate for a better world, solving pain points, and replacing complexity with transparency and operational efficiency backed by data-driven insights. With this most recent acquisition, Lessen is uniquely positioned to transform commercial and residential real estate to the benefit of all the stakeholders.”
Added McKee, “I’m thrilled to welcome Maureen and Colette to the Lessen family. Their experience, industry track record and expertise will be invaluable as we continue to broaden our reach into commercial facilities management.”
As president of Lessen's SMS Assist Commercial Division, Ehrenberg will drive business strategy and manage overall resources, partnerships, and operations to provide the most advanced and innovative integrated facilities management operating platform for commercial properties. Ehrenberg is focused on growing the enterprise client space, creating additional value, operational advances and savings for existing customers and bringing frictionless, fluid and ESG-focused operating solutions to the market, challenging the status quo.
“Leading Lessen’s commercial business division is an incredible opportunity to drive breakthrough innovation in facilities management,” said Ehrenberg. “The market is calling for a new business model for facilities management solutions; clients seek comprehensive data integration, real-time performance management, portfolio resiliency, service excellence and operationalizing ESG—all of which Lessen delivers through its advanced, integrated digital operating platform.”
As Chief Operating Officer, Commercial Division, Temmink is responsible for leading service delivery and operational excellence in the day-to-day support of clients.
Most recently Chief Strategy & Product Officer at Blue Skyre IBE, Temmink has also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Administration Officer at Apollo Education Group and held global real estate executive roles at Cushman & Wakefield, Oracle and Boeing. She is a renowned speaker and thought leader on corporate real estate, facilities management, ESG and PropTech. Temmink is the co-chair of the International Facilities Management (IFMA) ITC, a top-rated faculty for the MCR Capstone CoreNet course and serves as an editorial board member for the Corporate Real Estate Journal.
“Facilities management has been going through a transformation and Lessen has been at the forefront of this change,” said Temmink. “Delivering value, quality, predictive and efficient services to clients while providing real-time business insights is critical. Lessen’s dynamic approach to strategic integrated facilities management is exactly what the industry requires today.”
Lessen, together with SMS Assist, is the world class, tech-enabled, end-to-end property service provider transforming how commercial and residential real estate services are delivered and managed at scale. Our technology platform provides data-driven insights that unlock key growth opportunities for the entire real estate ecosystem—including investors, owners, managers, and service providers. Lessen enables local field managers to deploy and oversee a network of vetted, qualified vendors acting as one unit across distributed property portfolios—serving a national footprint of more than 1 million properties and completing more than 2.5 million work orders annually across an expanding range of services. Lessen, Inc. is a venture-backed, privately held company with offices in Scottsdale and Chicago. To learn more, visit Lessen.com and smsassist.com.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY, AGENT
Businesswire | May 15, 2023
CertifID, a leading wire fraud protection company, today announced the availability of an identity verification solution to help title agencies and real estate firms combat seller impersonation fraud. The solution augments CertifID’s existing capabilities that evaluate more than 150 markers of fraud, including the verification of wiring instructions and bank account information.
The new solution is aimed at addressing an alarming increase in seller impersonation scams involving vacant land. The real estate industry overall continues to be a top target for fraud, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Vacant lots scams in particular have been fueled by a downturn in existing home sales paired with an increase in vacant land prices, as noted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The news also follows an advisory issued by the U.S. Secret Service Cybercrime Investigations division in January, citing a “sharp increase in reports of real estate fraud associated with vacant and unencumbered property.” According to CertifID’s own research, 73% of real estate firms have seen a year-over-year increase in seller impersonation fraud attempts since the start of 2023.
To help detect seller impersonation fraud, CertifID recommends the use of its solution to comprehensively verify the identity of a seller in any property sales involving vacant land. The solution includes the use of device verification, multi-factor authentication and knowledge-based authentication to triangulate and verify the identities of sellers.
Here’s how it works:
At the beginning of the closing process, the title company works with the listing real estate agent to initiate a request for seller information through CertifID;
CertifID then performs a series of security checks that assess the risk of fraud;
If CertifID determines a high risk of fraud, a request for additional proof of ownership from the seller is made;
Any change in seller parties or payment details should trigger an additional request to re-verify identity before closing funds are sent.
The solution from CertifID also includes wire fraud insurance of up to $1M per transaction for sellers that are verified through the solution.
“Most of our transactions are with remote sellers, so it’s nearly impossible for me to verify identity in person,” said Christian Ross, President of Ross Law | Ross Title. “I’ve evaluated a number of ID validation tools to solve for this problem, and none of them provided the level of security that CertifID provides.”
“This latest increase in seller impersonation scams coincides with the adoption of virtual closings and the ongoing acceleration in cyber fraud activity,” said Tyler Adams, CEO of CertifID. “With a majority of U.S. states seeing a net increase in vacant land sales, the industry has to respond by upgrading its payments fraud protection capabilities. CertifID is providing this new solution to help title agencies and real estate firms secure and insure their transactions, as well as protect their client community.”
CertifID is a leader in wire fraud protection. The company safeguards billions of dollars every month from fraud with advanced software, insurance, and proven recovery services. Trusted by title companies, law firms, lenders, realtors, home buyers and sellers, and others, CertifID provides further peace of mind with up to $1M in direct coverage on every wire it protects.
BROKERAGE, REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Businesswire | April 17, 2023
Built Technologies, one of the fastest growing construction and real estate software providers in the U.S., has announced a strategic investment from Citi through its SPRINT program.
Citi SPRINT (“Spread Products Investment Technologies”), the strategic investing arm of Citi’s Global Spread Products division (“GSP”), is part of Citi Institutional Strategic Investments (“ISI”). Citi SPRINT focuses on incubating innovative fintech companies that provide strategic relevance and next-generation solutions to the financial markets.
Built plans to use the investment to accelerate its growth in commercial real estate (“CRE”) asset management and enable further operational and technological enhancements. Through the utilization of Built’s platform, Citi will have the opportunity to introduce digitization solutions to other lenders, developers, and borrowers in the ecosystem.
“The investment from Citi SPRINT opens a new market opportunity for Built to gain traction with one of the largest U.S. financial institutions in the real estate industry,” said Chase Gilbert, CEO and Co-founder of Built. “Citi SPRINT's investment is a testament to Built's vision and the value Built delivers to its customers. The investment presents a unique opportunity, and one that will further accelerate our market reach.”
“GSP consistently seeks to drive value and enhance our client experience through innovative digitalization efforts with industry-leading software providers,” said Mickey Bhatia, Head of Global Spread Products at Citi. “Our investment in Built Technologies extends this commitment by helping to further modernize our Financing and Securitization franchise. With this partnership, we seek to cultivate higher standards of service for our clients and the broader market.”
Citi Community Capital, another business in GSP, provides a suite of financial products to help affordable housing developers construct, rehabilitate, refinance, and acquire multifamily affordable housing across the country. It has been recognized as the number one affordable housing lender in the United States, according to Affordable Housing Finance magazine's annual ranking, for twelve consecutive years.
“Citi Community Capital is pleased to work with Built on enhancing Citi’s existing technology to better manage commercial real estate draws, expedite loan management reporting, and improve borrower experience,” said Jeremy Johnson, Co-Head of Citi Community Capital.
“Built has achieved strong growth due to its ability to help lenders achieve efficiencies, expedite revenue generation, and serve their customers more effectively,” said Katya Chupryna, Director, SPRINT. “By investing in Built and bringing their innovative solutions to Citi, we empower Citi Community Capital and other CRE lending businesses to grow faster and serve clients better,” she added.
Built Technologies’ innovative software platform streamlines the construction loan administration process by simplifying the management of funds and documentation, allowing lenders to administer their construction loans more efficiently. The company’s technology enables faster funding decisions and draws, while providing real-time transparency and visibility into the status of construction projects through Built’s CRE data model. More than 250 banks and private capital providers use Built’s cloud-based solution to create a centralized system of record and accelerate the flow of capital from lenders to borrowers, contractors, and vendors.
About Built Technologies
Built is the leading provider of construction and real estate finance technology. By providing a centralized platform for all stakeholders, Built enables increased efficiency, collaboration, transparency, and business agility—with decreased risk—allowing customers to improve the way that the communities around them are built and managed. The Built platform is used by more than 250 leading North American lenders and asset managers, and thousands of developers, home builders and contractors. To learn more, visit https://getbuilt.com/demo-request/.
Citi is a preeminent banking partner for institutions with cross-border needs, a global leader in wealth management and a valued personal bank in its home market of the United States. Citi does business in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions, providing corporations, governments, investors, institutions and individuals with a broad range of financial products and services.