Chicago-based Truss, an AI-powered platform that simplifies the process of finding and leasing small- to medium-sized office space, announced Wednesday that it has raised $7.7 million in new funding.
The Series A funding round brings the total capital raised for Truss to more than $9 million since launching in March of 2016. Among its co-founders are Andrew Bokor, who also co-founded Chicago-based cybersecurity firm Trustwave, and Bobby Goodman, a former vice president at Chicago-based commercial real estate firm JLL.
Truss currently only operates in Chicago and Dallas. But co-founder Tom Smith, who’s based in Dallas along with a fourth co-founder, Marshall Hudes, said it will use the Series A funds to expand in Texas, then along the west and east coasts.
In addition to launching in new markets, Truss plans to use the funds to further develop its AI-powered chatbot named Vera, while also growing its business to include more than just office listings, Smith said.
“We’re debuting the platform focused on the office type of commercial real estate,” he said. “We’re going to be adding retail and industrial support with these Series A proceeds.”
Landlords can list their available inventory on Truss for free. There’s also no charge to the prospective tenants who use the Truss platform to search through its thousands of properties or schedule tours.
One type of business that might currently use Truss, Smith said: A tech startup that’s grown out of a co-working space and looking for larger space for its future needs.
If tenants have any questions while hunting for their perfect office, they can consult Vera. The chatbot provides feedback, highlights potential spaces on a 100-point scale and also helps negotiate leases. Smith said Vera communicates with minimal real-estate jargon.
Truss only makes money when a lease is signed. Even then, it gives some of that money back to the tenant.
“The landlord pays Truss the going rate for landlord-represented commissions in a given market for closed leases,” Smith said. “Truss then turns around and gives 30 percent back to the tenant.”
Navitas Capital, based in California, led the Series A round. Other investors included Hyde Park Angels, which previously contributed to the Truss seed round. Truss provides virtual tours of office spaces through a partnership with Matterport, another Navitas Capital portfolio company.
Truss’ Chicago presence includes a research and development facility in Evanston and office space in River North, Smith said. The company has 15 total employees.
Robert Holly is a freelance writer.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune