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EquityHUB solves the problem commercial real estate has faced for years

Have you ever noticed that some of the most useful websites end in “hub”? Are you starving but don’t want to brave the winter cold? Never fear, GrubHub is here! Did you sleep in instead of waking up early to get tickets to the now sold out Leonard Cohen concert? StubHub has your answer (although it’ll cost ya). Are you looking to buy commercial real estate property but want to know who’s buying (or selling?) Well now EquityHUB can help determine that answer.


Rather than focusing on renters, EquityHUB is a niche site for commercial real estate brokers, lenders, and investors. The concept is simple: just post what type of property you or your firm is looking to buy and allow the sellers to read those needs and submit opportunities to you.  The email address is kept anonymous.


We talked to founder Pat Wilson about why he started EquityHUB and what his plans are for the future.

What was the inspiration behind EquityHUB?

I’ve always been interested in commercial real estate and was thinking of becoming a broker. I needed a business card and a logo, so I looked for ideas online and found a site called CrowdSpring. The concept of the site is you submit what you need and graphic design artists send you a logo and you choose which one you like. I was really surprised and happy with the results.


I found a few more websites like that in other industries and I really liked the model. I realized it didn’t exist in commercial real estate, and after a lot of hard work, and a lot of coffee meetings, the beta site debuted over Labor Day weekend.


I really wanted to focus less on institutional investors and more on independent ones—off-the-radar LLCs, Joint Ventures, and the mom-and-pops who truly comprise the bulk of the industry, but are underserved and don’t necessarily need another email blast solution. There are investor groups on EquityHUB who own 1,000 or more units and can afford CoStar, but still think it’s too expensive.


In my conversations I found that a simple, inexpensive solution was needed.  We’re attracting people who seek deals on behalf of a $65M fund, but also those people who don’t need a full fledged website or a LinkedIn profile, but only need a simple web presence to get the word out that they want to hear about specific deals and how to contact them. I wanted to create a new brand and a whole new marketplace in a huge industry, and that’s what I did.


When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I like a lot of things but I wouldn’t want to do them full time. I like commercial real estate, but wouldn’t be the best broker. I do own rental properties, but am not looking to become Sam Zell. I like web design, but I wouldn’t want to work as a developer. I like art, architecture, I like writing, but I wouldn’t want to dedicate all my time to just one thing. I really appreciate what people in this industry are creating and building. It’s very entrepreneurial, filled with risk takers, and independent spirits with vision. A couple years ago, I took part in an all day Meyers-Briggs class for Project Managers, which confirmed some personality indicators that are a good fit for what I’m trying to achieve with EquityHUB.


When it all started coming together—the idea, the lifestyle, and what I like to do—when that all gelled in my mind that’s when I realized I was an entrepreneur.


If you could have one superpower what would it be?

The first thing that comes to mind is flying. Superman or Iron Man, either would be fun.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

Running EquityHUB with a great team of cool, smart people. Five years from now EquityHUB will have rolled out to other cities beyond Chicago and will be known as the go-to source for those seeking to buy or lease their first building or their 30th.


I’d also love to see Phil Mickelson wearing an EquityHUB visor on the 18th hole of Pebble Beach! The first brand to be known by people outside of the industry which would help create a different image for the industry, beyond glassy office buildings and pin-striped suits.


What’s next for EquityHUB?

We’re working on more press, more marketing, creating partnerships and a mobile app that is the first of its kind.  I was recently accepted into the Founder Institute, so by the time I’m through with the program I’ll have really polished EquityHUB and what it stands for.


This year we’re focusing on refining, expanding, and growing the business, as well as adding features to help make the site as user-friendly - and useful - as possible.  One new feature allows you to post on EquityHUB that you are interested in leasing office or retail space, so a restaurant owner or insurance agency can create a quick profile in a few minutes and be found by brokers on the EquityHUB map. They can turn off their profile once they've found the right property.


We’re also looking at cross-marketing possibilities as far as sponsoring local running, biking events and charity events to reach the people who are interested in the field or work full time in it, but haven’t been reached in those venues.


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Gabrielle Belavsky