Andrew Bokor is no stranger to the Chicago startup scene. His first company, the self-funded Exault, rocketed to $60 million in revenue in just 18 months. Trustwave, his second company, grew to be one of the largest tech startups in Chicago and was acquired for $770 million.
Now, he’s back in the startup game with Truss, a platform that aims to bring online efficiencies found in residential property searching, like Zillow or Redfin, to the office space search. And once again, he’s staying in Chicago to do it.
“I love Chicago,” Bokor said. “I think Chicago is a great story. There are a lot of people who have had successes and they've stayed in the community to then reinvest back into the community, and we really wanted Truss to be a nice Chicago story.”
One vital part to him staying in Chicago was the ecosystem, which Bokor has seen grow up along with his businesses.
“What's remarkable is, when we started Trustwave, the ecosystem just wasn't where it is today,” he said. “There were some people who were doing some angel investing and there were people who were there to support you from a mentorship perspective, but by no means did it look anything like it does today.”
Now, that matured ecosystem is helping Truss get off the ground. The company raised a $1.5 million seed round from Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, New Coast Ventures and the co-founders, among others. He even teamed up with his old partners from Exault to launch the new company.
And Truss is off to a seemingly strong start already. After a quiet beginning 11 months ago, the company has tracked about 85 percent of the available inventory of office spaces in the downtown commercial district. Now, it’s open to select tenants, who can use the service to quickly narrow down their office search.
“We're rethinking the process so that it's a lot more intuitive, a lot more effective, a lot more transparent,” Bokor said. “You'll be able to search for space, do virtual tours and walkthroughs, look at space plans remotely and then be able to negotiate on the platform and ultimately be able to consummate a lease on the platform. It's an end-to-end solution.”
That’s a sharp contrast from the traditional office shopping experience, which relies on brokers to know about open spaces. Plus, all the business’s decision makers have to find time to hike out to the new space and rush through a quick viewing.
Truss cuts that out, offering a full complement of details, virtual tours and more so when tenants do finally go see the space in person, they’re prepared with just the right questions and aren’t let down by spaces that just won’t fit their needs.
Right now, Truss is available in Chicago and Dallas, but the company plans to expand to 16 other top markets around the country. The company also wants to bring its methods to retail and industrial spaces.
Image via Truss