In the spring of 2010, Aron Susman found himself in the market for an affordable office space to house his health care startup, something he thought would be as simple as Googling his specifications.
But, of course, it wasn't so easy. A cursory search just left him perplexed and overwhelmed with real estate jargon and untranslatable figures.
He called upon Justin Lee, a friend with a background in commercial real estate, to explain — still Greek.
TheSquareFoot lists more than 1,500 properties from Houston's top 15 real estate leasing companies.
A follow-up call to another real estate-savvy friend, Jonathan Wasserstrum, proved that there were few real estate resources for small businesses. Nor were there easy translations for the boring and unapproachable industry terminology.
So in early 2011, emboldened by tips and connections gleaned at Houston's second official Startup Weekend, the three started laying the groundwork on their own entrepreneurial endeavor: TheSquareFoot, an online commercial real estate leasing platform specifically geared toward Houston's small business community.
The official launch came last September, and other components have gradually come together since, with three significant advancements in June — official offices in the co-working space upstairs at New Living, a first employee hire and a newly-launched website with easy-to-use features.
TheSquareFoot lists more than 1,500 properties from Houston's top 15 real estate leasing companies, with plans to strengthen partnerships and improve operations over the next six months, making the process as simple as possible for the landlord and the customer alike.
"The goal is to get really good in Houston and then expand," Susman says.
"The goal is to get really good in Houston and then expand," Susman tells CultureMap, hinting that Dallas, Austin and New York City are next on the list.
In the meantime, the guys behind TheSquareFoot continue to be involved in the biannual Houston Startup Weekend, this year participating as sponsors.
"We have learned so much as sponsors and mentors, and we've made so many good connections," says Susman, who continues to see significant improvement in the event from year to year, in everything from attendance numbers to idea quality.
This summer's Startup Weekend is a 54-hour frenzy that begins on Friday at START's EaDo space. Click to register as a developer or as a designer, or to secure your spot at the Sunday networking event.