Market Lane, a New Company, Aims to Analyze Its Fellow Proptech Firms

Founder Philip Kanfer arrives from WiredScore, the giant digital connectivity certifier

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It is not easy being a one-man band in the noisy real estate technology advisory space, but Philip Kanfer believes he can cut through the noise to provide value for owners and operators struggling to analyze proptech companies on behalf of businesses.

Kanfer said what gave him the confidence to create Manhattan-based Market Lane Advisors was his experience as a principal at WiredScore, the dominant firm for certifying how well a building is connected digitally, and his earlier background as an office leasing adviser with Newmark.

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Kanfer, currently the sole employee at Market Lane (and its CEO), founded his company in January 2023. He believes he has carved out a niche in the crowded real estate advisory field by focusing on giving “owners, operators, developers, primarily in the commercial and multifamily sectors,” an outsourced, independent capability to assess proptech companies.

“The reason I believe Market Lane is different is that from my time building WiredScore from scratch back at the end of 2013, I noticed that when you’re talking to owners of real estate, they have a very difficult time sifting through all the noise of proptech,” said Kanfer. “They’re trying to understand the right solutions for their business, evaluating a dozen different platforms that all do very similar things, and no one truly owns this internally. It generally falls in the lap of an asset manager or an analyst, someone who isn’t trained in proptech and is trying to figure it all out on the fly.”

The disconnect between many proptech companies trying to sell to incumbent real estate organizations, and the lack of internal expertise and bandwidth often found in the latter, presented Kanfer with an opportunity to start Market Lane.

In the short time Market Lane has been operating, it has garnered Ascentris, a Denver-based real estate private equity firm, and Manhattan landlord Rudin Management as clients.

“Ascentris has had a long relationship with Phil Kanfer, beginning as an early client of his previous proptech platform,” said Denis Curran, managing director at Ascentris. “When he ultimately launched Market Lane, we were confident Phil could add value to our platform with his deep network in the proptech industry. Our experience thus far has been wonderful and accretive to Ascentris.

“We have been pleasantly surprised by the introductions to new proptech vendors in areas we were previously unaware of,” Curran said “His recommendations are particularly powerful to us because Market Lane works for us, the owner of the real estate, rather than a VC fund or proptech vendor who might have conflicting interests driving recommendations.”

The challenges in keeping up with proptech innovations also led Rudin Management to bring on Kanfer as an adviser.

“We have engaged Phil to help us continue to assess and grow the integration of tech across our portfolio,” said Michael Rudin, executive vice president at Rudin Management. “There are more opportunities to consider every day, and having someone like Phil, with a decade of proptech experience who knows the landscape extremely well, to help us diligence not only new companies but also existing solutions, will allow us to stay ahead of the curve.”

Kanfer said he provides value to sophisticated real estate companies by being that unbiased analyst who assesses myriad proptech providers to fit his clients’ needs. He said has developed a proprietary assessment tool made up of more than 15 metrics that he uses to evaluate a proptech company for the specific needs of the client.

“The real estate community is very smart to understand that when they’re talking to a VC, and you’re looking for an EV charging solution, you’re going to get the EV charging solution that the VC has invested in,” said Kanfer. “I’m completely independent. My job is to work directly for the owner and provide the best solutions for them irrespective of any other noise out in the marketplace.”

Market Lane also acts as a gatekeeper for owners trying to deal with a deluge of sales and investment pitches, said Kanfer. 

“They’re able to forward that inquiry along to me and I’m doing full diligence on that vendor,” he said. “This is eliminating countless hours from their team’s time. They don’t have to respond to the emails, calls and demos. They forward them to me and I’m deep-diving with that company to understand if it would be valuable to that client or not.”

Philip Russo can be reached at prusso@commercialobserver.com.