LightBox CEO Eric Frank featured in CREWcast

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LightBox News
Jun 17, 2021 3 mins
“We’re not looking to disrupt. We want to take our customers on their existing journey to enable them to do what they do, but much better.” Eric Frank, CEO, LightBox

On May 17, 2021, CREW Network’s CEO Wendy Mann interviewed LightBox CEO Eric Frank for an episode of CREWcast, a podcast series that features top thought leaders in commercial real estate. Below are highlights of his interview:

On his motivation to found LightBox:

“I had spent many years in info businesses and was president of Thomson Reuters just before I created LightBox. I got exposed to commercial real estate after I left Thomson Reuters and I found there were interesting parallels with the knowledge workers in the information industries. The analogy broke down, though, in terms of the data and the tools available to professionals in commercial real estate. I found that the data was very fragmented and there weren’t many tools or vendors serving the community. As a result, the folks who needed to make smart decisions about lending, valuation decisions, where to develop the next project, and buying and selling properties were doing so in very inefficient, unsophisticated ways relative to other industries. I saw an opportunity to create a company that could come in and solve some of those problems, and shift a lot of what was being built at every individual customer level redundantly to a vendor network. This would allow customers to really focus on their core value proposition and not deal with some of the intricacies of bringing data together and tools that really should be built to serve the industry writ large. This was the motivation for me to found LightBox, and we started it through acquisitions like the first one, which was EDR®.”

“We’ve been talking in the bigger business community about big data for a really long time, but Eric is right that the commercial real estate industry has had a more of a fragmented, decentralized approach. What LightBox is doing is centralizing a robust source of insights and data that people can then take and leverage for each aspect of the commercial real estate space, and I love that.” Wendy Mann, CEO, CREW Network

On the pandemic as a trend accelerator:

“The momentum that was in the industry before the pandemic has definitely accelerated, and this environment has shown us that we’re not immune to vicious cycles. We probably shouldn’t be building redundant things that everyone else is building. And we absolutely know that our clients are asking us to turn things around fast. What’s been missing is a credible vendor community that is trusted, and that has a scale to it. Our customers are delighted that someone is coming to them with a solution that helps them offset things that they are spending money on internally that aren’t part of their core DNA. All aspects of this are good for the industry, but the challenge remains that there’s still a lot of fragmentation. We’re driven to make acquisitions to make sure that we can solve real problems for our customers and not just come in with a point solution that doesn’t get them the same benefit.”

On LightBox’s alignment and partnership with CREW

“Being involved with CREW was fundamentally a very easy decision for us because it addresses two important things for our team: (1) This is something close to our industry so that makes it a win, and (2) some of our most important professionals, customers and partners are leading executives who are actively involved in CREW and working toward mentoring the next generation so we wanted to get behind that and support them as well as working to bring change to our community. It’s a terrific organization and was a natural fit for us. LightBox has been a partner of CREW Network since 2016, and is now a Premier Lead Partner.”

For the full recording of Eric’s CREWcast, including what it’s like to execute a vision, putting together a company through acquisition that has the right parts and works together effectively, and the importance of creating a company culture across new acquisitions, listen to the full podcast here.