The four Montreal-based cofounders who created SquareFeet.ai are announcing that their startup has been acquired by two local chartered appraisal groups.
The two purchasing groups are Sébastien Jean’s CAP Immobilier and NOVÉA (Simon Gagné-Lefebvre and Yannick Audry). The purchase price is undisclosed.
The story of SquareFeet.ai was quite the wild ride. It involves cofounder Jordan Owen, who comes from the family that built Mondev, the notable Montreal real estate development company. Owen was a student at MIT when the pandemic hit, forcing him to move back to Montreal.
While back in Montreal, Owen and his brother Mark created a mask brand called Bien Aller, earning a good amount of success and positive notoriety.
The brothers donated $100,000 of the profit they earned from Bien Aller to charities and used the rest to cofound SquareFeet. SquareFeet uses a series of datasets and algorithms to recommend real-time, dynamic pricing for real estate developers looking to maximize revenue. The AI combs through datasets, recommending how a given unit should be priced. The software also provides a sales tracking tool for developers.
But more recently, Tasse said the team knew that Jordan Owen would have to return to Cambridge, Massachusetts to complete his program at MIT. Meanwhile, Tasse will complete his requirements to eventually write the Quebec Bar Exam, in order to practice as a lawyer. He took night classes in law school for more than three years to earn his L.L.B from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
“We had to figure out what was going to happen with the business and that’s when we started talking with different collaborators and clients about a potential sale,” said Tasse. “Some of them starting saying they would be interested in buying the business from us. That was in April and we started the process in May.”
The sale process took two months in total. Tasse and both Owen brothers have agreed to sell their shares of the company, while the fourth cofounder, Benoit Thibault, will retain his piece of the company. Thibault may continue working on Squarefeet with the new owners.
The new owners, CAP Immobilier and Novea, will use Squarefeet to help them determine pricing for individual real estate units. The appraisers will use the AI-powered data generated by the platform to help their teams with efficient decision-making.
“They’re going to use it in-house to optimize their appraisals on real estate across Quebec,” said Tasse. “It’s a direct positive outcome for them. By using this data they can eventually start reducing their man power and getting their work flow done in an easier way.”
The guys at SquareFeet also discussed their sale with representatives from notable brokers like Colliers and Baker. It would have been a “nice to have” add-on for a broker, but proved to be a better fit for the chartered appraisal group.
“Its a good fit for them because they’re going to use it to do a job that they’re already doing,” said Tasse.
Tasse said it’s good for Montreal’s ecosystem to see a small business created and sold 18 months later to a larger player in the same industry, in the same city.
“It’s great to show that this is possible, to build a project from scratch and to build it to a level where people are interested in acquiring it. It’s a huge achievement for our whole team.”