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Leasecake’s $10 million raise will propel AI capabilities

Mark Parker

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Leasecake, a tech-focused real estate and location management solutions provider, recently completed a $10 million funding round. Photos provided.

Leasecake, a real estate solutions pioneer and member of Tampa’s Embarc Collective, announced the closure of a $10 million Series A extension round Tuesday.

The Winter Park-based startup provides artificial intelligence (AI) enabled lease management software for brands like Domino’s Pizza, Jersey Mike’s Subs and Dunkin’ Donuts. While headquartered near Orlando, Leasecake has significant Tampa Bay ties.

Taj Adhav, founder of Leasecake, said he identified several Tampa and St. Petersburg-based franchise operators after launching the startup in December 2017. He said the goal now is “simply market domination.”

“What we’ve seen is a movement in the direction of not taking your real estate for granted,” Adhav told the Catalyst. “So yes, our goal was to make certain that we had a really long runway that ensured our success. Not just here in the U.S., not just here in North America – but also internationally.”

An extension round infuses additional capital from existing or new investors under the same terms as the previous funding round. Leasecake has previously raised $16 million.

New York-based PeakSpan Capital and Fort Lauderdale-based Las Olas Venture Capital led the latest cash infusion. Silicon Valley Bank, a subsidiary of First Citizens Bank, provided additional support.

The funding allows Leasecake to refine its AI-driven platform further as the technology matures. Adhav said it would also bolster customer support for hundreds of new multi-unit operators with thousands of additional business locations.

“There needs to be a simpler way to protect your real estate,” he added. “And that’s what Leasecake is all about.”

Taj Adhav, founder of Leasecake.

Adhav noted that the real estate market is increasingly competitive, particularly for restaurants and retail companies. He said those operators are often “outgunned and outmanned” by commercial landlords and brokers.

Challenges associated with navigating strict and lengthy leases increase exponentially as business owners expand, Adhav explained. He said something seemingly simple, like meeting renewal deadlines, presents a formidable risk.

Losing a storefront can mean squandering a hard-earned customer base. Adhav said the resulting financial damages can reach millions of dollars “because it might take a year or two for you to find a new location, or even to build it out.”

Leasecake’s platform sends operators alerts as those and other “incredibly risk-prone” dates approach. “And beyond just real estate, the more locations you have, the more licenses you have,” Adhav said.

Leascake also helps manage vendor contracts, warranties, permitting processes and liquor licenses. Its AI quickly disseminates complex legal language, highlights critical lease and contract details and provides continuous customer assistance.

Adhav said the startup’s clients are typically “not building a real estate empire. They’re building a burger empire or a pizza empire or a hair salon empire. They’re very lean-staffed, and they generally need to have solutions that simply work right out of the box.”

Adhav said the overarching goal is helping small business owners grow and achieve the American Dream. He noted that many growth stories begin with a pizza delivery driver who opened a restaurant and now operates 100 locations.

Adhav believes Leasecake was the first Embarc member based outside the Tampa Bay area. He credited Tampa and St. Petersburg’s ability to attract talent – “especially from restaurant, service-based retail expertise” – due to the oft-mentioned live-work-play environment.

“I think Central Florida and the Tampa-St. Pete market has done a phenomenal job … to build out an ecosystem that is truly supportive,” Adhav added. “Where innovators, founders and ventures can find people to collaborate with and find other like-minded talent they can bring into their idea to have it launch.

“But then also access to capital. I think there’s a much greater number of investors in all different kinds of asset classes or industries that we’ve never had access to before.”

 

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