Kerret: Focused on the Wave of the Future

By Rayna Katz | New York

Kerret: "There are 10,000 tech startups in New York City. If we help them, there’s a good chance of these companies succeeding."

NEW YORK CITY—It’s been nearly a year since Tal Kerret was appointed president of Silverstein Properties, and it appears his promotion from CIO is paying off for the developer.

Kerret’s Silver Suites Offices—launched when he joined the company in 2011—is expanding into its second location this month; SilverTech Ventures program, which Kerret piloted earlier this year, is gaining traction; and the industry professional will be honored next week for his work during the 60th anniversary celebration of Tel Aviv University, his alma matter.

GlobeSt.com caught up with Kerret to discuss these programs and how they benefit both tenant and landlord.

GlobeSt.com: How does Silver Suites Offices work and what’s the status of the program?

Kerret: We provide high-end office space at 7 World Trade Center to small, growing companies who can’t commit to a long-term lease or existing clients who want temporary space for a project.We’re launching another location at 4 World Trade Center with the expectation to open more.

We also have advisors that can help these companies grow. For example, if they need legal, accounting, HR, insurance or IT services, we provide it to them at a heavily discounted rate.

Many companies that came to us started with two or three people and then grew to 20 or 50 employees and became full tenants. The program already has proven itself in a short period of time as these tenants take more space or some of the companies have been acquired.

Also, the energy level on the floor is great. The tenants have created a community with weekly meetings and events. They’ve become friends and the CEOs help each other. We want to make the World Trade Center more of a community—people spend a lot of time at work.

GlobeSt.com: And what’s SilverTech Ventures?

Kerret: I saw that New York has become a hub for the technology and media businesses. Many of those sectors’ companies are coming down to the World Trade Center, there’s the Cornell-Technion campus being built on Roosevelt Island and New York City is now in second place nationally for venture capital investment.

We want to help coach new and growing businesses toward their next stage. We put together a team of successful business people and we provide access to capital. SilverTech Ventures is a start-up on its own. And it’s competitive; today we’re accepting one out of 30 or 50 firms. I meet with a lot of companies

GlobeSt.com: That sounds like a lot of work. What does Silverstein get out of this effort?

Kerret: We’d love to see these start-up companies become full tenants but that wasn’t the goal. The idea was ‘let us see if we can help these companies.’ If they become successful, it tends to build a relationship where they stay with us long-term. But this is an experament, we don’t necessarily know the outcome.

GlobeSt.com: What do you see ahead for the technology sector?

Kerret: Today there are 10,000 tech startups in New York City. if we help these companies, there’s a good chance of them succeeding. With Cornell-Technion, and other efforts to bring in companies, there’s going to be a lot of technology graduates in the city.

But what do they do when their companies grow to 250 or 2,000 people and they can’t find space in [technology hub] Union Square. They want to be in a place where they can grow and where employees will have a short commute.

That’s why SilverTech Ventures is targeting those types of companies, and we’re seeing good traction.

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