5 minute read
June 7, 2020
Helping Corporate Real Estate Go Consumer with spaceOS's Maciej Markowski
This article originally appeared on www.buildingproptech.com, a retired blog where I interviewed proptech founders on how they were building and growing their businesses.
Hey Maciej! What’s your background and what led to you working in PropTech?
I was always fascinated by how people behave and how the environment and technology can impact us. That lead me to study sociology and later through HR (Coca-Cola, Danone) into the field of workplace strategy. I was lucky enough to work for the pioneers in this field - DEGW - and later for some of the biggest real estate companies out there: JLL, CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield.
Particularly in JLL and C&W we were heavily involved in advising our clients on best PropTech technology. I saw a tremendous opportunity to change how office buildings work and to transform landlords from renters of office space into providers of great, healthy and safe work environments.
What problem are you working to solve with spaceOS?
We’re helping the whole Corporate Real Estate industry to transition from B2B to B2B2C business. We’re enabling them to massively increase their understanding of people in their buildings - their behaviours and preferences - as well providing a great tenant experience.
With spaceOS your smartphone becomes a remote control for the building allowing you to get a parking space, open doors, order food, report issues, register guests… Anything you need really. We’re an operating system for real estate - plug any systems, any data sources into our platform and we’ll allow you to manage your portfolio and to provide a unified interface for your tenants.
What’s the process been like as you build spaceOS?
spaceOS grew out of a project Marley (our Founder) delivered for New Lab - the famous innovation centre in Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. The solution then created became the foundation of spaceOS. I’ve met spaceOS in late 2016, became an advisor from beginning of 2017 (while still at Cushman & Wakefield) and have joined as CEO in December that year.
We’ve improved and expanded the solution greatly learning from our clients, from behaviour of end users and seeing where the whole industry is going.
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How have you gone about growing your user base and revenue? What has been most effective?
Most of our growth was really organic. Being used in such famous and frequently visited sites as New Lab, Tower 42 in London, Bradfield Centre in Cambridge University or Wavespace by EY in Berlin naturally exposed us to many fascinating clients.
We have also spoken on many CRE conferences - MIPIM, IFMA World Workplace, Property Forum, TEDx. Since then we’ve started expanding our marketing and sales teams - it’s a market where big players (and we work with some of the industry’s largest: Commerz Real, Immofinanz) need proper account management.
What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetizing SpaceOS?
We’ve entered a pretty conservative industry that was doing very well without us. Most of 2017 and 2018 was just preaching and working with early adopters - mainly co-working spaces and innovation centres. The sales cycles were quite long. Everything exploded in 2019 - it became obvious that we can do tremendous things to improve tenant attraction and retention (actually advise on which tenants are likely to leave and how to keep them).
Then the COVID-19 pandemic started and it made the necessity for good communication, ability to track health & safety of the building and making a lot of the services contactless very obvious.
What insights about real estate and technology have you came to realize while building spaceOS?
We were very end user centric - a typical flexible workspace would have 79% of the users using spaceOS regularly - but the purchasing decisions are often made by the property managers and asset managers.
We had to make their lives easier with our software too. We created a whole tenant lifecycle management system allowing you to create offers, sign contracts, automate invoicing, track your KPIs and really manage most of the elements of your building.