Flex operators shuffle pack as market matures
New brands are raising funds, established players merging and online marketplaces expanding as flexible workspace moves from alternative to the mainstream.
A roundup of news from flex land in the past month:
Spacemade, which creates bespoke, own-brand concepts for buildings under management agreements with landlords, announced a £2m fundraise. The company, which has 10 current sites, will use the capital to progress its aim of reaching 50 spaces in the UK in the next three years.
The UK business, founded by Jonny Rosenblatt and Dan Silverman, said it successfully attracted equity from a collection of investors from the real estate, finance, media, and tech worlds.
Following approval from the Competition & Markets Authority, TOG and Fora completed their merger, first announced in March. The combined group comprises 72 locations totalling 3.1m sq ft across the UK and Germany. TOG was founded in 2003 by Charlie Green and Olly Olsen. Fora was founded by Enrico Sanna and Katrina Larkin in 2015.
Growth of flex search engines
Valve, a search engine for flexible workspaces, announced a $4.5m seed funding round led by Project A with participation from Discovery Ventures. Valve provides turnkey sales, marketing and distribution solutions for commercial real estate professionals, online booking platforms and flexible workspace operators to transact across a global network of workspaces seamlessly.
Valve’s premise is that while the number of players in the flexible workspace sector is on the rise, both sides face challenges: operators struggle to lease space efficiently, and brokerages lack streamlined digital access to inventory, data and content. Valve aims to fill the gap in this highly fragmented market to enable both parties to transact more efficiently.
“Valve makes it easy for companies building flexible workspace businesses – whether you are a landlord, operator, brokerage, application or tech entrepreneur,” said Nick Roveta, CEO at Valve. “Valve’s unified system meets a logical need for all industry players in the flexible workspace ecosystem to have one place to streamline how they partner and grow revenues together.”
The funding will expand Valve’s reach across North America and EMEA, accelerating the $4.2bn of flexible workspace contract value processed by Valve’s interconnected partners. Valve already operates across 10,000+ buildings in 250+ cities for 170+ customers.
Finally, two businesses founded by ex-WeWork managers have joined forces. infinitSpace announced a partnership with Vallist to enable more landlords and developers to enter the flexible workspace sector.
infinitSpace creates and manages tech-enabled, white-label flexible workspace brands on behalf of commercial landlords. Co-founded by former WeWork MD of North and West Europe, Wybo Wijnbergen, and his brother and serial tech entrepreneur Wilco Wijnbergen, the company launched its first London location in Aldgate Tower earlier this year and has multiple sites coming across Europe in Q4 2022.
Singapore-based adviser Vallist helps landlords navigate the transition to flexible workspaces as well as investors looking to gain exposure in the sector. It was founded in 2021 by Lachlan Buchanan and Alex Passler, both having held the role of head of real estate for WeWork.