Along with Pierre Becerril of Transparent Ben Tannenbaum was an eloquent guest on our Changing World of Property Data interview series last week. As I sat interviewing him in my cramped home-office I couldn't help but think that Ben had got into a growing market which will no doubt see some exciting changes over the coming months and years. For this week's Ten Questions we put Ben on the spot to learn more about coworkintel and what challenges come from analysing the co-working sector.
What is the problem that coworkintel solves?
Commercial real estate is undergoing an important change, similarly to e-commerce and taxis a few years ago. This change brings about a shift towards much more competition between real estate providers and a resulting increase in focus on the value for consumers. However, this new generation of workspace providers do not have access to enterprise-grade market intelligence tools such as the ones available for hoteliers or retail chains. Such tools, in particular competition benchmarking services, enable operators to make informed decisions for instance on pricing and product positioning faster.
What is coworkintel’s USP?
We are the first data company to provide benchmarking-as-a-service for flexible workspaces and coworking.
How many employees does coworkintel have?
We are a startup at the point where we are currently mainly co-founders.
How has Covid-19 changed the landscape for coworkintel?
Covid has hurt commercial real estate in general and its flexible part even more so. Our most recent publication shows that contract occupancy in co-working spaces fell to 51% in the fall, down from 78% in February according to our latest report. Physical occupancy is likely to have fallen even further at times during the period.
Looking forward, Covid-19 could be seen as a great opportunity for us. The workplace transformation that we can see, with companies moving completely to remote areas and the increase of coworking spaces in suburban areas will have a great impact on the competitiveness of the industry.
What is one thing our readers might not know about but would probably find interesting about the co-working industry?
The largest flex market in the world is in London where it tops around 5% of the total commercial real estate. Some consider this to be due to the historically more flexible job market in the UK than in the rest of Europe.
How does coworkintel source all of its data? Are there APIs out there or do you have commercial relationships with co-working operators?
We do have explicit agreement from operators to analyse their data as this is their property. We developed APIs that integrate with the different Coworking Space Management Software. This allows the coworking owner to save time and helps us with the accuracy of the benchmarking analysis.
What is coworkintel’s biggest challenge?
As we analyse private data, our biggest challenge is to establish ourselves as a neutral and trustworthy partner.
What is coworkintel currently working on?
Our main mission for now is to create a strong network of coworking spaces in the US and Europe, to join our CompSet platform in order to provide a fully comprehensive data dashboard to our customers in the future.
What is the most common request from clients?
Clients often inquire about how we make sure the data are kept anonymous. We never shown individual-level private data and only aggregate data points in groups of at least 4 operators (a “Comp Set”).
How do you see the market evolving and what will you be doing to be ahead of the curve?
As mentioned, due to their flexible nature, we anticipate that Flex will be more in demand by end-users after the crisis. We also see some potential for more flexible contracts with landlords such as profit-sharing agreements, reflecting upstream the flexibility provided by operators to their customers downstream. In our most recent publication, we estimated profit-sharing agreements to be around 10% of the total market share, with 20% owner-operator and 70% on a lease.