Ten Questions with Peter Stansfield: Co-Founder of CONVENiO

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November 16, 2020

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With so much office space around the world sitting empty as most of us continue to work from home, landlords need a way to fill their vacant space and companies are increasingly looking to have their employees reconnect in some way at least once per week to keep team spirits up. We spoke to Peter Stansfield of CONVENiO, an Australian marketplace startup looking to convince office landlords and company HR departments of the benefits of ultra short term office rentals.

 

What is the problem that CONVENiO solves?

Helping companies that have opted out of having an office(s) or have downsized their space, to be able to find office space and come together again with their employees for just 1 day at a time, without the need for a longer-term lease commitment.

Landlords, Co-Working providers, and companies (tenants) that now require less office space are losing money. CONVENiO provides an additional way to bring paying tenants into their office space.

What is CONVENiO'S USP?

We encourage office space providers to offer their spaces for day rentals. We believe the demand for this level of flexibility is there, but the market isn’t responding fast enough, and our goal is to change that. The CONVENiO formula is “Less People + Less Space + Less Often = Significant Savings”.

The office sublease market is growing at its fastest ever rate. Supply is way above demand and shows no signs of stopping. In this market finding a long-term tenant is tough and the time period the space spends on the market is getting longer and longer. In that period of “deadtime” no one is making any money and the original tenant is still paying the rent on the space they don’t need. The solution is to parallel market the space for long term tenants in the traditional way, whilst also marketing for short term day tenants at the same time.

What is CONVENiO’s biggest challenge?

We want CONVENiO to become synonymous with 1-day short term office leasing. That requires both space providers and space occupiers to think about how they provide and consume office space in a different way.

We’re in effect mashing the Airbnb and Tinder model together but for office space. Swipe right on the office space you like, no strings attached, no commitment. If you like it, keep coming back for more, and who knows, it might turn into a long-term commitment.

How many employees does CONVENiO have?

Two Co-Founders: Peter Stansfield and Adam Brown.

How has Covid-19 changed the landscape for CONVENiO?

Covid-19 was the catalyst for CONVENiO. It was whilst discussing the impact Covid-19 was having on companies and offices that the idea was born to assist those companies who now had no office or less space but still wanted to come together. The name Convenio is Latin for “Come Together” and is at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve.

What is one thing our readers might not know about but would probably find interesting?

There are so many ways to rent office space today, but try and get a fully fitted out office space for more than 5 people for a day and it’s virtually impossible.

How does CONVENiO acquire customers?

CONVENiO operates from www.conveniospace.com, which is our online location-based peer-to-peer marketplace. Here we connect those with available space with those who need it.

What is CONVENiO currently working on?

We’re focusing on building up the host listings to provide an ever-growing choice for our Guest companies to choose from. If you’re reading this and have unused fitted out office space, get in touch – all Hosts set their own prices and keep 97% of the revenue.

What is the most common request from clients?

We’re seeing that Covid-19 management (enhanced cleaning etc.) is a must to give peace of mind to both the Host and the Guest. Alongside this is the flight to quality space, aspirational space, which can now be achieved because it’s only for 1 day.

How do you see the market evolving and what will you be doing to be ahead of the curve?

We launched in NSW, Australia, which has been luckier than most areas of the world in how it’s been able to control the spread of Covid-19. That is enabling us the opportunity to fine-tune the product and service offering in a live market environment.

We’re very much at the start of this journey with this type of day economy office space consumption, but the desire for flexibility appears to be unabating and we anticipate this will be seen in other cities, as they emerge from their respective lockdowns.

CONVENiO is there to be a driving force in a movement where companies are able to achieve their goals without the long-term costs of a traditional office. We don’t see this as the death of the office lease, but it’s definitely an alternative to it, with the opportunity to disrupt the market for the benefit of the consumer.

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.