Exclusive Q&A: LiquidSpace CEO On His Fastest Market
People are rethinking assumptions about office space. These days you can ramp up or scale down square footage depending on your needs.
LiquidSpace is a real estate tech startup that’s focused on making this process fast, convenient and streamlined. While Bisnow spoke with founder and CEO Mark Gilbreath earlier this month about general trends, we caught up with him again to specifically address LiquidSpace’s growth and plans in the Bay Area.
Bisnow: What is driving LiquidSpace’s rapid growth in the Bay Area?
Mark Gilbreath: LiquidSpace’s accelerated growth is a result of our expansion into longer-term space transactions last fall as well as the introduction of an entirely new network experience.
Teams can now find and book an office with simple, flexible terms ranging from one month to a year or more. Enhanced network support and functionality extends our reach to the greater real estate community. This real-time network serves and connects each member of the broader commercial real estate supply chain, from startups and enterprise teams to brokers, building owners and architects.
Bisnow: Is S.F. more eager to embrace LiquidSpace than other places?
Mark Gilbreath: The Bay Area is our fastest-growing market, hands down. In addition to the increasing demand for flexible office space industry-wide, companies in the Bay Area are facing a tight real estate market, limited property availability, a shifting political landscape and rigid leasing agreements that fail to support the dynamic needs of high-growth businesses. In an active startup community like San Francisco, flexibility is key. Growing teams need LiquidSpace. We know, because we’re a growing team ourselves.
Bisnow: Do you see more established companies using LiquidSpace to deal with their office space needs?
Mark Gilbreath: Absolutely. LiquidSpace is well-positioned to meet the demands of both small teams and large businesses. We’ve successfully helped companies like Accenture, AT&T and Whole Foods find flexible workspaces ranging from designated desks for individuals to move-in ready office suites for large teams.
With the introduction of longer-term workspace solutions and enhanced network functionality, companies can effectively leverage LiquidSpace for a wide range of uses from satellite office space to quarterly off-sites to touchdown space for traveling sales reps.
Enterprise members are instrumental to the strategic growth of our network and are a major focus for us through the end of 2016.
Above is Mark with JLL managing director Peter Miscovich.
Bisnow: What have you learned about your service from the time you got started to now?
Mark Gilbreath: The very first transaction on LiquidSpace, in 2011, was a two-hour booking for a meeting room in Palo Alto. The customer was a marketing consultant who needed to meet with a client in a professional setting (i.e. NOT the Starbucks down the street).
Two million transactions later, we are still an invaluable resource for consultants on the go, but our customer base has grown far beyond the mobile digerati who were our early adopters. We've learned that Fortune 50 companies also have a hunger for more efficient and productive ways to use real estate. We saw our first innovation of "search, find and book a meeting room with your phone" could also be applied to the commercial office mainstream, transforming the way companies find and rent their primary office.
We also learned that we could be the network to bring together other professionals in the real estate ecosystem—from the broker working to support a large client with a small space requirement, to the furniture company eager to furnish startup offices and more.