Flex Office Software Platform That Counts JLL, WeWork As Clients Lands Funding For U.S. Expansion
A firm aiming to be the leasing and scheduling backbone for the flex office industry has raised more than $4M in seed money for its expansion into North America.
Valve secured a $4.5M seed funding round led by the tech venture capital fund Project A and participation from Discovery Ventures to increase its presence in the U.S. coworking and flex office market, four years after the firm launched in London.
Valve acts as the infrastructure that coworking companies and landlords with flex office offerings use to market, lease and schedule tenants into those spaces, Francesco DeCamilli, general manager of Valve USA, told Bisnow in an interview. The software-as-a-service venture helps flex office owners find tenants, slot them into short-term deals and provide up-to-date data on the market's current availability.
The firm is looking to ride the flex office adoption wave sweeping the industry as part of the broader push to return to workplaces. More than 40% of office tenants expect to increase their use of flex space as part of a post-pandemic work strategy, according to JLL's 2021 Global Flex Space Report.
"As offices sort of move to this on-demand model … the need for Valve emerges,” DeCamilli said. “Our vision is to build an end-to-end transaction platform. We are a subterranean business enabling the B2B real estate community. There is no B2C element.”
As an SaaS platform, Valve earns revenues by charging subscriptions to brokerage firms to access its system. For operators and landlords, access is free, but Valve offers premium services like marketing software, DeCamilli said.
He likened it to SaaS systems in the hospitality industry, such as Amadeus. Invisible to the consumer, the system integrates hotel availability across all brands to make sure that no two customers book the same room on the same days.
Valve declined to disclose its current revenues. In May, Valve announced a partnership with Raise to provide real-time flex office availability to the commercial real estate brokerage industry.
DeCamilli said the seed funding will be used to “really turbocharge our growth in the U.S.”
Valve already coordinates and lists more than 10,000 buildings in more than 250 cities with more than 170 customers that include a mix of coworking operators like WeWork, landlords with self-managed flex spaces and CRE brokerage firms like JLL.
But its U.S. presence is in the early stages with just over 25 customers, DeCamilli said, but it expects to increase its customer base fivefold over the next six months.
Francesco DeCamilli is a former executive with Bisnow.