As companies continue to grapple with how to return to offices and how much they can compel workers in a tight labor market, there have been a number of developments in flexible space markets.
A new one is called TROT, which has announced its online platform which will be the first in the New York market. The company said “building owners can list available office space” while people looking for flexible office space “can easily browse a wide selection of locations, building classes and equipment to find a short-term space that suits them best”.
“TROT enables businesses to find and book flexible office space that meets their ever-changing needs, building a relationship with landlords,” CEO David Menaged said in prepared remarks. “Our technology-driven approach provides owners and businesses with a trusted marketplace that unifies how flexible space will be marketed, managed and booked.”
The company, not to be confused with the workplace commuter bus service of the same name, was founded in 2020 during the pandemic. With allusions to Airbnb and Uber or Lyft, TROT tries to play a matchmaking role between those who own offices and those who need them.
It’s not the only company trying to do this. Industrious, a flexible space operator which counts CBRE as an investor, announced some global expansions in May, giving it broad reach and the backing of a major CRE powerhouse. The company claims a presence in more than 120 locations in 50 markets across the United States and a customer base ranging from startups to Fortune 500.
Then there’s Upflex, which last month announced a $30 million Series A funding round led by WeWork and including Newmark, Cushman & Wakefield, Ecosystem Integrity Fund and others. It originally started as a coworking aggregator in 2018, but has transformed its sites into a common platform that can interconnect different providers and provide users with a single way to manage their bookings. In 2020, Colliers launched its online platform to access thousands of on-demand workspaces in 70 countries, using technology from Upflex.
TROT may find the competition difficult. The company website reads: “Browse through hundreds of listings direct from building owners to find spaces that fit a range of budgets, building classes and team sizes.” But hit the “get started” button and what fills the display is “42 workspaces found in 13 buildings. The number of signups is far lower than the company seems to be claiming and that might not be enough to that it imposes itself in a highly competitive market.