Ophigo, the office leasing platform that makes the office search easier and faster
Introduce yourself and the startup Ophigo to our readers!
My name is Valerio Siviero, and together with Suprith Reddy and Ampolon Ventures, I founded the PropTech startup Ophigo in 2019.
Ophigo combines technology and service into a new-generation office leasing platform. We make the office leasing process faster and easier. This is often a lengthy, confusing and complicated process. Using our platform we aim to streamline the steps and add transparency in a market which historically lacked it.
Clients can find their dream office completely digitally, or get the support of our experts to help with things like scheduling tours, room planning and rental price negotiations.
Why did you decide to start a company?
A few years ago I experienced how time-consuming and exhausting it can be to find a new office, as well as how many unexpected steps there can be. For example, lengthy negotiations with landlords. It takes so much time and effort before the office can finally be moved into. That experience never left me!
Then, by chance I got to know my co-founder and our founding investor, who were interested in exactly this problem, and together, we decided to start Ophigo.
What is the vision behind Ophigo?
We want to make it easier and faster for a company to find their new office. We want to save our clients time and money, and in the process help modernise the commercial real estate industry.
Anyone who has ever looked for an office knows how long and laborious the search and the subsequent processes and negotiations are. In addition, a lot of important information has so far only been accessible to real estate agents and landlords – which is why the market lacks transparency, especially for tenants. We want to improve that.
The technology and service from Ophigo ensures greater transparency in the market and simplifies all the steps. We relieve tenants, landlords and brokers of work, and above all give helpful knowledge to commercial tenants. This is how we aim to put all parties in a better position.
From the idea to the start, what have been the biggest challenges so far and how have you financed yourself?
We are newcomers to the commercial property industry – that is a challenge but also a great opportunity. Newcomers in particular are often underestimated, but we believe we have the potential to improve the status quo.
We have a new perspective on the market and the needs of its players. Our focus is on the tenant. We do not rely on the “tried and tested” methods.
This requires a lot of commitment and time, as well as a solid team with strong talents. We have indeed focused on the team in our first year, which has enabled us to make the great progress we have made so far.
Further to that, we enjoy the financial support from our investors Ampolon Ventures, the venture arm of Aareon Group.
Who is the target group of Ophigo?
We focus on tenants who are looking for commercial space up to 1.000 square meters.
How does Ophigo work? What are the advantages? What differentiates you from other providers?
We offer clients the opportunity to find an office easier and faster, with the help of our technology. It starts with our online platform and ends with in-person service. One of the many things that differentiates Ophigo is that we look after the client from the beginning to the end of their search.
We aim to enhance the digital search experience in comparison to the established players here in Germany. For example, on Ophigo there are no “bait ads” or duplications in the properties offered. What’s more, tours can be carried out virtually, and soon, even the contract can be signed digitally.
After a suitable office has been shortlisted, our clients are supported by our in-house team through all the subsequent stages, such as office viewings, room planning and contract negotiations.
This vertical integration is also different from the status quo. Usually, the platforms that list the properties and the brokers who serve the clients are actually different organisations.
For brokers and landlords, we offer a convenient service that above all saves them time and thus increases the profitability of their business.
How has your company changed with Corona?
A few months before the Covid-19 pandemic started, we tested flexible and remote work and ultimately introduced it as a standard. Every employee could work from home even before the current crisis. We also can carry out virtual tours of our properties to reduce the health risks for our clients.
How did you prepare for this and what changes did you make?
We are already using new technologies to offer a futuristic experience of a fully furnished office. With this technology, our clients can make faster, better and more efficient decisions regarding which offices they want to view in person.
Where do you see the opportunity in the crisis?
At Ophigo, we took the crisis as a positive challenge: it is a great opportunity for new solutions. We see ourselves well prepared for the increased demand for digital experiences. Even now we are already available to help remotely our clients and interested parties with services to address their needs. For example, to reduce their office space due to increased home office.
Ophigo, where is the way to go? Where do you see yourself in five years?
One could say that the office search is currently only 20 percent digital, while 80 percent of the search is still analog. We are working to reverse this percentage by completely digitizing the office search. In particular, we want to automate administrative processes such as making appointments, listing real estate and signing contracts. This gives tenants, landlords and brokers time for the essential things, such as finding an office space that fits the corporate culture and goals of a company.
Next, we would like to bring this superior search experience to other European countries. We can also imagine expanding into areas such as logistics and retail properties.
Finally: What 3 tips would you give prospective founders along the way?
First, work on something that you are passionate about. Building a company is a gigantic task and can take a very long time. That is why it is important to find something you could see yourself working on for a decade.
Second, surround yourself with people who are different from you. We live in a complex world that poses different challenges to us. It is unlikely that you will have in you all what’s needed to succeed. A diverse team is therefore key to a successful company.
Lastly: just do it! Before I started Ophigo, I tried several times to start other companies. I lost so much time in planning, preparing and researching that I ultimately did not do it. Founding is not rocket science. In the end, it’s about just doing it.
More information you will find here
Thank you Valerio Siviero for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.