In Focus
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Real estate giants choose startup route to chase startups

Co-working just grew up.

Finding that ideal co-working or shared services office space used to be a word of mouth exercise in Singapore, where a startup company would hear about flexible office leases from other people. Actually signing a long-term lease and fitting out an office was something that big companies did through large real estate brokers. That model is now changing and at least one real estate firm, Savills, has decided that if you can’t beat them it is better to join them by setting up a new startup brand called Workthere which caters exclusively to start-ups and businesses seeking a lease in a shared office space.

Savills bills Workthere as an entirely new brokerage service and website listing platform - - combining excellent technological experience with best-in-class personal advice. “Workthere offers a professional, easy and transparent way for providers to let their space, and occupiers to identify flexible working space that fits their individual needs. Workthere will service the entire flexible workspace market in Singapore, including well-known brands such as Servcorp, The Executive Centre, The Work Project, District6, Centennial BusinessSuites, GreenHub Suited Offices, WeWork, Collective Works, The Great Room, JustCo, and Just Office, as well as a variety of independent providers,” the firm announced.

The new venture by Savills was launched in the UK in February 2017 and, following this success, the firm is now expanding across Europe with Ireland Germany and most recently, in the Netherlands this January, representing Workthere’s first continental European presence.

Cal Lee, founder and global head of Workthere, said, “Singapore has witnessed considerable growth in the flexible workspace sector, with many new entrants coming to the market. At the same time, demand for flexible workspace continues to grow as more businesses, including startups, SMEs and even larger corporate companies, are seeing the benefits of flexible workspace over a more traditional lease”.

The Workthere service in Singapore will be managed by Yann Deschamps, head of Workthere Asia Pacific, working closely with the local occupier services offerings. Yann, a 20 years veteran in the commercial sector and formally from Savills Shanghai has moved to Singapore to take on the role and will be managing the development and roll-out of Workthere in the region. “The demand for flexible workspaces has been growing phenomenally across the globe. Combining Workthere’s online search capabilities with a bespoke ‘in-market’ Savills advisor for free, delivers a key differentiator that sets us apart and is a unique proposition over and above any normal search engine,” said Yann.

Christopher Marriott, CEO of Savills South East Asia said, “Workthere will provide a new and unique offer from Savills in this dynamic marketplace. I am excited that Yann has accepted our invitation to drive this new digital business platform. Combining a world-class search engine with seasoned market advisors enables us to augment our traditional leasing services and mine a new market sector”.

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