As companies continue to puzzle over how to return to offices, and to what degree they can compel workers in a tight labor market, there have been a number of developments in flex space marketplaces.
A new one is called TROT, which announced its online platform that will premier in the New York City market. The company said that “building owners can list available office spaces” while people in search for flexible office space “can easily browse a broad selection of locations, building classes and amenities to find a short-term space that works best for them.”
“TROT allows businesses to find and book flexible office space that suits their evolving needs, building a relationship with owners,” CEO David Menaged said in prepared remarks. “Our technology-driven approach offers owners and businesses a trusted marketplace that unifies the way flex space will be marketed, managed and booked.”
The company, not to be confused with the workplace commuter bus service of a similar name, was founded in 2020 during the pandemic. With allusions to Airbnb and Uber or Lyft, TROT is trying to fill a matchmaking role between those who own office space and others who need it.
It isn’t the only company trying to do this. Industrious, a flex space operator that counts CBRE as an investor, announced some global expansions in May, giving it a broad reach and backing of a major CRE powerhouse. The company claims presence in more than 120 locations in 50 markets across the U.S. and a client base ranging in size from startups to Fortune 500s.
Then there’s Upflex, which last month announced a $30 million Series-A fundraising round led by WeWork and including Newmark, Cushman & Wakefield, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, and others. It originally started as a coworking aggregator in 2018 but turned its sites to becoming a common platform that can interconnect different suppliers and provide a single way for users to manage their bookings. In 2020, Colliers launched its online platform for access to thousands of on-demand workspaces across 70 countries, using technology from Upflex.
TROT may find the competition difficult. The company site reads, “Browse hundreds of listings direct from building owners to find spaces that fit a range of budgets, building classes, and team sizes.” But click the “get started” button and what fills the display is “42 workspaces found in 13 buildings. The number of listings is far smaller than what the company seems to claim and that may not be enough for it to establish itself in a highly competitive market.