“I saw the marketplace shifting, people didn’t need a permanent, physical space anymore.”
Davinci Virtual Office Solutions was born when Bill Grodnik, Chairman and President, realized how alternative workspace strategies and mobile work environments demanded a new workplace solution.
Before starting Davinci Virtual with Martin Senn, Mr. Grodnik had already been a part of the industry for over 20 years. First as President of HQ Business Centers in Arizona and later as Owner of Davinci International, a business center operator.
“I had always been fond of the virtual office concept and had the idea of building a platform that would offer virtual offices. The way I looked at it was that even when offices were full, I could still make revenue from selling our address.”
While Mr. Grodnik was still in the office suites business, he met with Richard Nissen, virtual office pioneer, in London to discuss Mr. Nissen’s virtual office vision. Some time later, Mr. Nissen’s brother, Anthony, flew to the US and offered a virtual office workshop to Mr. Grodnik and his team.
By this time, the idea was starting to reach its full shape, it just needed to be realized. It was also around this time that Mr. Grodnik was introduced to Martin Senn, an expert in call standards, technology, marketing, and e-commerce.
In 2006, Davinci Virtual Office Solutions was launched by Mr. Grodnik and Mr. Senn without outside investment and nine months after its inception it reached the breakeven point and became profitable.
As a virtual office platform, Davinci Virtual was the first of its kind. It was also the first to introduce to the market the virtual office wholesaling through an e-commerce platform
Part of Davinci’s success was their ability to quickly adapt to new market needs and demands, an issue that we recently addressed in OT, stating the importance of timely responses in a global market full of competition.
Mr. Senn notes that although there were virtual office operators already in business when Davinci was established, “the providers that existed at the time were really business center operators that offered virtual offices as an extra service. Davinci Virtual was the first to strictly offer virtual offices, the first to offer truly mobile solutions.”
“Our idea was to offer thousands of locations, to create a global platform, and for all of our products and services to be digitally available,” adds Mr. Grodnik.
The success didn’t come without its challenges. Mr. Grodnik and Mr. Senn were facing an uneducated market.
“When we started in 2006 most people didn’t know what a virtual office was. The term was used for a lot of different things; people didn’t know how our product could help them.”
“Education has come a long way since then, however, it took years of advertising our products for us to see a change. Though people now actively search for virtual offices and their components, we believe that there still is and always will be room for more education.”
Both founders believe that part of this improved education is due to to the increased awareness in the marketplace on the way people work.
“Mobile technology enables a different work way than there was 15 years ago. The need for a physical office environment on a permanent basis has diminished, which has led to people being more open to mobile work solutions, including virtual office ones.”
The other challenge Davinci Virtual faced was the need for them to prove their model in the industry.
“We got comments from people saying how our model wouldn’t work. It was an uphill battle; we had to turn a product that was used as a complement to a business center into a turnkey product by itself.”
Both founders are proud to say that those skeptical about their business model were wrong. This year marks Davinci’s 10th anniversary and both Mr. Grodnik and Mr. Senn see a bright future ahead.
“If you look at the trends in the workplace today, the centralized 9-5 office will go away. More people will work remotely, mobile, and global.”
And this will indeed keep Davinci in business.
By now, Davinci isn’t the only virtual office wholesaler out there. There’s also Alliance Virtual Offices (founded in 2007), Cloud Virtual, and Allied Virtual — all of which – to a different degree – offer a valuable element to local and small operators: the ability to drive business towards them by reaching a larger market through the wholesaler’s marketing efforts.
Image via Vincent Perini