Earlier this year, Industrious announced the acquisition of PivotDesk, an office-sharing marketplace that has been around since 2012. At the same time, the workspace provider also announced a $62M Series B round led by Riverwood Capital.
Since then, Industrious hasn’t said much about how they plan to use and incorporate the PivotDesk platform into their operations. Allwork spoke with Anna Levine, Head of Growth at Industrious, to learn more about the acquisition and the company’s plans for the future.
“In general, at Industrious we are pretty keen on acquisitions, so we keep our eyes and ears open. We like to understand who is who in the market, what they’re doing well, and what they know.”
“We want to learn. We are growing, but we know we are not the only fish in the pond.”
Levine spoke about Industrious’ goal to better understand the office and workspace-as-a-service market. “We know there is a lot we can learn from others. We also believe that the whole sector will be consolidating and we want to stay ahead of the curve.”
So, why PivotDesk?
“For a long time, we’ve been talking about how, if, and when to incorporate tech into our spaces,” Levine said. “Though we have the basics like a member portal, we haven’t spent any time building our own technology.”
Plus, “there’s no better way for a company that doesn’t have a lot of technological basis to leap forward than by acquiring a handful of smart engineers that know their stuff.”
More often than not, operators seek technology platforms and solutions that will help them build and strengthen their workspace community. Levine confessed that this isn’t exactly what Industrious is focusing on with PivotDesk.
“It does not have a community building focus,” she stated. “What we’re interested in is the customer experience. We want to understand what it is actually like to be the team leader that’s responsible for looking and finding office space”.
Simply stated, Industrious is going after data.
“When you think about it, all of our members find us online. When someone is searching for workspace, the first step they’re likely to take is a Google Search. We want to figure out what people are searching for, how they’re searching for it, how much they’re willing to pay, and what they’re basing their decisions on.”
“When the opportunity came to buy PivotDesk, it was a no brainer. It’s been around for a number of years, it’s explored a lot of things about customer acquisition when people are trying to find their next workspace. We were and still are eager to learn from them. If we want to be the dominant player in the office search market, we are going to have to learn.”
PivotDesk: the platform that holds data that can help find operators worth acquiring?
Though Levine didn’t comment on this subject directly, she did state that Industrious is “actively exploring acquisition options, particularly with operators. It is, then, possible that PivotDesk will be the vehicle that will allow Industrious to more efficiently ‘keep its eyes and ears open’.
“We are reworking the operation model to be more user-oriented and make the process more seamless for those searching for and those wanting to list spaces.”
PivotDesk’s end-goal will remain the same: to help individuals and companies find space. “Listings will include Industrious locations, as well as others, as there are now.”
However, they are planning on stepping up the game.”We’re adding to the platform private spaces either inside coworking spaces or standalone spaces. We also want to add a quality element to the platform; in the same way that Industrious focuses on hospitality, the spaces listed in PivotDesk will have to meet certain standards.”
It’s those operators that are able to meet these standards that will catch Industrious’ attention and could potentially become acquired.
Industrious is planning for explosive growth, and they are looking at various ways in which to stay ahead of the curve and grow their national (and eventually international) footprint. Acquisitions is one way to do this, but so are operation agreements with landlords, which is what CEO Jamie Hodari said to Forbes recently.
Industrious’ acquisition of PivotDesk will provide them with valuable data that will allow them to understand the market and ‘pivot’ accordingly, should they need to do so.