- Industrious acquired PivotDesk in March this year. The team behind PivotDesk created Central, a new curated marketplace of flexible workspaces.
- Central is focused on catering to the medium-large business and corporate teams segment.
- The foundation of Central is the curation process of its inventory, allowing only sophisticated, high-quality spaces to be listed on the platform.
In a interview shortly after the announcement, Anna Levine, Head of Growth at Industrious, stated the following: “We’re adding to the [PivotDesk] platform 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.”
Nine months later, Industrious has announced the launch of Central, a curated marketplace for flexible, sophisticated office space. Though Central was created by the team behind PivotDesk, the new company will remain and operate separately, both from PivotDesk and Industrious.
Allwork.Space spoke with Peter Nocchiero, General Manager at Central, to learn more about the new workspace finding tool and how it aims to solve one of the most pressing problems of commercial real estate.
Nocchiero has dedicated the better part of the last decade to working with startup and growth-stage companies. He joined the Industrious team in early 2017, following the acquisition of PivotDesk.
Allwork.Space: What is Central and how is it different from PivotDesk?
Peter Nocchiero: Central is a curated marketplace for flexible, sophisticated office space. We’ve been in beta for 3 months now and we are launching in New York City today (December 12, 2017). At the time that Industrious acquired PivotDesk, we had a shared vision that the office space discovery process was broken.
Prior to developing Central, we took learning from PivotDesk and dug deep into intensive market research and customer discovery to make sure that our assumption–that the office discovery process was broken– was correct. Our research pointed us at a really large market opportunity for medium-large businesses and corporate teams. Though we did leverage a significant amount of knowledge from PivotDesk, Central will operate independently from PivotDesk, managing a different product inventory and targeting a different segment.
Allwork.Space: In what manner was the office discovery process broken? How is Central solving this problem?
The search process demanded a lot of time and those in charge were visiting place after place. To add to the trouble, the traditional search process often gathers incomplete and inaccurate information that is hard to compare, therefore making the office space decision harder and more complicated than it should be.
In other words, office search is painful. And this pain is magnified by the fact that when businesses search for office space, it’s a pressing matter, either because the team has grown or because the company wants to enter a new market. This time and resource-consuming process has led many businesses and corporations to operate in suboptimal locations for longer than they intended, especially as there was no single place or platform available to help them find quality space.
Central will help solve this problem by providing a one-stop shop for medium-large businesses and corporate teams to find available, top-quality workspaces.
Allwork.Space: What is so unique about Central?
There are 2 things that make Central unique to other workspace marketplaces. The first is that we are intensely focused on the medium-large and corporate business segment. We are set on solving this segment’s office search problems before we consider catering to other markets.
The second aspect that makes us unique is our focus on quality. The foundation of Central is the curation process around its inventory. In order for a space to be listed on our platform, it needs to meet certain quality standards. To be honest, it’s a fairly long list that includes the number of private seating, central location, flexible lease terms, natural light, and many more.
In addition to these criteria, we also evaluate a location’s elevator capacity, cell service reception, internet speed, and the like. We want to give people and businesses the best possible picture of what an office looks like before they arrive. Sharing this information beforehand can help people make an informed decision in less time.
Regarding the quality standard, we also examine and curate the tenants that we match to each location. We want to ensure that the company has a budget to afford the space, that they are ready to move in in less than 90 days, and that they are committed to tour the space at a certain time.
Our goal is to ensure quality across the marketplace and ecosystem.
Allwork.Space: You mentioned Central has been in beta for the past 3 months. What has the reception of the platform been like?
The beta period has been very helpful to the team, as it’s enabled us to harden the solution and be sure that the solution we built actually plugs into the problems we set out to solve. We’ve connected various teams to our inventory and we’ve already seen some bookings occur in the platform. One of these bookings was closed and done in less than 30 days, which is a really fast turn-around in the real estate world.
On the tenant side, the general reception has been very good. We’ve received feedback and comments saying that we are doing a good job of curating spaces, and of having a collection of office space that is ‘easy to dig into’.
However, there is always room for improvement. We need to increase our inventory in submarkets and add more details of the listings like printing, type of furniture, wifi, etc.
Allwork.Space: The launch was announced for NYC only. Why did you pick NYC and can we expect a launch in other locations?
New York City is the real estate capital of the world. In addition to this fact, PivotDesk had a very large audience in New York, and because we leveraged a lot of knowledge learned from PivotDesk, it was the natural and logical option.
As to launching in other cities, the short answer is no. We want to make New York work first; we want to see the platform work on a medium-scale before we expand into other cities. We don’t want to overextend ourselves. However, if things pan out according to plan, we should be expanding into other markets during the course of 2018.