The decentralized reality of office work after the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive plenty of startup activity. To wit: OfficeRnD, which makes workplace management software that's increasingly geared toward helping businesses provide a 'hybrid office' model -- meaning they're offering flexible work spaces to staff who want to spend some of their time working out of a shared physical location, not just dial in and work remotely from home.
The startup has just closed a $10 million Series A to continue building out its workplace management SaaS for landlords and office managers -- which offers features like resource scheduling (booking meeting rooms etc), employee/co-working space member engagement, and financial management tools through web and mobile applications.
The Series A funding is led by Runa Capital with Flashpoint Venture Capital and LAUNCHub Ventures also participating.
The financing will be used to dial up OfficeRnD's marketing with the aim of expanding market share, including by growing its partnerships.
At this stage OfficeRnD has more than 1,000 customers using its tools to manage more than 2,000 flexible spaces and offer what it describes as a "work from anywhere" experience that currently touches "tens of thousands" of tenants and more than 300,000 employees.
It says its tools for co-working spaces "fully automate the tenant/customer lifecycle" -- from preparing a contract and e-signing it, to putting it on auto-billing, automatically invite employees to the space app and the online portal, allowing them to book spaces and interact with other areas, providing them with credits to use for booking meeting spaces, as well as giving them office access through the access management system, WiFi, document printing, etc.
Currently, OfficeRnD's customers are spread across more than 90 countries -- but its best market is the US which accounts for 45% of its customers, followed by circa 15% in the UK; 15% in the EU; 15% in APAC and 10% elsewhere.
The London-based startup was actually founded back in 2015, launching the first version of its product in 2016 -- so years before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and triggered a temporary shuttering of physical offices everywhere, followed by a slow and (still) partial reopening.
So while its original focus was helping co-working spaces and commercial real estate better manage the use of their shared work locations, since the pandemic struck the startup says it's seen a big surge in demand from companies looking for tools to help them switch to a more flexible and hybrid office routine.
Hence while its typical customers remain co-working and "flex spaces" (it says it has about 800), followed by landlords (~100) -- it also now has around 50 mid-size companies (with between 100-1,000 employees) also using its tools to reconfigure their approach to office-based work.
A recently launched product -- called 'OfficeRnD Hybrid' -- is geared towards these corporate customers to help them move away from the traditional "all-hands 9-5" routine to a flexible, hybrid office model.
The new funding will be skewed towards investing "heavily" in this Hybrid work management offering, it says.
"We see a huge traction there as most companies now want to let their teams work in a hybrid way which in essence means flexible working or co-working," says OfficeRnD, adding: "We see a great opportunity to transfer our knowledge from co-working spaces to corporate customers and help them utilize their workspaces in the best possible way giving their employees full flexibility to work as they want."
"What happened throughout COVID-19 is that flexible work became a clear 'future of work'," the startup also tells TechCrunch, saying the shift opened up two new markets for its product: Firstly, landlords who it says were looking to "provide flexibility and better experience to their tenants"; and, secondly, the aforementioned corporates wanting to be able to offer what it bills as a "flexibility and better work experience" to their own staff.
"Essentially, we now offer products for everyone who wants to be able to manage a flex space and provide great workspace experience to people, whether it's a co-working space, a landlord or a corporation," it adds.
"Technology has been on a steady path of enabling flexible work for over a decade and COVID-19 has only served to accelerate the process," argues Miroslav Miroslavov, co-founder and CEO, in a statement. "Our platform allows landlords, flex workspace operators, and companies to engage people and manage their workplace on a flexible-first principle."
"OfficeRnD has become extremely relevant for the industry that is largely shifting to a hybrid work model having tested it during the pandemic", adds Dmitry Chikhachev, general partner at Runa Capital, in another supporting statement. "A lot of companies we know have grown yet kept the same lease on their office and now realize they want to use it differently and provide more opportunities to their employees".
On the competitive front, OfficeRnD names the likes of Nexudus, Essensys and Yardi as its main competitors in the co-working spaces market, as well as Envoy, Robin and Condeco in the corporate space market.
"What sets us apart from everyone in terms of the feature set and customer benefits is the ease of use and the depth of our workspace (employee/member) apps and the level of our integrations & automations," it argues. "Other than these, it's the quality of customer service we strive to provide. We are a customer-obsessed team and we try to always go above and beyond."
If you're curious about the name, the 'RnD' bit doesn't stand for research and development -- rather it's a stand in for 'rooms and desks' -- so OfficeRnD is going after an AirBnB-style naming vibe.