Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our French team, headed by Elsa Vaillant to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the region. Each time we will ask PropTech innovators burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders as much as we have.
Designed for every company’s meeting needs (company seminars, executive committees, strategy meetings…), Comet Meetings provides inspiring meeting spaces in the heart of cities and offers a new experience that stimulates collective intelligence. After 5 years, opening more than 10 buildings in Paris, Brussels and Madrid, the company continues its French and international expansion, and is now accelerating the development of its second branch of activity: Hospitality by Comet. Comet Meetings keeps pursuing its ambition to become one of the leading players of the “Future of Work”.
Honestly, we are very lucky compared to other countries. The growth and strengthening of French PropTech movement has been helped by the backing of the government who understands the need for digital transformation and who has bolstered the French property market. With all this positive display of PropTech advancement, France is certainly starting to be recognised globally for innovation and market maturity. This positive and sparkling ecosystem helped us to start and grow fast, facing an incredible pandemic period by stretching our offer, then finally expanding our business internationally.
Today, the PropTech sector is facing significant challenges and opportunities. From the environmental impact of our physical spaces, to housing affordability, to shifting paradigms across how we work, where we live, work and build communities — PropTech is responding to the changing times. In France, the change has been incredible over the last 2-3 years : the pandemic has accelerated the workplace revolution, since the need for flexibility and services have proven to be essentials in the actual working dynamics. The whole sector has jumped from the previous state to the future state and in this context of growth, collaboration and innovation are key elements for PropTech startups and real estate companies, to rely on for tools and technologies that help them scale their projects.
The French funding landscape is extremely broad and active. Specifically about PropTech, a number of funds are starting to specialise in this vertical and in particular one of them (Eurazeo IdInvest) was the very one to start having PropTech specialisation and has been thriving over the last years. We figured that nowadays a large number of funds are able to understand and bear the business model of Comet Meetings, but specifically we decided to move with Eurazeo due to their very deep expertise in the real estate and PropTech market
The physical world has changed, which means the way to manage physical spaces has forever changed. Hotels as well as office buildings are adopting ways to use their space with flexibility, more services, contactless and remote management, keeping employees and clients safe during the pandemic and saving money on real estate, assets management and staffing. These changes (extension of remote working and digital nomadism included) are impacting our Comet Meeting business model very positively. Because at Comet, we believe that today’s work is the sum of three fundamental building blocks: production, collaboration and socialisation. Production is what you (can) do alone in your corner – usually best done from home. Collaboration is when we build with others to bring collective intelligence to life (strategy meetings, brainstorming, seminars). Socialisation is the informal links we create between employees, which connect us to the company. That’s why we need modern, flexible and easy to work & live workplaces, because “Meeting is the new office”.
With Hospitality by Comet, for example, we offer real estate owners various solutions: flexible and serviced co-working spaces, ultra-equipped new generation meeting rooms, a wide range of hotel-inspired services (community management, wellness, concierge services, reception, etc.), to make employees’ daily lives easier. All of this is available via a dedicated digital platform, which allows users to reserve their office or meeting room, order lunch, sign up for a yoga/wellness session or attend one of the scheduled events. Because tomorrow’s office will be above all a place for meeting, sharing and socialising, not just an accumulation of workstations.
The market is very active and the PropTech movement in France continues to advance, both on the start up side and on the investor side. We’re expecting France to become one of the leading markets. The pandemic looks to be the crisis that finally propels the tech-averse real estate world into the 21st century. Just a decade ago, Europe’s startup ecosystem was small, but it has grown rapidly, with big successes. On the whole, the PropTech scene in Europe got off to a somewhat later start than the pioneers in the USA, and the characteristics of the European markets may play a role, too. If, despite fragmentation, market penetration is increased further, business models focus on scalability and disruption, and sufficient funding is provided, there is a good chance that a PropTech unicorns will be able to develop in Europe as well. In the near-term future, more and more PropTech startups are expected to scale up, and I’m expecting France to become one of these leading markets, disrupting the traditional real estate journey, including searching, buying, selling, renting and more.
Our ambition is clear – to become the urban meeting European leader and the office services game changer. We aim to double in size in our real estate assets and staff & employees base over the next two years, scaling our Meeting (venues & know-how) + Hospitality business model and targeting the objective of 60M€ turnover.
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