Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our Nordic team, headed by Sanna Walfridsson to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the region. Each week 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.
Spotly is a platform & community for short-term showroom spaces. Spots. Rent out or book spots down to 1m2 in stores, cafés, hotels and other places people meet. Reuse your space to generate new content and extra income via spots. Rent spots to showcase your work or products in interesting contexts where your audience are.
It’s co-sharing, co-branding & co-creation.
A lot happened in the past two years. When we started the journey a few years ago, PropTech was not even a concept. A huge round of applause to PropTech Denmark (and their other Scandinavian brothers & sisters) for uniting the industry. They truly have made an impact for the entire eco-system. Investments? No doubt there is tons of capital out there. The real estate industry has such a big impact on society as it controls our city space. How it is developed and used (under governing laws), but most importantly – who can access it. I hope and would love to see more investments cross-industry outside the traditional silos and business models. (Spotly is here and seeking capital btw ;-))
The hearth of our mission is to give more brands & creatives access to city space for less, through spots and using space better. Eventually contributing to more inclusive and sustainable cities.
When we started our journey, we met closed doors from the industry. The concept of introducing flexibility in contracts or space-as-a-service models had very low appeal. Something changed drastically during the pandemic (2020), and suddenly, inquiries for cooperation’s started rolling in. The “hallelujah mood” kicked in, however we still face the two major challenges:
1) The willingness to design new cooperative marketing-centric business models to tackle new needs is low. If we want to do things differently, we need to discard traditional lease contracts.
2) Growth vs. value focus – we are representing a community of aggregated demand that falls in the “Bottom of the pyramid” category of space use. The potential pr. account/ pop-up is low, but there are many of them. The community represents a new source of revenue growth, greater efficiency in space use and access to innovation, but it is not made a priority. We experience real estate companies wanting to try or test our concept with excess space, but what happens often, is that a bigger deal walks in the way of us making real progress of putting that space to market as spots.
We must make inclusivity and sustainability a strategic priority. This is a demand we are now paying forward to all the partners we will work with. Which industry has the best economic base to invest in it? Real estate. Spotly is an easy tool for this.
What I think PropTech can benefit from, and that I want to challenge our industry to do, is looking outside of the usual talent pool and recruit from other industries. Real estate is a conservative sector, and what will we change, if we don’t change who is going to run it? Who can understand the space users’ needs of tomorrow? The space users… Who can understand the struggles of making a brick-and-mortar model work? The brands buying or using them. The legendary Norwegian real estate owner Olav Thon once said, that shopping centers would become the city’s new public squares. Where was the person telling everyone what this would do to the independent retailers in the the city centre?
Personally, I am super humbled by and grateful that our co-founder Aya dared to bet on us quite early. With a background in philosophy, advertising and visual culture, she was not a usual PropTech co-founder suspect. After a two-year crash-course in PropTech, she has developed an idiosyncratic knifelike understanding of what we need to do and why. Through her leadership, we are finally being able to build new bridges between creatives, culture and real estate. And that is groundbreaking.
We’re Scandinavian! So, priority is to expand into major cities in our home market. Since it is working here – it can work everywhere. But first here.
There is no way back, is there? Since real estate is the biggest industry in the world, I can only expect the future of PropTech to be prosperous. Money is there, right? I have great hopes in, that PropTech can be an instrumental tool in democratising it and making it more sustainable. One of my dreams, is that when you pass prime commercial real estate on the street, there are no grey papers or outdated stickers in the windows, but life.
Our cities need to be livable and accessible.
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