Philippine-based startup and real estate business disruptor FlySpaces said it had raised $500,000 in fresh capital, and the company disclosed this during the formal announcement of its online market place for office and retail space in Singapore.
Investors, who backed FlySpaces, were Future Now Ventures and Narra Ventures both from the Philippines, Coent Venture Partner of Singapore, and also German-based real estate broker and service company Rubina Real Estate, including entrepreneurs Michael Brehm and Thomas Baum who have been early backers of ecommerce sites like Ensogo, Dealguru, City Delivery and Foodrunner.
FlySpaces CEO Mario Berta, who led the startup’s debut in the Philippines last October, said the Singapore launch marks the beginning of future business expansion in Southeast Asia.
“We are indeed ready to take off,” Berta said. “With this capital, our aim to conquer SEA is moving even faster than we thought. I am personally astonished by the amount of interest we received from investors. We only aimed to raise $100,000 to $150,000 but we’ve tripled that and had to decline other potential investors, too.”
Berta, a former regional managing director and co-founder of cab-hailing app EasyTaxi by Rocket Internet, explained that FlySpaces’ business model is to provide information of available office spaces and rental spaces in major cities, but it only charges booking fees to space providers and not to netizens who visit the portal to get information.
The type of spaces the company offers are co-working and hot desk, conference and meeting rooms, training and workshops, function rooms, interview rooms, short-term and shared office space, galleries, events places, including retail pop ups.
“Singaporean players welcome our arrival into their market very well. In a couple of weeks we have managed to be onboard among the city-state’s biggest co-working and serviced office operators such as JustCo, The Co, Work Central and Executive Centre, and we will also start working on regular companies that simply have extra office spaces and want to sublet to subsidize their crazy rents,” Berta said.
FlySpaces co-founder and COO Guillaume Martin said they are preparing to execute plans to address new challenges that the company’s regional expansions may bring.
“On the demand side we have received tremendous interest, yet due to the nature of our B2B business we need to invest time with SMEs to educate them on the benefits of a platform like ours,” Guillaume said.
In a recent interview with DEALSTREETASIA, Berta said the time is ripe for a new business disruption like in real estate, where most wealth of Asian tycoons are derived from.
He noted the conglomerates alone “have been thriving in an oligopolistic environment” in each of their respective markets by owning 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the office and real estate assets.
“I am happy for the big real estate guys who, in the last decade, became iconic brands in the region, but now it’s time to give back to entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporations that had fostered their growth,” Berta explained. “An asset optimization model for office and retail is inevitable in this part of the world.”