5 minute read
August 17, 2020
Differentiating Office Space Providers with Ludovic Célérier of Hiptown
This article originally appeared on www.buildingproptech.com, a retired blog where I interviewed proptech founders on how they were building and growing their businesses.
Hey Ludovic! What’s your background and what led to you working in PropTech?
I'm a 34 year old french entrepreneur. My background is computer science, mathematics and marketing. I've spent 8 years in innovation and real estate. Ex CPO, CO and founder of many startups in the smartbuilding and smartcity space. I was also host of the show Proptech by Stonup on http://radio-immo.fr/ (RE webradio. The 1st media in FR for RE).
What problem are you working to solve with Hiptown?
Office buildings cost a lot and there is little differentiation between the physical assets. Because of this, the only competitive advantage can be obtained is through services. Hiptown manages all services for the building (welcome desks, concierge, food, coworking, marketing, event, community management). We make it simple for the owner or for the asset manager -they deal with only one partner, and the user has only one front office for all services.
The second problem we're trying to solve is the traditional office leasing model. Today, you have only traditional property leasing (3/6/9 years) with fixed rent. We're developing a new model with low fixed rent and a variable rent based on building turnover. Our model is adds much more resilience to the space, as we're now seeing with COVID.
What’s the process been like as you build Hiptown?
I met my partner Matthieu several years ago when he was the founder of Nextdoor (coworking brand of Bouygues Immobilier, now named WOJO) and 2 years ago we decided to work together to develop a new experience and a new model in building dedicated for work.
We are convinced that the future of working building is the 'Platform Building', where you can find a lot of services for workers and for inhabitants in neighborhoud. Welcome desks, conciergerie, food, events, coworking, fitness, business centres, bars… all managed by Hiptown.
Our moto is : Hiptown loves you, we manage everything for you.
👋 Hey reader,
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How have you gone about growing your user base and revenue? What has been most effective?
We've had success going directly to the landlords and assets managers of target buildings. Many of them are the biggest in France with several billions euros of RE valuation. And our revenue are directly based on our opening in new buildings.
What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetizing Hiptown?
The hardest part is clearly the time of developing new buildings in the real estateindustry. I come from startups in SaaS products where you can develop and sell your product in weeks. The scale of time in real estate is month or years, so we have to be cautious about our cashflow.
What insights about real estate and technology have you came to realize while building Hiptown?
On one hand, landlords can create so much cash without working so they don’t really need technology, but operators are in a more risky situation, so they need tools and tech to intelligently run their business.
On the other hand, real estate is an industry about brick and mortar, with a long time horizon that doesn't match well with the startup world's cashflow structures.