After Disruption Hits the Philippine Taxi Industry, a Startup Is Looking at Real Estate Options
MANILA – We are all aware of the changes that are happening in the taxi/transportation industry, thanks to companies like Uber and GrabTaxi. So how about another industry such as real estate? This time, Asian tycoons whose wealth is mostly derived from real estate, should look out for the next disruption.
The Philippine economy is the second fastest growing economy in the SEA region with Manila and Cebu having one of the lowest office and retail vacancy rates in the world. This fact makes office space hunting for corporations very challenging. “The market is very prolandlord, allowing landlords to cherry-pick among possible tenants,” said Mario Berta, Founder and CEO of FlySpaces.com, a startup that allows companies and freelancers to see all the short-term office and retail inventory out there, not only from short-term office providers like KMC Solutions or Regus but also from companies that simply have extra space that they want to rent out.
“We want to offer a complete and comprehensive selection to people and corporations that need flexibility. It could be a freelancer looking for better Internet connection than what a coffee shop provides or an established corporation that needs meeting rooms for a couple of hours around town or a satellite office or a brand that is looking to set up a pop-up shop to test a product,” Berta added.
FlySpaces is an online marketplace just like Airbnb, but it does not charge any fee from the user. It makes money by charging a “booking fee” to the space provider. It is now operational in Manila and Cebu with more than 100 spaces available to book. “Our objective is to truly empower SMEs around Asia that cannot afford the substantial financial engagement that long-term rentals require. I myself struggled to find an office when I was setting up a venture for Rocket Internet around Asia and specifically the Philippines,” Berta added further.
FlySpaces is coming into the game at the right time as prices of office space are skyrocketing in most of the ASEAN markets and flexibility is needed. In the Philippines alone, some enterprising companies have already started heavily expanding into the business of providing flexible, elegant and modern shared spaces for meetings, conferences, events, product launches and prestigious office addresses.