The former local head of cab-hailing app EasyTaxi has put up a new technology startup that aims to disrupt the real estate industry by offering short-term office and retail space without engaging in a long-term financial commitment.
Mario Berta, a former top executive at tech conglomerate Rocket Internet which operated EasyTaxi, said his new company, FlySpaces.com, is ready to shake the real estate industry.
Berta noted that the Philippine economy is the second-fastest growing economy in the Southeast Asia, with Manila and Cebu having one of the lowest office and retail vacancy rates in the world. This, he said, makes office space hunting for corporations very challenging.
“The market is very pro-landlord, allowing landlords to cherry-pick among possible tenants,” said Berta, who serves as founder and CEO of FlySpaces.com.
The startup 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, he said 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, Berta disclosed.
“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.
He said 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.