OfficeSpace.com is one of the oldest ongoing Internet businesses in the Seattle area, tracing its roots back to 1995. At the time (the same year Amazon.com launched), the company touted a new way for tenants and brokers to access “unbiased information on all buildings and available space in a particular market.”
Fast forward to today, and OfficeSpace.com is still going strong. But the company has new ownership, and a slightly different approach.
Internet entrepreneurs Susie and Alex Algard, best known for their roles at Whitepages, quietly purchased the company in 2010. And this week, OfficeSpace.com unveiled a new version of the service in Portland. Alex Algard said the site is really being “reborn as a startup” with the relaunch in Portland, one that’s focused more deeply on the real estate needs of tenants.
“Having gone through the office space leasing process numerous times over the years, it became apparent that tenants have extremely poor access to info,” Alex Algard tells GeekWire. “Expanding into new office space should be a fun milestone for a growing business, yet the process of getting there was quite frustrating for us.”
As a result, he said that they wanted to “put more info into the hands of tenants.” Algard remains CEO of Whitepages, though he occasionally dabbles in the dealings of OfficeSpace.com where Susie Algard is running the show.
She said the new OfficeSpace.com service in Portland is very different from the offering in Seattle, which is primarily focused on brokers who want to gather intelligence on various properties around the city.
In Portland, she said, they’ve tried to turn the tables with a focus on tenants who are looking for smaller spaces.
“This is a market segment that is unattractive to most brokers since the commissions they generate would be very small,” she said. “Tenants who are looking for small spaces are completely underserved, there’s not a great service out there that caters to their needs.”
Brokers can post listings for free on the site, with plans to develop a service that matches tenants, landlords and brokers. It is also working on social media integration, so tenants can read reviews of properties or share comments on Facebook, Google + or LinkedIn.
The goal is to eventually create a destination where tenants do not have to rely on brokers for all of their office space needs, she said. The company, with six employees, plans to launch similar services in other cities later this year.