Ophigo Office Search for German companies aims for transparency and easy
Introduce yourself and the startup Ophigo to our readers!
My name is Valerio Siviero, and together with Suprith Reddy and Ampolon Ventures, I founded the PropTech startup Ophigo in 2019.
Ophigo combines technical innovation and customer service to simplify and accelerate “Office search” for Germany companies, which is often a lengthy, confusing and complicated process. Using our platform, we aim to reduce the confusion, save time, and add transparency to the commercial property market.
Customers can find their dream office completely digitally, or get the support of our experts to help with administrative processes, spatial planning and rental price negotiations.
Why did you decide to start a company?
In my last job, I experienced how time-consuming and exhausting it can be to find a new office, and how many unexpected steps there can be – for example, lengthy agreements and negotiations with landlords – before the office can finally be occupied. The experience never left me!
Then, by chance I got to know my co-founder and our founding investor, who were interested in exactly this problem, and together, we decided to start Ophigo.
What is the vision behind Ophigo?
We want to make it easier and quicker for a company to find their new office. Saving them time and money, and helping modernise an industry in the process.
Anyone who has ever looked for an office knows how long and laborious the search and the subsequent administrative processes and negotiations are. In addition, a lot of important information has so far only been accessible to real estate agents and owners – which is why the market lacks transparency, especially for tenants. We want to change that!
The technology and personal service from Ophigo ensures greater transparency in the market and simplifies necessary processes. We relieve tenants and landlords or brokers of work, and above all give helpful knowledge to commercial tenants. This is how we aim to put all parties in a better position.
From the idea to the start, what have been the biggest challenges so far and how have you financed yourself?
We are newcomers to the commercial property industry – that is a challenge but also a great opportunity. Newcomers in particular are often underestimated, but we believe we have the potential to disrupt the status quo.
At Ophigo, we have a new perspective on the market and the needs of its players. Our focus is on the tenant, and we do not rely on the tried and tested methods.
This requires a lot of commitment and a lot of time, and also a solid team with strong talents. We have focused a lot on the team in our first year, and that has enabled to make the great progress we have already realised. We enjoy financial support from our investors Ampolon Ventures, the venture arm of Aareon Group.
Who is the target group of Ophigo?
We focus on tenants who are looking for commercial space up to 1000 square meters.
How does Ophigo work? What are the advantages? What differentiates you from other providers?
We offer customers the opportunity to find an office easily, quickly, and digitally where possible. It starts with our web platform experience, and ends with our customer service experience. One of the many things that differentiates Ophigo is that we look after the customer from the beginning of their search, to the end.
First, we aim to enhance the digital search experience comparison to the established players here in Germany. For example, on Ophgo there are no “bait ads” or duplications in the properties offered, tours can be carried out virtually, and soon, even the contract can be signed digitally.
Then, after a suitable office has been shortlisted, our customers are supported by our in-house team through all the subsequent stages, such as touring, spatial planning and contract negotiation.
This vertical integration is also different from the status quo, as usually the platform that lists the properties and the brokers who serves the customer, are actually different organisation.
For brokers and landlords, we offer a convenient service that above all saves them time and thus increases the profitability of their business.
How has your company changed with Corona?
Even months before the Covid 19 pandemic started, we tested flexible and location-independent work and ultimately introduced it as the standard. With us, every employee can work digitally from home regardless of the current crisis. We also only carry out virtual tours of our properties to reduce the risks for our customers.
How did you prepare for this and what changes did you make?
We are already using new technologies to offer the futuristic experience of a fully furnished office. With this technology, our customers can make faster, better and more efficient decisions regarding their office choice after experiencing a virtual tour themselves or guided.
Where do you see the opportunity in the crisis?
At Ophigo, we took the crisis as a challenge and developed innovative work solutions, business ideas, product ideas and technological innovations before and during this pandemic.
The crisis is a great opportunity for digital solutions and new solutions, as they are being challenged even more. We see ourselves well prepared for the increased demand for digital solutions. Even now we are available to our customers and interested parties as partners with advice and action, and help them, for example, to reduce their office space due to increased home office.
Ophigo, where is the way to go? Where do you see yourself in five years?
The office search is currently only 20 percent digital – 80 percent of the search is still analog. We are working to reverse this distribution by completely digitizing the office search. In particular, we want to automate administrative processes such as making appointments, listing real estate and signing contracts. This gives tenants, landlords and brokers time for the essential things, such as finding an office space that fits the corporate culture and goals of a company.
We would like to carry this “user experience” to other European countries. We can also imagine expanding into areas such as logistics and retail properties.
Finally: What 3 tips would you give prospective founders along the way?
Work on something that is really close to your heart. Building a company is a mammoth task and can take a long time. That is why it is important to find something to work with for a decade.
Surround yourself with people who are different from you. We live in a complex world that poses different challenges to us. It is unlikely that all critical skills are in one. A diverse team is therefore the key to a successful company.
Simple but effective: just do it! Before I started Ophigo, I tried several times to start other companies. I lost so much time in planning, preparing and researching that I ultimately did not start up. Therefore: Founding is not rocket science. In the end, it depends on just doing it.
More information you will find here
Thank you Valerio Siviero for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.