Over the summer my firm expanded into our own headquarters. Being in the real estate business, we decided to undertake the entire process ourselves; who needs a broker to find space? Build out, we can handle that. Interior design, no problem. Fast forward 8 months and we’re finally putting the final touches on the interior design and layout. In that time, we toured more than 15 spaces, dealt with construction delays, managed unresponsive subs, and browsed countless blogs for interior design inspiration.
Now there’s a service that simplifies the entire process. Recently launched in NYC, 42 Floors helps companies find office space and create their dream office. 42 Floors aggregates listings complete with details, great photos, and the ability to customize results. Once you find that perfect space, 42 Floors helps design, furnish, and create a great work environment.
What makes 42 Floors great is the site’s beautiful design, intuitive user interface, and forward-thinking team. One of the team members, Darren Nix, was nice enough to give a little insight into 42 Floors launch in NYC.
Explain 42Floors in fewer than 140 characters?
42Floors is an office space search engine that’s entirely free for users. We have big photos, detailed descriptions, and fresh listings.
Why did 42Floors choose NYC as its second market?
New York is the most important commercial real estate market in the US so it was the natural next step after San Francisco. We could have tried to launch with New York as our first market back in March 2012, but we knew that there would be hiccups in the system and it seemed to make more sense to get our feet wet in a smaller market first.
Also, I don’t need to tell you that this is a relationship-driven business so it’s really important to be able to meet with landlords and brokers face to face. That was a lot easier to do in San Francisco since we all live here. When we started preparing to launch New York, Jason Freedman and Justin Bedecarre basically lived on red eye flights for several months.
What did 42Floors learn from its launch in SF that it’s applying to the NYC market?
Where to start… first off, the design of 42Floors.com has changed a lot in response to watching SF office hunters use the site. For example, we now cluster all the listings by neighborhoods on the map so that it’s easier to filter down to just the listings you want.
Another example: users really want photos — building photos, floor plans, interior photos, etc. When we launched in San Francisco, only 20% of our listings had photos, the rest just showed the Google Street View of the address (which was often the wrong building or a blocked view, etc.). For New York we made a huge push to get photos and 80% of our listings had photos at launch with more on the way.
We also changed a lot of stuff on the backend that isn’t visible to our users but matters a lot — like what happens when they request a building tour. After SF we realized we needed a way to make sure every tour request got to the right broker and that the tenant was contacted promptly so we built a queue of emails and phone calls (using Zendesk.com) to make sure every tour request got served quickly.
What’s next for 42Floors?
Chicago, LA, Boston, Seattle? We haven’t decided which market to go to next. For the next 100 days, we’re going to be working on getting the number of listings with photos up as close to 100% as we can, adding more listings in the super-high demand areas like Flatiron, and building a couple of tools that we’re keeping mum about for now.
I wish the best of luck to the entire 42 Floors team!