No commissions? How Hong Kong's office market will face a challenge from Singaporean leasing platform GorillaSpace

By Lam Ka-sing / | June 7, 2019 12:04 PM SGT
Singaporean workspace platform GorillaSpace believes it can disrupt Hong Kong's office leasing market by allowing landlords and tenants to transact directly with each other online, a model they say has been used successfully with co-working and office space in the city state.
The start-up, founded by a husband and wife team, recently won an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Japanese real estate developer Mitsubishi ­Estate.
It said the model had been well received by growing companies seeking flexible leasing options that break with the tradition of multi-year office leases.
"Companies want less [capital] upfront commitment and we help them see all available options," said Ben Eckblad, co-founder and chief executive officer of GorillaSpace. "Tenants now have the choice of combining a long-term lease together with flexible space to house specialised teams or temporary additional headcount."
In the first four months of this year, more than 1,000 corporate tenants such as AIA, Google and KPMG were able to find office space through GorillaSpace.
GorillaSpace lists more than 1,000 properties in Singapore, including the co-working space Clarke Quay. Photo: Handout
Singaporean office landlords including Regus, Mapletree Investments, LHN Group, CapitaLand, WeWork, and Keppel Land have used the platform recently, which lists more than 1,000 properties.
Since the end of 2018, the platform has seen 21.5 per cent month-on-month traffic growth and a more than 30 per cent rise in listings.
"We operate like many of these online marketplaces, such as Airbnb," company co-founder Ginny Eckblad said.
The company, which came out of a property technology ­accelerator programme run by JLL and Lendlease in 2018, enables "teams, start-ups, and growing businesses" to get in touch with different landlords listed on the platform without charge.
GorillaSpace says its workspace model in Singapore has been well received by companies seeking flexible leasing options. Photo: Handout