This is the first in a series of interviews with office tenants of different types. We'll highlight many leasing scenarios in which visualization tools like Plans can help tenants make faster decisions.
Vera Korshunova and the team at SeatGeek know a thing or two about searching for office space. For the second time in less than a year, Vera is leading the search for a new, larger office to accommodate the quickly growing ticket search engine. As Director of Operations at the startup Vera has seen the team triple in size in the past year, and with new hires come new space planning puzzles.
"Towards the end of our office space search we had things narrowed down to several finalists. One of the biggest decision factors was whether each space would fit our anticipated team size in ~3 years, but the capacity of each office was a guessing game," said Jack Groetzinger, SeatGeek Co-Founder. "If we'd had Plans available to us then, the decision process would have been miles easier."
I sat down with Vera to discuss the leasing process from the tenant's perspective and understand how access to better visualization and communication tools could have accelerated and improved their leasing process.
Floored: Tell us a little bit about your role at SeatGeek and how the company has been evolving.
Vera Korshunova: I've been at SeatGeek for three and a half years, so I've seen the company grow from just a few people to almost a hundred today. In the past year alone, we've gone from about 30 to more than 90 employees.
As we've grown, I've kept a close eye on how many more people we can fit in our current space. Last August we got to the point where we needed to start looking for new space, so we began the search process. We signed a new lease in the beginning of the Summer, and construction is underway.
Floored: How did you start your search process, and what were your constraints?
VK: First, I estimated how many square feet of space we would need per employee based on our program, and used that number to figure out what size offices to start looking for. We have an open plan, and shared spaces are really important to us and we also needed to make sure we could fit everyone sitting in a single breakout area. We had very specific geographic preferences and aesthetic preferences, as well, so we were able to narrow down the pool pretty quickly. It was more difficult once you've narrowed down to a few options that you like.
Floored: What were the biggest challenges to choosing the right space, once you had narrowed down the options?
VK: Towards the end of the search, we really had two contenders that fit our criteria. We were torn between those spaces. One space was built out for five different tenants at the same time, and each tenant had their own bathroom and kitchen. The other space was like a maze because it was used as a showroom for a designer. To try to understand these spaces we would look at photos, videos, floorplans, and had to tour the spaces several times.
Floored: How did the owners or their leasing teams help you understand these complex spaces and move to a decision?
VK: Some of the owners provided generic test fits for us, but we didn't use them. We had to rely on our own designer to build customized test fits for our needs. Without the customized test fits, we didn't have a confident sense of how many people could fit in the space comfortably. Any company that is going through a growth phase needs to think really hard about this.
But this was also the point at which the founders wanted get involved in the decision process. Once we had narrowed down the options, the co-founders each had to try to understand the spaces completely fresh, and it was difficult to comprehend them as they were built.
Floored: How would a tool like Plans have helped you understand the spaces faster, and build internal consensus more quickly?
VK: Plans would really have helped in the latter stages of the decision process. It would be a nice way to showcase and communicate the spaces internally to the decision makers and founders. It's a materially important decision, but it's very difficult as it is to visualize in person. Additionally, as the number of properties that you're looking at goes up, it becomes even more valuable of a tool. I saw almost two dozen spaces and they all started to blend together.
Stay tuned to this series to hear from more tenants.