Bogdan Nicoara, CEO & Co-founder, Bright Spaces tells us how the platform is reshaping the way tenants, landlords and brokers interact and conduct business.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Bogdan Nicoara: We are grateful that we are all healthy and that we continued doing what we love. Hard times may cause suffering and despair, or they can accelerate the good changes in people. I want to believe that 2020 and Covid did just this – helped us better understand ourselves, united us as a Family, and pushed us to the limit to grow and find the best solutions for the future.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Bright Spaces.
Bogdan Nicoara: I’ve been an entrepreneur for all my life, and I’ve always been passionate about finding better solutions to existing problems. With Bright Spaces, I can say it was really a leap of faith. In 2019, together with my co-founder, Andrei, we decided to exit our previous business after 12 years and start fresh.
The concept behind Bright Spaces won a Real Estate Hackathon here in Romania, which proved to us the potential of such a solution. We decided to pursue this path, and the idea was validated again and again: we won a Proptech Hackathon organized by Skanska Romania and Proptech Romania, got our first funding round of 185.000 EUR, and got accepted in the Pi Labs Accelerator (only 5 companies got in from over 600 applicants). We’ve had more than 150 meetings and talks with potential partners, clients, tenants, and landlords in order to better define the prototype and make sure we align our efforts with the growing need for digitization in real estate and start to be featured in local and international renowned publications.
In 2020 we signed our first clients (from Romania and the UK) and launched the first live implementation of our platform, which showcases Skanska Romania’s project, Equilibrium (available here).
How does Bright Spaces innovate?
Bogdan Nicoara: Bright Spaces offers an end-to-end leasing solution to office spaces around the world. Through our innovative showcasing platform, we reshape the way tenants, landlords and brokers interact and conduct business.
We have built a single information point for agents and potential tenants that offers the possibility to showcase any building, regardless of its size or location, in 2D and 3D, in a completely digital environment. It becomes easier for tenants to discover all points of interest around the building (public transport, accessibility of the city center, restaurants, hotels, cafes, fitness rooms, etc.) as well as tech specifications and special qualifications of the building. Furthermore, offer requests happen faster, as potential tenants can check availability in real-time, ask for personalized offers, or book live tours directly from the app.
Bright Spaces also saves a lot of the manual work done by the leasing department and, in the current context, offers a safe, remote experience.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Bogdan Nicoara: Even though we started this company back in 2019, when nobody could have predicted the pandemic, the new safety regulations have managed to emphasize the need for such a service. So we can say that our growth was actually accelerated with the support of visionary clients and partners, who saw the importance of remote, interactive visualization.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Bogdan Nicoara: Since I’ve started my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve been through many difficult moments that required hard decisions. Back when I was still coordinating the agency, we had to let go of 12 people in one day. Even if we offered ourselves to help them find new jobs, it was still a sad experience that consumed me for months after that.
A difficult choice was to take a leap of faith and start Bright Spaces. After 12 years in an industry, I was comfortable in, I started fresh, building a product for a new market. It was completely worth it.
An important lesson I’ve learned until now, and especially since I started Bright Spaces, is that what takes you from 0 to 1 is not enough to take you from 1 to 10 and definitely not suited to take you from 10 to 100. Being able to adjust, embrace change, to redefine your product continuously is vital for a startup.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Bright Spaces in the future?
Bogdan Nicoara: I take around 45 minutes every day to meditate, do yoga, and do a bit of sport – these activities boost my energy and give me a good start to the day. I also read a lot – mostly SF now, and try to stay connected to mentors and people I can learn from.
In order to grow, we need to be only 1% better today than we were yesterday. And I keep this in mind daily and invest in continuous learning; I keep a startup mindset and define success as the ability to rise higher than the point you fell from. We are also building a pretty flat organization and a team based on the same values and shared goal of becoming a global tech disruptor in real estate.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Bogdan Nicoara: There are several big players in the office showcasing industry that offer similar solutions but in a more fragmented manner. Of course, we stay updated with their latest achievements while keeping our focus and innovating accordingly to our own research, insights, and market niche.
Our future plans involve both fine-tuning existing features, as well as adding new ones that will continue to facilitate, speed, and modernize the leasing experience worldwide. We are very ambitious and try to set both achievable and really wild dreams; this keeps us going.
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