Part II: WeWork + Waltz = Building Take Over
I wrote last week about my initial perspective on this acquisition which was all about validation for the importance of Access Control Technology to Commercial Real Estate (CRE) industry. But step back a moment and lets take a look at the broader impact of this deal.
WeWork just declared themselves. This is the shot across the bow that should wake up the CRE industry to the fact that WeWork aims to take over your buildings. With WeWork’s acquisition of building access control and visitor management provider Waltz, they have set their sites on controlling the access to the building. They even stated publicly that they intend to maintain Waltz’s current customer base — which include some pretty big CRE Landlords.
For those of you less familiar with mobile Access Control technology — what companies like Openpath & Waltz do is to provide an access credential (a virtual key) on your mobile phone (via an app). So instead of carrying badges, keys or remembering PIN codes — you can use your phone to unlock access to a building. Waltz in particular is an interesting acquisition choice for WeWork as Waltz is laser focused on big buildings as customers — they offer a system for visitor management, access for turnstiles and elevators and some door access. They help improve the flow for visitors and workers and get them through lobby security faster so they can get to their office suite faster. So acquiring them means that WeWork wants to own the technology that building owners depend on to allow their tenants to access the building.
If WeWork is a tenant in the building, they now want to also be the IT/Security vendor selling the building an access system. That means they control access for everyone…not just the WeWork customers and employees. Whats next for them….property manage the whole building? own the whole building? develop and build the next building? I hear the booming sounds of shots landing really close to your ships CRE Mega-landlords and CRE Mega-Property Management firms….prepare to be boarded!
James Segil is President & Co-founder of Openpath. On a mission to improve workplace efficiency and security, Openpath creates smart, secure access control systems for the modern office & building. The company’s flagship product, Openpath Access, combines sleek hardware with an app, enabling employees to enter the office using their smartphones and making office management easier than ever. With encryption at every level and powerful user-level permissions, Openpath Access is both more secure and more dynamic than legacy systems. Founded in 2016, Openpath is based in Los Angeles’ Silicon Beach and has raised $27 million to-date from Emergence Capital, Sorenson Ventures, Bonfire Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Fika Ventures. To learn more, visit www.openpath.com.