OMERS Ventures
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OMERS Ventures

Making smarter real estate decisions — starting with leases

Today we announced that we co-led a $10.5M investment in Occupier alongside Stage2 Capital.

The ‘office’ world is unrecognizeable from the status quo of only two years ago. Today we see companies publicly adopting remote work, hybrid work, flexible work and everything in between. We anticipate a continuing wave of companies getting rid of their massive HQs in favor of more, smaller, collaborative spaces spread out geographically. For businesses, although it might be the right move, this shift adds complexity — more leases, more timelines to track, more payments being made. In order to support this seismic shift to completely new models of working, businesses need the infrastructure to manage it to keep up.

But the office is not the full story. Any company with a real estate footprint today is thinking hard about what to do with it, and how to make the most of it. Think retail shops, health care clinics, industrial warehouses, restaurants. The near overnight shift in consumer behavior — and a widespread willingness to go digital during the pandemic — has created a whole new set of criteria for these businesses to review in near real-time in order to make the best decisions for their customers, and ultimately their business. And to do that — they need data.

Why Occupier, and why now?

A year ago we started to build our thesis around commercial real estate leasing. The big challenge that this industry faces is siloed and opaque data that really can’t be trusted as a source upon which to make critical business decisions. This frustration, which we’ve heard time and again from companies, creates a big opportunity for technology to increase transparency and ultimately make it easier to make strategic real estate decisions. Beyond headcount, real estate is often the largest investment and expenditure for today’s businesses but the data remains siloed and fragmented across spreadsheets, PDFs, or even actual physical copies. This is an error prone system and missing key lease dates can be costly. The strategic use of data and analytics will be an important lever for businesses to adapt and plan effectively. Modern systems of record can help business leaders systematically understand the flexibility they have in a historically inflexible and opaque liability.

That’s where Occupier comes in. Its customers include Shakeshack, Bonobos, VillageMD and Oscar, among others.

From our first meeting it became clear that Occupier is building the modern system of record for leases. It has three products: transaction management, lease administration and lease accounting. The Company provides a single system to manage leasing information that is relevant across the organization including real estate, HR and especially finance. The recent changes in lease accounting standards is one the biggest accounting changes in the past decade. Occupier is perfectly positioned to help companies seamlessly transition to the new ASC 842 or IFRS 16 accounting standards.

Occupier was founded by Matt Giffune, Andrew Flint and Ben McGuinness. What really stands out is the team’s strong commercial leasing expertise from leading companies including JLL and VTS, a leading company in the proptech space. Their strong networks and true understanding and appreciation for the holistic lease transaction makes this the perfect team to build Occupier.

This is a team of builders: the product is exceptional and they’ve thought deeply about their approach to building out a full platform. They are strong leaders in the company and importantly, also the broader ecosystem which is evident in the culture they have built at Occupier.

If you’re looking to join a stellar team, check out this link for the available roles. Happy to chat!

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OMERS Ventures is the venture capital investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada's largest pension funds with over CAD$114 billion in net assets. OMERS Ventures is a multi-stage investor in growth-oriented, disruptive technology companies across North America and Europe.

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