What will office work look like in a post-COVID-19 world?
It’s something a startup hopes to help businesses understand.
Saltmine, which has developed a web-based workplace design platform, has raised $ 20 million in a Series A funding round.
Existing backers Jungle Ventures and Xplorer Capital led the funding, which also included participation from JLL Spark, the strategic investment arm of commercial real estate brokerage firm JLL.
Notably, JLL not only invests in Saltmine, but also partners with the San Francisco-based startup to sell its service directly to its customers – opening up a whole new source of revenue for the four-year-old company.
Saltmine says its cloud-based technology is doing for corporate real estate what Salesforce has done for CROs by digitizing and streamlining the office design process. He saw an 80% spike in ARR (annual recurring income) last year while doubling the number of companies he works with, according to the CEO and founder. Shagufta Anurag. Its more than 35 clients include PG&E, Snowflake, Fidelity, BlackRock, Nike and Workday, among others. Its mission, in simple terms, is to help businesses “create the best possible workplaces for their employees.”
Saltmine claims to have a 95% customer retention rate and in 2020 saw a 350% year-over-year growth in the number of monthly active users of its SaaS platform. To date, the square footage of all office buildings designed and analyzed by clients on Saltmine totals 50 million square feet across 1,500 projects.
Saltmine says she provides tools for businesses to do things like establish social distancing measures in the office. According to the company, its platform hosts all of the workplace data – including strategy, design, pricing, and portfolio analysis – in one place. It combines and analyzes floor plans with project requirements with real-time behavioral data (aggregated through a combination of usage sensors and employee feedback) to identify business design needs. In addition to wanting to improve the workplace design process, Saltmine claims to be able to help businesses “optimize their real estate portfolios”.
The pandemic has dramatically increased the need for a digital transformation in the design and reinvention of workplaces, according to Anurag.
“Given the need for social distancing capabilities and a greater emphasis on work-life balance in many offices, few workers expect a full ‘return to normal’,” he said. she declared. “There is now tremendous pressure on real estate business leaders to adapt and change their workplaces.”
Once businesses identify their new needs, Saltmine uses “immersive” digital 3D renderings to help them visualize the necessary changes to their real estate properties.
Anurag, based in Singapore, has previous experience in the design world, having founded Spatial matrix, a leading interior design company in Asia, as well as Living space, a digital interior design company.
“I have seen the same problems and unmet needs in office real estate as in the residential market,” she said. “Real estate is the second largest cost for businesses and has a direct impact on their highest cost – their employees. “
Look ahead, Saltmine plans to use its new capital to (naturally) recruit and continue to acquire clients – in particular, seeking to expand its portfolio of Global 2000 companies.
Salt mine has approximately 125 employees in five offices in Asia, Europe and North America. It plans to have 170 employees by the end of the year and be profitable by the end of fiscal 2021.
The company initially focused on North America, but is now starting to expand into the APAC region and Australia.
JLL Technologies co-CEO Yishai Lerner said JLL Spark was drawn to Saltmine’s approach of making data and analytics accessible in one place.
“Having a single source of truth for data also makes it easier to collaborate between teams, which is important, for example, in workspace planning,” he told TechCrunch. “This reduces inefficiencies and improves workflows in today’s fragmented design, build and fit-out market.”
JLL Spark invests in businesses that it believes can benefit from its distribution and network – hence the company’s agreement to sell Saltmine software directly to its customers.
“As JLL’s tenants and clients continue to embrace the future of work, they are looking for technology solutions that allow their buildings to operate efficiently,” said Lerner. “Saltmine’s platform checks all the boxes by streamlining stakeholder collaboration, increasing transparency and simplifying data management.”