As a successful graduate of Pilabs 3rd cohort (2016), UK startup Office App represents a new wave of workplace engagement platforms. Businesses large and small are exploring opportunities to engage employees, improve productivity and maximise staff satisfaction. Book a meeting room, receive local lunch specials or check if there are parking spots for your clients all via a single, flexible mobile app. Office App co-founder Thijs van der Burgt tells us more:
Tell me a bit about the team and why you decided to start Office App?
Office App is built from the belief that an office building can and should be more exciting, efficient and above all more fun. That is why we’ve created the only fully integrated office assistant for your mobile. The team includes:
- Thijs: 7 years experience in Product Development with a focus on User Excellence
- Teun: 5 years Strategy Consultancy at McKinsey with a focus on Operational Excellence
Did you know much about workplaces / office buildings beforehand?
Although I have worked in office spaces, I didn’t actually know much about the spaces themselves. I’m a product developer, my partner has over 14 years of experience in real estate, and together we developed a product that is both helpful for facility managers and occupants.
What are you hoping to get out of the PiLabs experience?
When we started the business in Amsterdam, we knew we could build a successful business in our home market, but that it is not where the big opportunities lie. The European pinnacle of office life is the City in London, so in our process of researching that market and looking for ways in, we more or less stumbled upon PiLabs. At that point we had already realised we were going to need to step up our game if we were successfully going to penetrate the UK market. PiLabs is very well positioned to do so by helping us to get in front of the right people, sharpen our product offering and secure funding.
How much traction have you got with clients?
We are very excited to announce that we have on-boarded major clients like Dell, EY and the World Trade Center. All our clients are very happy with our added value and have either applied Office App in more offices since then or recommended us to other clients.
How do you on-board local deals? (ie. from local restaurants etc)? Is that a manual process?
Yes, it is a manual process. We are able to add a mobile shop for your local dry cleaner, car wash or florist. We offer these local retailers a shop in our marketplace within 1 hour, direct payment included.
Could you expand overseas? Eg. Singapore?
Yes, definitely. We have optimised our platform to scale easily and reliably – we don’t even have to be physically present to install Office App at any office around the world!
You’ve mentioned being sensor/IoT agnostic – can you tell us about any sensors you are already working with?
With our partners we are using PIR, vibration, temperature and magnetic sensors in different buildings. Mostly for parking, desk, meeting room availability and their occupancy rates. And with other partners we use wifi or beacon sensors. It depends on the clients wishes what technology we implement and how we offer this to the employee. For example, for one client we have sensors in table tennis and foosball tables to indicate if they are available.
What are your plans for raising capital?
We are looking for £500k investment for operations, sales and product development. Our growth is limited by the bandwidth of the company, not the interest from potential clients.
Are you planning to grow the team?
Yes we are hiring new sales people and looking for an additional iOS developer to strengthen our development team.
What has been the best part of the experience overall?
A big part of my job at Office App is that I’m in charge of product. In development, we focus on user experience and iterate on results in user engagement surveys. Seeing people more engaged and happy using Office App makes me proud of what I do.