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essensys CEO Jeremy Bernard (iStock) essensys North America CEO Jeremy Bernard (iStock)

Flex Workspace Tech Firm essensys Eyes Us, Apac Expansion

The UK-based company raised $46M; BlackRock now ranks among its largest investors

Armed with fresh funding, the flexible workspace software provider essensys is expanding its presence in the U.S. and Asia.

The U.K.-based firm, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2019, raised $46 million in a primary share placement and plans to use the funds to double its U.S. workforce in the coming year, Jeremy Bernard, the firm’s North America CEO, told The Real Deal.

The company also will expand in the Asia-Pacific region, having recently appointed Eric Schaffer, who will be based in Hong Kong, to run the region as CEO, Asia Pacific.

“We had a lot of our existing investors participate in this round, and we brought in some new strategic investors,” Bernard said, adding that BlackRock is now one of the company’s largest backers.

Flexible workplaces became mainstream during the pandemic, and many landlords now view them as an essential offering as employers begin to return to their physical offices, Bernard said. Tenants will sign a long-term lease, but as part of the deal they want access to flex space and amenities at other buildings, and they want secure, frictionless access and data continuity wherever their employees open their laptops. Bernard called it the “campus effect.”

“This is an employee-driven marketplace right now,” he said. “The name of the game is, how do you attract and retain the top talent? If you can’t offer a hybrid structure to your employees, they’re just going to go to [another employer].”

Founded in 2006, essensys works with institutional landlords like Tishman-Speyer and public REITs as well as major flex workspace operators like Industrious. The company services more than 20 million square feet across more than 170 cities globally, according to its website.

essensys has operated in the U.S. for five years, mainly in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company plans to grow in those markets and follow its tenant base into other U.S. cities, Bernard said.

The pandemic shifted landlords’ focus to keyless access, sensor technology and environmental controls that promote health and sustainability -— and they are relying on portfolio-wide digital infrastructure to achieve those aims.

“We’re really witnessing a digital transformation of the office at the moment,” he said. “That’s not just short term. That’s permanent.”

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