Upflex CEO Christophe Garnier looks ahead to proptech in 2023, considering slowed investment, UK flex trends and more.
Commercial Observer’s Philip Russo spoke to proptech leaders about 2023 trends. He heard some strong common threads: They foresee a dip in investment, more mergers and acquisitions — a lot more — and a continued focus on ESG.
In Russo’s conversation with Upflex CEO Christophe Garnier, Garnier agreed this is a very exciting time for commercial real estate — especially on the occupier side, where, as he put it, “Finally companies are starting to figure out what return-to-work looks like for them.”
He added, “We’ve been working with literally hundreds of occupiers across the country and Europe, trying to help them figure out what their return-to-work and what their hybrid work strategy is about. We’re entering a new phase: the testing phase comes to an end, and we’re getting into what the production may look like for hybrid work.”
He noted that the Upflex team is already seeing that some companies are focused on creating economies of scale to survive.
In terms of investments, he said, with market trends the investments landscape is notably slowed. “We don’t see the venture capital and investment community as active as it was pre-crisis,” he said. “It’s not proptech, exclusively, but companies have to be efficient, reduce burn, maintain it, and not grow it. Everybody’s worried about a recession.”
According to Garnier, this trend is informing Upflex’s approach now, and heading into the new year. “We are careful with cash, focused on efficiencies, and we are slowing down our hiring,” he said. “Given the dynamics of a recession, everyone wants to cut costs. We can help do that, so we’re going to try to surf that wave. But, at the same time, we are seeing that there is a huge adoption of flex workspace in Europe, and that Europe is going back to work much, much faster than the U.S.”