Born two years ago, the startup based in Sophia-Antipolis offers flex-office solutions in new buildings, environmentally certified, if possible via the most demanding labels. With eight projects deployed in two years in several French cities, it is above all its digital and organizational expertise that allows it to move quickly and stand out in an extremely attractive market.
28 March 2022, 9:07
The office of tomorrow, flexible, open, with possibilities for co-working, is already – very much – the office of today. To be convinced of this, it suffices to look at the market where a number of players are positioning themselves, some of them historical, making a necessary pivot, jostled by new entrants who are not afraid of coming to shake up a tertiary real estate sector which is making its molt a little at a forced march.
New consumer habits
Admittedly, the development and above all the entry, which we think is definitive, of telework into new consumer habits supports this strategy of a flexible and adaptable office. But if the office is lived differently, it is not only the offer of the office itself that counts but everything that goes with it. Its ecosystem, in a way.
And Christophe Courtin quickly understood this. Installed in Sophia-Antipolis for many years, the man who was the founder of one of the first insurtech – Santiane founded in 2006 – was able to observe how the aging offer of the technology park constituted a brake on attractiveness and did not correspond not to the promise of a technology park reputed as the first in Europe when, at the same time, it did not satisfy endogenous companies, mainly companies geared towards innovation, with needs other than a traditional offer. But the observation is not only from Sophia Antipolis and concerns the whole of France.
Go fast… and well
To address this new need, Christophe Courtin structures his activity between real estate development, via Courtin Real Estate (CRE), and the development of the flex-office, with Flex-O. Real estate development thus enables it to completely rehabilitate old, energy-intensive and unsuitable buildings, into revised and corrected buildings, with the best environmental labels. On this point, Christophe Courtin has deployed a strategy that has seen CRE bring back to life many historic buildings in Sophia-Antipolis, including the latest, last December, which saw him finalize the acquisition, after a call for offers, from the Navigator. A name which, said thus, does not mean much but which is one of the sites in which Amadeus was installed and which his departure leaves empty at 92%. A total of 5,600 m2 of offices which will therefore be refurbished and whose marketing is scheduled for the third quarter of 2022. An upcoming achievement – the eighth – which should boost the attractiveness of Sophia-Antipolis.
Eight is also the number of Flex-O locations in France. Because the offer of flex offices imagined by Christophe Courtin continues the same sustained rate of development. And it is in Montpellier, again, that the project sees the light of day, planned for the end of 2023 and to settle in the new business district of Cambaceres in Montpellier, i.e. the second installation in the Occitan city after a first in the St Roch station area, announced almost a year ago. An announcement which follows, less than a month ago, that of the installation within the Eco-Vallée in Nice, in the Air Promenade building, from next September.
Thinking about the notion of ecosystem
Beyond offering a flexible office offer, the principle of Flex-O is to settle in activity zones or business districts where it is not just a question of office but of many others. elements. Because what today's employee requires is not simply to have a place but to have a global offer. As it becomes more democratic, telework has also introduced a notion of quality of life that goes beyond the fact of no longer systematically making the home-business journey, but of having a whole range of facilities at hand, under form of service. The workspace is also a living space. “Four years ago, when I asserted the desire to make prime buildings, with associated services, I was told, “it's good”. Today everyone finds it great, ”explained Christophe Courtin to La Tribune during an interview a year ago. And the service, digitized if possible, is the key to differentiation. A digital skill that the Courtin group has and develops internally with a dedicated R&D center. This is, for example, what allows it to generate QR Codes, a kind of flat rate that provides all the flexibility expected for employees, who thus have the possibility of “consuming” the office as they wish. It also means offering access to certain services via an application that allows you to have, in a way, your office in your pocket. Because that's also flexibility…
In the rapid deployment phase, Flex-O relies on financial fuel that allows it to move quickly. The proptech raised 15 million euros in March 2021, giving it the means to achieve its ambitions. Which should not dry up in 2022.
Follow The Tribune
Every day in your newsletter, receive the economic news of your region