When our CEO Chase Garbarino announced HqO’s $34.2 million Series B funding round back in December of 2019, he stated:
“It has been two years since we launched our first version of the HqO platform. At the time, we believed (and experienced first-hand in our offices of old) that commercial real estate needed to become much more customer-centric. While every other facet of our lives was becoming more tailored to our specific needs through technology, the spaces we occupied every single day remained too analog. So we set out to build a platform that would activate spaces in a meaningful way by delivering seamless, tech-enabled property experiences.”
Three years later, our mission is still to bring people together by cultivating customer-centric experiences. As we continue to grow our company and our product, we are reflecting on the successes — both internally and externally — that our dedicated team, customers, partners, and investors have fueled in 2020.
There is no arguing that 2020 has been a monumental year. Most of all, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely revolutionized the way we interact, live, and work every day. Though most office buildings stood empty a few months into 2020, we knew that HqO was in a unique position to help the commercial real estate (CRE) industry navigate the slew of new challenges the pandemic has brought on.
Back in May, we introduced HqOS™, the end-to-end operating system for CRE. Made up of three layers: the Tenant Experience Platform, Digital Grid™, and Marketplace, HqOS revolutionized the way property teams manage all customer-facing technology tools within their building. Since then, we’ve further enhanced these offerings and launched HqOS Headquarters, our desktop-based command center that allows customers to rapidly deploy and configure data-driven tenant engagement strategies across their portfolio — with absolutely no coding required.
Enabling a Safe Return-to-Work
After the launch of HqOS, we knew that there was a real opportunity to extend our product capabilities to help commercial real estate facilitate a safe return to work amidst the global pandemic. Last summer, we launched several new features including Capacity Manager, a management system for office capacity that ensures a safe work environment for tenants and their employees.
Our clients also received access to the Building Population Report, which centralizes key tenant and operational data into one place so owners and property teams can operate their buildings effectively, reduce churn, and maintain a profitable portfolio. At a time when office owners were thrown into stringent and fast-changing health and safety procedures, these enhancements allowed them to easily manage and understand the employees that came into work on a given day.
Since we announced HqOS in May, our momentum has only picked up speed:
- We’ve digitally launched our Tenant Experience Platform across 81 new properties.
- We’ve also integrated 110 developers and 70 vendors within our Marketplace — many of which provide services and tools that are vital to modern safety and health regulations and are shaping the future of work.
- Alongside those partnerships, we’ve added over 200 assets to the Digital Grid to help make it easier than ever to surface data on building companies, spaces, amenities, and technologies.
- Our technology was recognized by the Seventh Annual CRETech Real Estate Tech Awards (#RETAS) as a winner in the Office category. The RETAS are the leading international award honoring excellence in commercial real estate tech, recognizing the most cutting-edge companies who have played an integral role in advancing tech in the industry throughout the year.
(Pictured: HqO France team launching in-office)
We are proud to have achieved all this while never losing a customer. As of 2020, we’re powering 120 million square feet of property technology across North America and Europe, and are happy to say we’ve accomplished:
- Signing 53.3 million new square feet in 2020
- Adding 30 new customers in 2020
Though we’re now live in fifteen U.S. markets, our growth in 2020 didn’t stop there. 2020 saw monumental European expansion:
- HqO is now operating in the U.K., Ireland, France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
- We currently occupy 3.7 million square feet in the U.K., and over 300,000 square feet in France.
- We’ve gained three team members in our London office, and two in Paris.
(Pictured: HqO’s London-based team)
Of course, none of this momentum would be possible without the incredibly dedicated HqO team. Despite the many challenges the pandemic has brought on in 2020 around working from home, we are lucky to say we’ve grown the number of HqOers exponentially: in this year alone, we onboarded 52 new employees, 42 of which joined remotely.
Even though the HqO team is spread across the globe, we were still able to come together for some fun company events. To celebrate the launch of HqOS, we knew that an HqO product launch wouldn’t be complete without indulging in the modern engagement tools that we provide to our clients. Thus, we also introduced HqOS Day. From start to finish, we offered a full day of digital programming to our colleagues through our very own Tenant Experience Platform — which, of course, wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a few of our technology partners from our growing Marketplace.
One of the most engaging experiences we took part in was a Virtual Volunteering session with our partners at Building Impact (pictured below). From our desks, we assembled care packages through their online portal for Catie’s Closet, an organization that helps over 55,000 students in poverty across 85 schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire through providing clothing and toiletries.
Additionally, we virtually conducted our annual team kick-off meetings, where we got to regroup, reflect, and bond over this year’s highs and lows. Remote work and all, we are proud to say we’ve stuck by our ‘Let’s Go’ values and continue to live them every day. Our collective dedication to Learning, Excellence, Truth, Speed, Goodness, and Ownership — which our team embodies every day — has allowed us to not only continue growing with an excellent company culture, but also receive several prestigious awards.
In 2020, we were honored with several workplace awards, including:
- 2020 Boston Globe Top Places to Work
- 2020 Boston Best and Brightest Companies to Work for Winner
- 2020 The Best Small Companies to Work for — Built In Boston
2020: A Year of Growth and Innovation
Despite all of the hurdles we faced, 2020 has been a year of innovation powered by the meaningful connections that we strive to create. Though we couldn’t all be together physically, it was the HqO employees, customers, and partners that played a crucial role in our success. As we enter 2021, we look forward to being together, stronger than ever, and bringing life to buildings once again.