The Alabama Futures Fund has invested in a platform that connects people in need of short-term office leases with landlords and property managers.
Office Exchange, which was based in Denver, Colorado, will move its headquarters to Alabama as part of the deal. This is the 14th investment made by the fund since its launch in 2018. Since its inception, AFF has invested in medical technology and telehealth companies, a networking platform and a software company, among others.
AFF did not disclose the amount of the investment. Office Exchange co-founder and CEO Devin Davie said the company would move to Birmingham.
“With the combination of the AFF partnership, a growing technology ecosystem in Alabama, and phenomenal opportunities to disrupt the commercial real estate market, we expect this move to be a catalyst for our growth,” Davie said.
Office Exchange is described as a marketplace platform connecting property owners, leasing brokers and property managers with potential tenants to provide short-term leases for commercial properties.
The concept follows the transition of many commercial office spaces towards more flexible spaces as office workers have incorporated hybrid or work-from-home schedules into their daily routines. Office Exchange helps property owners monetize empty or underutilized office space through short-term leases.
Empty retail and non-office spaces can be converted into flexible event venues or venues that can accommodate large day-long meetings. Through the Office Exchange platform, “Guests” can search by category, selecting properties based on intended use, geographic location and rental term options, as well as furnished and unfurnished spaces .
Verified “Hosts” can list any available space and adjust availability, pricing and terms based on real-time market conditions. Listings are free to the host and Office Exchange takes a small percentage of the rent and fees charged.
AFF was the lead investor in the round with participation from other US-based investors. Redhawk Advisory is AFF’s investment manager and advised AFF on the Office Exchange investment.
Matt Hottle, partner at Redhawk, said the platform will give businesses the flexibility to support a hybrid workforce.
“During the Covid pandemic, we saw the workforce move away and many large tenant organizations realized that transporting offices for 100% of their employees was an outdated business model,” said said Hottle. “The OE platform is the first end-to-end solution for ‘Guests’ and ‘Hosts’ where the entire process, from finding space to rent to signing a lease and lease payment planning, can be managed through a single platform.The market timing for Office Exchange couldn’t be better.