Romanian proptech SpotUs looks to reshape workspace dynamics

SpotUs, a proptech startup based in Cluj, Romania, has quietly been making waves in the space of office management solutions. Their app offers a straightforward approach to resource management and booking, catering specifically to office developers and their tenants.

Once installed, the SpotUs app allows tenants to book desks, parking spots, and manage building access. It also facilitates guest access with QR codes, minimizing hassle for both tenants and visitors. Additionally, tenants can optimize costs by sharing resources, such as unused parking spots.

For developers, SpotUs represents a step forward in digitalizing tenant interactions and gaining insights into space utilization. By automating manual tasks and providing valuable data, the app helps developers make informed decisions and improve operational efficiency.

In an interview with IT Logs, SpotUs CEO Ovidiu Ciurte sheds light on the company’s motivations and discusses their plans to expand proptech innovation in the Southeast Europe region.

Ovidiu Ciurte

Ovidiu Ciurte: SpotUs was launched 3 years ago, when we saw the need for a solution that would help people book their desk and parking in an easier way. After the pandemic, more employees started using their workspace in a more flexible way. Studies show that 82% of organizations consider increasing shared spaces and 67% consider using the same space for a bigger number of employees, so there was a need for a solution to manage this transformation. Also, very important to mention – touching surfaces had to be done with a lot of precaution.

So, we launched an app that digitized their access and resource booking and eliminated physical touch (for example, elevators can be called, for the floor people are granted access to, by just approaching the phone with the app open).

SpotUs is meant to digitalise the whole access control process. Some of its most important features include: 

  • Virtual access card – all access cards (for the parking lot, to access the building, to access the office) can be integrated in one solution so that the user will just scan their phone and get access
  • Digital booking of desks, meeting rooms and parking space
  • Guest flow management – when a visitor comes to the office, they can receive a QR code from the tenant and they are granted access
  • Integration with elevator systems – the app can be integrated with a multitude of elevator systems

Most of us are so used to using apps or digital solutions, that it’s somehow expected to have one to manage access into your office (instead of calling the reception every morning to check if there’s a parking space available, for example). 

There are several important advantages, besides digitalising this access flow, as well. Tenants and developers get access to more data regarding space occupancy and usage, which translates into cost and environmental benefits. 

For example, a tenant who sees that their parking spots are used only 50% of the time or empty after a certain hour, can use our app to share them with a tenant that needs more spaces, or with a restaurant in the building that has guests over the weekend. 

From a sustainability point of view, replacing plastic badges with virtual ones is an important move towards greener and more digitized spaces. 

First, when the pandemic hit us, we needed to reanalyze all our product backlog features and reset the priorities, in order to meet the new challenges that our customers are facing. That is the moment when we set a higher priority to our “touchless access” feature. 

This feature allows the users to book a time for office attendance, access the parking, access the building and the elevators only by using their phone and without touching anything else from the building.

Other challenges that we had to address during development were related to SpotUs interaction with a lot of hardware providers, from access control providers to elevator or License Plate recognition. In order to be able to develop our app we needed to set partnerships with software development departments from our global partners. 

Smart Buildings have been for a long time on office developers’ agenda, mainly with applications for energy efficiency and BMS solutions. However, in the past two, three years solutions covering the interactions of their tenants with the building entered developers’ radar too in order to offer their tenants a more digital interaction with building resources. Here we are talking about tenant experience, resource booking, digital access  or digital twin apps that are making the life of the tenants easier from the moment of planning the space, in the case of digital twins apps, going further with operating the space with resource booking or digital access apps.

Now, looking to the future we see a lot of studies where about 60% of the companies are intending to invest more in shared office spaces for the new hybrid working environment, so by combining the outcomes and features from the above technologies, buildings will obtain: an increase of office space utilization by at least 30%-40%, reduce their carbon footprint by lowering energy consumption on spaces with low utilization or by eliminating thousands of plastic badges while using digital access applications. 

SpotUs is now used by over 15,000 users in 9 buildings in Bucharest, Romania. In some cases, we’ve seen an usage of up to 47% – which means that 47% of a tenant’s employee switched to SpotUs to book their parking spot, for example, instead of calling/emailing reception. 

An interesting case study now for us is related to resource sharing. A tenant from a building we’re present in, realised that their parking space is free after 6 PM and during the weekends (which means a cost). 

As there’s a restaurant on the first floor that gets a big influx of people especially in those time frames, we’ve facilitated resource sharing. Now, restaurant’s guests can receive an invitation (as a QR, they don’t have to download the app) and access the building’s parking lot and then, they are guided to the restaurant. 

Look for partnerships. Especially if you’re looking to grow internationally, but also locally. We are working on our international expansion and have seen how important it is to establish partnerships and to work together with other entrepreneurs, building complementary solutions, or with other associations or organisations that can make the whole process easier for you. 

SpotUs is based in Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest, but being a pure software company, we are installing our solution remotely, so in this way we are not limited to a geographical territory. We are partnering with office developers and their security integrators in order to deliver a complete solution to one building. In this way the security integrator of the office developer is installing or upgrading the access control system in the building and we are configuring SpotUs solution online.

Proptech startups in Southeastern Europe are delivering a lot of solutions to cover all the needs of the office developers. What we believe is that the collaboration between startups and especially between those who develop complementary solutions for office developers is essential in startups development. In this way, not only that we can address new customers quicker, but also we can bring supplementary added value for our customers, by solving more complex issues that they are facing. 

Just for example, SpotUs booking and access solution, combined with indoor mapping and navigation solutions can bring to our customers a more precise office utilization information and going further integrated with a Building Management app (BMS), could automatically adjust power utilization in the building based on the physical presence at the office or, based on historical data from SpotUs related to office presence, could even predict the future trend for power consumption of the building. 

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