Finding the right office space can be challenging for fast-growing companies that are too big for co-working but not ready for a traditional lease.
Austin software startup Swivel says it has the solution: It helps companies obtain, furnish and occupy a space that works for them, with simple and flexible lease terms.
Swivel launched its website in May, and this week it announced a new $4.75 million investment to grow its platform and expand into cities beyond Austin.
First Round Capital was the lead investor in the seed funding round, with participation from others including Floodgate and Next Coast Ventures.
“Until now, companies that grew past the co-working stage were forced to sign restrictive long-term leases that tied up millions of dollars of capital in architecture, design, construction and furnishings,” said Scott Harmon, Swivel co-founder and CEO. “It’s an outdated and wasteful model that takes resources away from a growing business.”
Harmon is an Austin software industry veteran who has co-founded companies including business software firm Motive Communications and energy management software maker Noesis, which was acquired by Boston-based LeaseQ in 2016 for an undisclosed price.
Harmon began working on Swivel in 2016 with financial backing from Mike Maples of Foodgate.
In 2017, Harmon raised funding to build the product and recruit a team of co-founders who have roots going back to Tivoli Software, Motive, Spiceworks and Icontrol.
Swivel currently has 47 “Swivel-ready” spaces listed on its site. Once a company, typically with 10 to 75 employees, chooses a site, it uses 3D visualization tools to create an office layout and select design features from a menu of Swivel templates.
Swivel has so far worked with four Austin companies to find and build out offices.
Most Swivel spaces are 12-months minimum, but a few offer shorter commitments.
“Swivel agrees to take the lease over in the event that the primary tenant outgrows the space, so the landlord has all of the certainty of a regular fixed-term lease while the client enjoys flexible terms,” Harmon said.
Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital said Swivel “is a rare combination of an experienced and laser-focused team and a transformative opportunity that touches every growing company.”
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