‘Space for rent’, ‘closing sales’, ‘Se traspasa’, you’ve likely seen these signs plastered on commercial spaces throughout major cities across Spain. According to the CODATA, there are over 1 million commercial spaces in Spain of which 15% are empty and subsequently generating no revenue for the owners, having a negative impact on the overall economy.
Attempting to revive this industry is PopPlaces.com, the first Spanish online marketplace for renting commercial spaces by days. Founders Karen Prats and David Pérez saw the opportunity when looking for spaces for pop up stores for their previous company PopCorner and realizing the vast amount of available spaces online. “Before launching the project we saw that pop-up stores were becoming more popular and given that events are ingrained into our society, we decided to help streamline the industry and to generate more revenue for these empty spaces “ says Karen.
PopPlaces.com is where connections are made between the owners of the spaces and the people interested in renting them. Not unlike Airbnb, owners publish their properties, which can then be rented by day to host any type of celebration, wild event or business function. “We are going to evolve the business model of the event organization industry by offering up a variety of spaces for any type of event” says Karen. The web offers an ample amount of content, from small to larger spaces to suit the needs of any event planner.
PopPlaces charges a small commission for each transaction made on its site with the the long term strategy to offer additional services that would complement the organization of events such as catering, staff and so forth. The startup, which launched around 1 month ago has a team of 16 people (7 are full time) who are primarily focused on growing the amount of spaces they have available to guarantee a wide selection for their users.
The Barcelona startup is currently accelerated in Conector and has recently closed a seed round of €120k from business angels (who are also mentors there) such as Carlos Blanco, Elena Gómez de Pozuelo, Gerard Olivé, David Tomás, Marc Vidal and the early stage fund Sitka Capital, which will be directed towards marketing and commutation.
The team is already preparing a second round of investment for the last quarter of 2014 where they will look for strategic investors from the sector as well as international VCs. The startup is hoping to complete more than 700 “rents” this year with the objective of generating a total of €12MM in revenue by the third year of operations. International expansion is planned for the end of 2015 starting with Europe.
The model is already working in the States and UK with companies such as Storefront which has already raised $9.5 MM from renowned investors such as 500 Startups & Spark Capital. If you are planning an event then PopPlaces will make your life a lot easier!