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Real estate lessons from high-growth companies

It may seem like high-growth companies are a class of their own when it comes to real estate. With their fast-paced environments and ever-changing space requirements, they’re a segment of the market that requires some of the most creative space strategies and solutions around. These four growing firms, each working in a different segment of the market, found space solutions that allowed for growth, talent acquisition and cultural reinforcement through subleasing, expansion rights, flexible termination rights and even municipal partnerships and incentives. While their stories and solutions are unique to their journeys, the creativity and tenacity shown in their transactions provides lessons and insight that businesses of all shapes and sizes can learn from.

Fiscal Note

Tim Hwang, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, FiscalNote

How they got here

Tim Hwang and two of his high school friends spent the summer of 2013 the way so many startups do — hunkered down in Silicon Valley or, in their case a Motel 6, with $2,000 of funding and an idea. They saw an opportunity to leverage data and analytics to redefine the way organizations understand, interact with and, ultimately, predict the work of their governments. Today, FiscalNote supports thousands of organizations working in more than 25 countries, helping them manage the local, federal and international issues that affect them most. Tim, now Chief Executive Officer, has put his company at the forefront of policy and technology while building a culture that infuses Pennsylvania Avenue with savvy Silicon Valley sensibility. As they move into the digital advocacy and issues management spaces, they’ve built a workforce that is focused, collaborative and transparent.

What’s the deal with their real estate?

Following a series of temporary space solutions and rapid growth, FiscalNote eventually landed at 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue with expansion rights for future growth and flexible termination rights. In addition to finding its permanent home, FiscalNote established a partnership with the mayor’s office, the first of its kind, to get the city’s assistance with the securitization and build out of their space in exchange for providing apprenticeships, internships and summer learning opportunities to locals.

A lesson for the rest of us

According to JLL’s Bobby Blair who represents FiscalNote, “Seek out partnerships with other stakeholders, including local municipalities and affinity groups, that can help you land exactly where you need to be or, in some cases, even provide your company with incentives to make your new space a reality.”

KitCheck

Kevin MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Kit Check 

How they got here

It all started when Kit Check Chief Executive Officer, Kevin MacDonald was having dinner with his wife’s friend, a pharmacist at a large hospital in Baltimore. He learned that she spent her entire day picking up vials and looking at expiration dates. There had to be a technology solution for this problem. Since launching in 2012, Kit Check has enabled hospital pharmacies in more than 400 locations (and growing) to be more efficient and accurate as they dispense, track and restock millions of medications every year. It’s a quintessential story of entrepreneurship, financial growth and ultimately, the cultural stewardship of his team. Now operating from a hip office space in Dupont Circle, Kit Check continues to innovate and grow.

What’s the deal with their real estate?

Kit Check started operating out of Kevin’s Washington, DC apartment, eventually growing into a coworking space and then a series of short-term space solutions. Kit Check now calls 1875 Connecticut Avenue home, a space conducive to Kit Check’s projected growth over the next three years. Not only does the new space have great functionality but it was fully wired and furnished upon move in. Kit Check only had to rebrand the space to make it home. The technology startup is now thriving in its new location in the heart of Dupont Circle–that is, until their next move.

A lesson for the rest of us

According to JLL’s Andy O’Brien, who represented Kit Check, “It’s important to think about timing and growth trajectory when growing in and out of temporary space. Before moving into their new office, we quickly backfilled Kit Check’s former Chinatown location to another tenant with no loss, down time or out-of-pocket costs to them.”

Verodin

Ben Cianciaruso, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Verodin

How they got here

Verodin created the first and only platform built to assess whether a company’s cybersecurity tools are doing their job. Following a year of 400% growth, Verodin needed a new headquarters to support their expansion trajectory — and they needed it fast. When the company was started in 2013, their headquarters was in Reston with most of their employees based in California and Texas. With success came growth, so Verodin’s leadership sought a location that would centralize employees in one place, give the team room to expand and keep the focus on its customers. The self-proclaimed tech geeks and hackers found that and more in Tysons.

What’s the deal with their real estate?

Now centrally located in a technology and innovation hub, Verodin’s headquarters provides direct access to some of the nation’s top security and technology talent, as well as to many government agencies. This rapidly growing company is now in the perfect position to focus on what it does best with multiple growth opportunities over the life of its lease.

A lesson for the rest of us

According to JLL’s Chuck LaRock, who represented Verodin, “It’s important to think about your talent – most importantly, where they live. With this strategy, Verodin was able to enter an emerging market early on and secure favorable lease terms providing additional expansion options for their rapidly growing team.”

To hear more about these stories and more visit: www.us.jll.com/midatlanticambitions

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