This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.
Workplace technology has become a significant focus for acquisition activity this year as 15 M&A deals to date enable commercial real estate stakeholders to augment their software and IoT offerings.
The strategic rationale for deals is on expanding solutions that address landlords’ needs to ensure the health and safety of office occupants, strengthening tenant relationships, augmenting offerings with easy to use tools that assist in the return to work phase, and seeking to drive operational efficiencies with integrated platforms and unified solutions. Some of the key transactions are highlighted below.
Apps for space management, tenant engagement, employee communications, access control, and wayfinding were attractive targets. Our recent Workplace Experience Apps report highlighted six acquisitions that took place in the first 5 months of 2021.
VTS, a provider of a leasing, marketing, and asset management platform deployed in more than 60% of Class A office space in the US, agreed to acquire Rise Buildings, a mobile app vendor for commercial real estate and multi-family properties. As of July 1, 2021, over 300 million square feet in 161 cities and over 500 buildings worldwide are managed on VTS Rise, making it one of the leading tenant experience apps deployed.
Inpixon, the Indoor Intelligence company acquired The CXApp, a SaaS app platform. which enables corporate enterprises to provide a custom-branded, location-aware employee app focused on enhancing the workplace experience and hosting virtual and hybrid events.
Siemens announced that it was combining its two subsidiaries, Comfy App and Enlighted into one entity, under the leadership of the current CEO of Enlighted. The rationale for the Comfy Enlighted merger is the combined view of data and insights that each player can bring to workplace management.
Openpath Security, a Los Angeles, CA-based startup, developing cloud-based mobile access control solutions for office spaces, was acquired by Motorola Solutions. Openpath Access, enables employees to enter the office using their smartphones instead of a separate badge, keycard or fob.
Vendors enhanced their IoT platforms for managing workspace to bolster capabilities:
Coworkr, a US startup offering privacy-first space utilization sensors for data-driven workplaces, was acquired by R-Zero, another Californian startup providing IoT-enabled, whole-room UV disinfection solutions to create safer, healthier indoor spaces.
Density, the US startup providing people counting sensors, which can address unauthorized building access, has acquired Nashi, a Californian startup, offering a desk and space reservation system, which will become Workplace by Density.
Axonize was acquired by Planon, a leading European IWMS provider. Axonize complements Planon's 'Open Platform' approach by providing out-of-the-box IoT connections with smart devices and data sources across a range of vendors and is expected to be fully integrated into the Planon Universe platform by the end of 2021.
Visitor management systems became an essential add-on for facilities management software firms:
Yardi acquired Forge, a Bristol, UK-based software company that specializes in visitor management and smart access control for real estate assets. The company’s Forge Bluepoint product is deployed in many of London’s premier office buildings.
FM:Systems, a dominant provider of digital workplace solutions acquired WizzPass, a South African startup founded in 2015 in the visitor management market. WizzPass is trusted by blue-chip companies at over 300 locations, across 4 continents.
M&A to acquire workplace management platforms expanding offerings across the range of diverse real estate operations prompted the following deals:
Rapal, the Finnish IWMS Software-as-a-Service company, was acquired by Norwegian facilities management software firm, Ørn Software as part of its geographical expansion strategy.
Australian tenant engagement platform provider, Equiem acquired British Land’s Vicinitee property management platform. The acquisition extends Equiem’s offering with Vicinitee’s work order and contractor, visitor, and space management technology which will be integrated into Equiem’s platform.
MRI Software, a major US player in real estate software, acquired Manhattan, the real estate and workplace solutions division of Trimble, based in Sunnyvale, California. The acquisition enhances MRI’s Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) with workplace scheduling and facilities management capabilities, complementing its lease accounting and administration offering.
These acquisitions support Memoori’s overall analysis of the global smart commercial buildings space with 2021 likely to continue the record levels of M&A which we have seen in the last three years.