Last Updated on July 13, 2022 by Andrew Flint
Life Before Occupier:
- After establishing a broad network of 185 microfulfillment centers in Europe, the company is opening operations in the U.S., with a goal of 30 total locations in New York City in 2022.
- Older analog lease management systems were slowing down the process, leaving stakeholders without a single source of truth.
Life After Occupier:
- Gorillas rapidly scales, expecting to double U.S. warehouse and dark store spaces in 2022.
- Occupier helps the company save costs on five to 10 lease administrators and remain a lean team.
- All stakeholders are united on key information for executing a multifaceted supply chain and distributed commercial real estate strategy.
- Two to three weeks of operational work per lease takes only a couple of days with Occupier saving upward of 80% of time.
- Gorillas expects to rapidly scale into additional U.S. cities within two years with a streamlined leasing team.
INDUSTRY: FOOD AND BEVERAGE DELIVERY | LOCATIONS: 185 IN EUROPE, 15 IN NEW YORK CITY | OCCUPIER USERS: 6
Gorillas is one of the fastest European startups to reach unicorn status (startups valued above $1 billion). It was founded in May of 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, it promises grocery and product delivery with an average 10-minute delivery time utilizing strategically located dark stores and warehouses. The pandemic accelerated the trend of changing consumer behavior around grocery shopping, and Gorillas enabled easy online grocery ordering and delivery.
As Gorillas moved into the U.S. market in May 2021, the company needed a real estate management system that would enable and enhance the company’s aggressive scaling plan. Alexander Angeline, head of real estate and development for Gorillas, selected Occupier to help manage the company’s growing network of locations. “Occupier has really centralized a lot of the critical supply-side information for us around our real estate footprint,” Angeline says. This allows him to focus on the strategic elements of the company’s growth.
Strategically Approaching Real Estate Decisions
Angeline says the way that Occupier synthesizes, organizes, and surfaces data for other stakeholders frees up room for him to focus on important strategic decisions. “I know when my rent is going to escalate, and I know when I need to notify the landlord that I want to extend my term,” he says. “I don’t need to think about these things; Occupier is thinking about them for me and then proactively prompting me to stay on top of it.” This peace of mind about the small details frees up room so the real estate team can drive more value for the rest of the company.
“It allows me to focus on the strategy piece and really figure out why we need to be in Flushing, why we need to be in Jackson Heights,” Angeline says. “It really gives me more depth and time into (the strategic aspects) and not, ‘Is my rent schedule populating correctly?’” In this way, Angeline says, Occupier allows companies to focus on their business instead of managing the minutiae of real estate.
Gorillas requires advanced technology to organize the supply lines, customer orders, communication with the Riders (folks who make the deliveries), timely deliveries, and more. The company needed a real estate solution that had the technological chops to match. “That is part of the reason I was very excited about bringing Occupier into our fold,” Angeline says.
“What we are doing as Gorillas, as far as delivering groceries and empowering local businesses, is incredibly impactful and innovative,” Angeline says. “But we can only do it if the way that we’re working is impactful and innovative, too.” According to Angeline, Occupier is an “incredible toolset” that allows him to stay up-to-date, nimble, and effective in an ever-changing real estate market as the company rapidly scales. “There’s no way I can do that with the traditional tools of Excel — and if I could, it’s not efficient,” he says. “It doesn’t allow me to scale as fast as I would want.”
Cross-functional Team Alignment
Angeline says Occupier’s unique interface ensures all stakeholders have access to key information as a single source of truth. “That allows us to work cross-functionally better,” Angeline says. Alignment across departments is key for Gorillas as the company scales. “If real estate is not talking to the commercial and supply chain teams, things drop, and mistakes can be made,” Angeline says. “At the speed at which we’re moving, we can’t afford to have that possibility.”
According to Angeline, Occupier’s intuitive user interface removes some of the frustration he’s experienced using other proptech tools. Folks from other departments can easily access and interpret the information, and they trust the platform to be accurate and efficient. “If I want to share a link with some of my team members, they’re not going to get lost in it,” Angeline says. “This is a big component of cross-functionality. I want my accounting team to go in there and feel empowered to pull data from Occupier and really make decisions around it.”
Streamlined Operational Requirements
Occupier’s efficiencies allow Gorillas to grow quickly without adding strain to the company overall. “I’m one person, and I feel very comfortable scaling our real estate portfolio across the whole country — just myself with Occupier,” Angeline says. “Occupier allows me to scale myself. I don’t have to be stuck in the weeds of pulling PDFs and tracking rent schedules.” Angeline says Occupier replaces the need to hire five or 10 lease administrators. In fact, Angeline says he can use Occupier to accomplish two to three weeks’ worth of work managing a lease in the span of only one or two days, which frees him to spend time on value-adding decisions.
Because Occupier takes care of lease management activities, Angeline can hire for more conceptual, strategic roles instead of administrative roles. “I can hire someone in data science instead of bucketing more administrative tasks” into the commercial real estate arm of the company, Angeline says.
Occupier has been a key component of Gorillas’ growth in the U.S. With the Occupier platform, Gorillas can coordinate key lease information across teams and spend more time on strategic decisions. According to Angeline, the Occupier team is just as important to scaling Gorilla’s real estate footprint as the tool itself. “We feel incredibly supported from day one,” Angeline says. “I don’t want to overlook the tools. Fantastic. But you guys are fantastic, as well.” As Gorillas doubles its warehouse footprint throughout 2022, Occupier and our team will be there to help every step of the way.