Waterloo Region's Growing Tech Community Gives Rise to Flexible Office Lease Structures
November 13, 2018
Rapid evolution of homegrown software startup Bonfire Interactive couldn't be accommodated by a traditional long-term lease
Bonfire Interactive Ltd., a high-growth company in Waterloo Region that builds class-leading procurement software, has signed a lease deal to expand its footprint at The Tannery building in Kitchener to 21,000 square feet. The firm, which launched six years ago, plans to double its 87-member local workforce over the next year. While the expansion of this company signals confidence in Kitchener as a tech hotbed, it also reflects a new pace of growth that traditional office leases struggle to accommodate.
Tech firms have historically been averse to taking on longer-term leases, not wanting to limit their ability to scale up or down as need be. But to secure the best spaces – those offering state of the art design and features, convenient parking, and optimal locations – requires signing multi-year commitments. For a rapidly evolving company like Bonfire, this is where flexible lease structuring became essential.
"Tech companies know they need great spaces to attract and retain talent, and what we helped Bonfire to secure at The Tannery is the perfect turnkey solution: a fully furnished heritage-infused office space with ample amenities and a flexible lease structure that has allowed the company to move into a bigger space and hire as needed," commented Will Hunter, Senior Sales Associate with CBRE in Kitchener, who brokered the extension deal for Bonfire. "With a dynamic business such as Bonfire, it's all about how you keep moving the company forward without your real estate slowing you down."
Bonfire was accepted into the prestigious Y-combinator program in San Francisco in its early years and has experience multiple rounds of venture funding. Despite the Company's extensive growth and multiple opportunities to relocate to Silicon Valley, the Bonfire team has opted to grow their hometown presence.
"We're proud to be part of the tech landscape in Waterloo Region - our city offers a skilled talent pool, a network of business resources, and nearby amenities that ensure our team can experience work-life balance," said Bonfire CEO, Corry Flatt. "We’re thrilled to be able to secure a suitable, local office space that will allow us to remain nimble and expand our footprint as we grow."
Other companies are following suit. According to CBRE's 2017 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent Report, Waterloo Region was Canada's fastest growing tech talent market, having added 8,400 tech jobs between 2011 and 2016, a 65.6% growth rate. "Waterloo Region continues to show its strength as one of Canada’s top tech markets and a major engine of innovation for the Canadian economy," said Hunter.
"The competition for tech talent here is fierce, and Waterloo Region can continue to differentiate itself by ensuring there are real estate options that provide the flexibility needed to compete and thrive. In working to arrange deals like the one we did for Bonfire at The Tannery, CBRE is helping evolve the office leasing model to provide tech companies with runway to grow, so that they don't have to move away. Kitchener is a leader in so many regards, office leasing should be no different."
About Bonfire Interactive Ltd.
Bonfire Interactive, a leader in strategic sourcing and procurement technology, empowers organizations to make the right purchasing decisions. With tools to support the entire vendor lifecycle (sourcing, contract management, and vendor performance), the Bonfire strategic sourcing platform goes beyond the mechanics of traditional procurement suites to centralize all sourcing activities. The platform works the way you do and is designed to unite stakeholders, absorb compliance requirements, and facilitate advanced evaluation activities. Bonfire powers over $20-billion dollars worth of decision making across 250+ customers globally, and is recognized as a 2018 Gartner Cool Vendor. www.gobonfire.com
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company has more than 105,000 employees (excluding Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.
In Canada, CBRE Limited employs 2,200 people in 22 locations from coast to coast. Please visit our website at www.cbre.ca.