PropTech and Finding the Sweet Spot with Hybrid Work with Caroline Frith, Ep #20

In this episode of Tech Talent Today, I’m excited to be joined by Caroline Frith, the Chief Strategy Officer at cove, a commercial real estate technology company. Caroline joined cove with an impressive twenty-year background in CRE, investment banking, and technology and now leads product and partnership development. During her career, Caroline has spearheaded valuable technology partnerships, led enterprise product strategy, and delivered transformative results by consistently maintaining a strategic view of operational efficiencies and future revenue growth. Listen to learn from her experiences.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • Caroline’s background [02:57]
  • What is cove? [04:07]
  • Hybrid workplaces [06:33]
  • Why work for a startup? [10:49]
  • Having a sounding board [16:10]

Caroline’s career

Most of Caroline’s background has been in investment banking. She worked on the trading floor for several international investment banks, built financial models, and rolled out messaging platforms. After she had her daughter, she wanted a schedule that didn’t start at 6:45 am, so she pivoted into real estate. Her first role at Cushman & Wakefield was in the valuations and advisory team, helping build financial models to value real estate assets. During the pandemic, she joined the asset services team because they needed someone with a strong analytics background.

A few months ago, Caroline joined cove as Chief Strategy Officer. She looks for gaps in the market and how cove’s product can meet those needs. She spends a lot of her time building consensus and aligning everyone on what business the company is going after, what areas of investment it will make in product development, and which direction to take with partnerships.

Joining a startup isn’t for everyone. There’s no place to hide in a startup because everyone is within sight of each other. If someone doesn’t believe in what they’re selling, the value proposition, or what the company is telling people, that working situation will not work out well. So before someone joins a startup, they must ensure they genuinely like the product and the team. Before Caroline started at cove, she liked the product, the culture, and the team, and she believed she had unique experiences she could bring to the table. That skill set and her entrepreneurial spirit ultimately led to her success in the company.

What is cove?

Cove is a commercial real estate technology provider that began eight years ago in Washington, D.C. When the company started, it was running many co-working locations, and it still has some beautiful retail spaces where someone can use a desk for a day, a week, or a year. Cove built its own software to check people in and manage communications while running those facilities. The software was so good that people asked if they could purchase it separately.

After the pandemic, the need for questionnaire-style apps that could be used for check-ins and manage tenant communications skyrocketed. With many employees working remotely, businesses needed less space. This situation still holds true as workspaces continue to be remote or hybrid.

The hybrid workplace

Each company has different needs and policies for a hybrid workplace. At Cushman & Wakefield, consultants interviewed staff and found that happiness peaked around two or three days in the office. The staff also shared that they need flexibility with arrival and departure times. Culture has changed since the pandemic, and people expect a more family-friendly environment. They also want to ensure that their friends and people they work closely with will be there when they work on-site. People don’t want to show up to an empty office.

Cove helps build a sense of community by encouraging people to be more engaged again. The company does online programming like trivia contests, giveaways, and tenant spotlights, so people learn who their neighbors are. People get together for wine tasting, chocolate tasting, and cookie decorating events. Some buildings have even had a bring your dog to work day.

Forward-thinking property owners are obtaining the software to offer future tenants an opportunity to lease less space and for that space to be hybrid-ready. If a tenant can take over space and has the tools to map out their floor plans, reserve desks, and see who else is coming in, leasing activity is helped tremendously. Tenants don’t spend more than they need to, and leasing activity is high.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Caroline Frith

Connect With Jodi Kulek Mayer

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