Smarten Spaces: Managing Real Estate With An App
Since the industrialization of the world, the real estate business has been flourishing. Real estate owners today make a lot of money from the space they own but space optimization and space management take a lot of time and resources.
Dinesh Malkani, an experienced and successful Indian, decided to tackle the problems in this industry by using technology. He saw the opportunity of using AI and the Internet of Things system to create a platform called Smarten Spaces. What the platform does is manage space more effectively, or as he puts it, smartly. Integrating data from different sources into an app provides real estate owners with a useful system for utilizing their space.
Creating smart spaces and starting something new was Dinesh’s goal, and to achieve it he left a prestigious position in a big company. And he wasn’t wrong to do so.
If you want to know the whole story of how a dream became a reality, continue reading about Smarten Spaces.
A Stand-out Child
Born in India, Dinesh was standing out since his early childhood. With his intelligence and problem-solving capability, he attracted the attention of his parents as well as his teachers. He was always interested in everything, wanting to learn more, asking questions that would satisfy his thirst for knowledge. His parents supported their child’s desire to learn and spent a lot of time with him.
He passed through his elementary and high school education easily, always being the stand-out student. Seeing their son's potential, his parents insisted on him going to college, but they didn’t have to. He couldn’t imagine himself not continuing his education.
In 1992, Dinesh went to Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune, a well-respected university. Since he was interested in technology, it was only natural for him to get a degree in computer sciences. Holding a degree opened up numerous possibilities for a career, and young Dinesh was ready to start his professional journey.
Dinesh got his first job right after finishing college. Since he was a brilliant student, he was immediately hired as a research & development engineer in HCT, a big IT company in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. He gained valuable experience and knowledge in the company, having the opportunity to work on the design and testing of different products.
But Dinesh wanted more, his ambitions were pushing him not to stop his education with attaining just one degree. The thirst for knowledge he had since a young boy never actually left him.
Dinesh applied to the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and he was ecstatic when he found out that they had accepted him. In only three years there, Dinesh became a Masters of Business Administration.
He decided not to stay in the United States, the nostalgia brought him back to Asia. His life journey took him to Singapore next, where he started working in Avaya, a company providing software and communication technologies for companies. It didn’t take long for the leaders of the company to recognize Dinesh’s capabilities and brilliance and to award him with a promotion.
Building an Impressive Career
After only one year with the company, Dinesh was honored with the position of president at Avaya for China and Korea. It was a well-deserved promotion since Dinesh was a dedicated hard worker. He spent two years as a president until he decided to switch companies.
Dinesh was appointed as vice president and general manager of GN Netcom for the Asia/Pacific region. It was another admirable position in his career. But after almost two years in GN, Dinesh received an offer he just couldn’t say no to.
In 2010, Cisco Systems, an American multinational company, offered Dinesh a position as managing director for Asia, the Pacific, and Japan. He gladly accepted the offer as he was ready for new challenges and experiences. After bringing his quality to the company and showing great results, Dinesh was once again promoted to a higher position in 2014. This time it was the presidency of Cisco Systems India. At the same time, he was appointed as president of The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), an organization that India was a part of.
Success followed Dinesh everywhere he went. Under his presidency, Cisco India was significantly growing and increasing its revenue. Dinesh was on the top of his career and his life, at this point, having achieved a lot.
Be in the Best Team, or Make Your Own to Compete with the Best
Even though he was a president of a big and successful company, Dinesh had different goals and ambitions. As a man full of ideas, he felt that he could not completely thrive in an already established company. He wanted to invent something, to start something exciting and new, something that would take over the world. Thankful for all the possibilities and experience Cisco gave him, Dinesh decided to quit the position of president in 2017.
Dinesh opted for such a move so he could build a start-up company in Singapore. His idea was to use technology for creating a platform that will be useful for real estate owners and companies for their space management. The platform would enable real estate owners to use their spaces better, achieve optimum monetization, make them smarter, business-wise, and improve tenants' experiences. As he could not achieve this by himself, he started completing a team of professionals.
The beginnings of the company were really tough. Finding talent was not easy. Countless interviews had to be processed to find engineers and other experts. Perfecting the product was also not an easy task. Dinesh was tirelessly working 24/7, spending a lot of sleepless nights and exhausting himself so he could finally see his vision before him.
Another challenge Dinesh faced was connecting to a lot of outside technology to get the needed data and make it integrated into the platform. Financial resources were another problem for the company, since the budget was limited.
Dinesh knew that succeeding as a startup is not easy, it takes massive daily efforts, and a lot of believing in the company. So, being a good leader, Dinesh was constantly motivating his team, and instead of weekly or monthly, he insisted on having daily meetings. All his efforts ended up being fruitful because Smarten Spaces started to attract interest.
Two years after the company was founded, in 2019, it already had opened offices in India and the USA. The same year Symphony International Holding, an investment company for Asia, decided to make an investment in Smarten Spaces. The total amount invested was $12M. This was a big boost for the company, helping it grow even more.
Dinesh’s previous experience in many companies, combined with his creativity and persistence, gave him everything he needed to succeed with Smart Spaces. Previous results and acknowledgments felt nothing in comparison to starting and building his own company. That’s what he was in the game for.
The Company Today
Before attracting numerous clients, Smarten Spaces had to find its own place among fierce competitors like Satellite Deskworks, LogMeIn, and The Office Providers, and others.
Smarten Spaces is a Singapore-based company that also holds offices in India, the USA, and Australia. Over 110 employees are working for Smarten Spaces today. The platform is used by a large number of companies, from which several are in the Fortune 100. It is used in more than 50 cities in the world and has partnerships with large tech companies of the likes of Siemens, Kone, Cisco, and HID among others. Smarten Spaces is also a global partner with Microsoft.
Smarten Spaces continues upgrading and adjusting the platform, as well as inventing new products. With the Covid-19 pandemic, new challenges of remote working and hybrid workplaces showed up for companies. Smarten Spaces designed a new app called Jumpree which serves companies for better management of their hybrid workplaces.
Smarten Spaces was awarded the Covid Management of The Year award in 2020 by the Singapore Business Review.
The story of Dinesh Malkani can serve as motivation for anyone. Whether you’re just a college student, or an employee in a company, you can always achieve your goals if you set your mind to it. Hard work and determination pays off. Even at a high position in a big company he still had hunger for something new, and he left his commodity to work hard and give it all to his own company. Inventing and being the first was what motivated him.
Conquering a market is a success, but an even bigger success is creating one.