The first batch of Rise entrepreneurs came from a wide spectrum of different backgrounds and industries. Some were lifelong entrepreneurs that had owned multiple companies; others had come from corporate or academic backgrounds to found a company for the first time. One thing that united them all, despite their differences, was coronavirus. As they gathered for mentor sessions and discussions in the summer of 2020, they all compared notes on how to adapt to a new working environment presented by the pandemic.

Of that first Rise batch, MAPIQ was among the businesses most challenged by COVID-19. Through its smart office platform, Mapiq gives people control over their work environment: from light and temperature settings to finding colleagues and choosing available places to meet or work. With the help of a sprawling sensor network and WiFi, MAPIQ could share a real-time overview on what’s happening in the building. And to top it all off, all this data would feed back into MAPIQ’s analytics portal, allowing employers to see how people use the office. This way, management can successfully tailor the workplace to their employees’ needs.

MAPIQ built an impressive client list in a short space of time – Sander was working with huge multinationals like Deloitte, Engie, Unilever, and PricewaterhouseCoopers to design the digital offices of the future. But when the pandemic struck, those office blocks were suddenly empty. That presented a real problem for a business that was based around busy, fully functioning office spaces.

Rise makes you think strategically. Instead of thinking from within the company, it makes you look down on the company. That change to having a more strategic mindset was so important for us.

Sander Schutte, Founder @ Mapiq

That strategic mindset helped Sander realise that MAPIQ needed to adapt significantly to tackle the coronavirus challenge. Within a few weeks, Sander and his team went back to the drawing board and developed two new features designed to help employees return to offices safely.

  • The first one is a tool that helps managers calculate a safe office capacity and reorganise their floor plans, taking social distancing regulations into account.
  • The second one is an application that allows employees to book shifts in the office on their preferred days, in a safe capacity.

MAPIQ also refocused operationally. In the past the business was geared towards physical meetings – the MAPIQ team travelled to see clients and attend trade shows all over Europe. Now they are able to handle everything remotely, from client meetings to lead generation.

‘Our product was really tailored at top-of-the-pyramid companies like Deloitte, that fully embraced agile working and hotdesking,’ says Sander. ‘We realised that we have a software platform that gives  companies flexibility, and that is exactly what we need to get people back to work safely.

MAPIQ’s new products have been phenomenally successful, and by pivoting to meet the new demands of the industry, Sander has opened up a whole new market that didn’t exist before.

All companies are transitioning to a new way of working now,’ he explains. ‘The role of the office is changing, not just for front running companies. Traditional companies now realise they can also support flexibility. So at the end of the day, our market has become much bigger.’

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