Building

8 questions to entrepreneur Pushpendra Sharma, founder of SpacesGenie

Can you give a brief introduction about your company?

The company is called Pop Up Pte. Ltd. and the online portal is called “SpacesGenie.com”. We are building Asia’s largest cross border short term rental marketplace that connects brands, artists, designers etc. with spaces to open Pop Up stores. Our company’s vision is to simplify renting Pop Up retail spaces – and to this end, we provide end to end services – starting from finding the perfect place to a suite of value added services, offering unique solutions that allow brands to Pop Up Space, Quickly!

8 questions to entrepreneur Pushpendra Sharma, founder of SpacesGenie

How did the idea of SpacesGenie.com come across to you?

Given my professional background of 15+ years of real estate experience in Asia, I saw the huge opportunity to simplify doing Pop up spaces in the Asian context - from the perspective of “Space Owners” (Landlords) and the “Space Users” (Brands & Concepts) – the current landscape is tough to navigate.
In my years doing real estate private equity – investing and asset managing a diverse portfolio, I know one of the key asset management strategy is to find creative ways to monetize vacant spaces or transient spaces. The way to do this, is by offering them on a short term basis – which in my experience proved to be highly beneficial in uplifting the overall asset productivity and value. The attractiveness of short term rentals, from a landlords perspective has stuck with me ever since.
I’ve also got the perspective from the “Users” side from my role as a retail consultant - where I often found my clients struggling to find information and spaces to test their products, or conduct flash sales. Since Singapore and Hong Kong are expensive retail-real estate markets it’s tough to get access to short term retail spaces and one stop shop services to open Pop up stores.
With this in mind, I realized that there is an opportunity to create an online platform that connects the “Owners” & “Users” of short-term retail spaces and that’s how the idea of Spaces Genie was born.

What was your biggest challenge or the worst decision you had made and had to flip away from afterwards?

I’ve realized that all startups face challenges in the journey to launch, and the mistakes we make initially actually make for a much stronger proposition eventually. For Spaces Genie – I had decided to have a lot of features which would make the site much more user friendly and scalable. However, these features took a lot of time and resources to develop, which resulted in a delay in our launch timing. In hindsight, I would’ve chosen to launch a simpler “Beta version” sooner, while we continued to do the backend to drive scale.

What is your dream and vision for SpacesGenie.com?

Our vision is to be the centerpiece for creating a retail world without borders – where buyers and sellers can interact freely and efficiently. We will achieve this vision by building the largest and most efficient eco-system that enables Pop Ups in Asia.

How do you get your brand out there? (Did you leverage any connections to other startups? Any other meaningful relationships or connections that helped you?)

I am a strong supporter of startups and entrepreneurs and believe in the power of network. I’ve leveraged my personal (friends, family), professional (real estate, retail etc.) and academic (Columbia University) network. I’ve also used social media platforms, print and online publications in order to make my brand visible. All those startups and entrepreneurs whom I have supported, advised and worked with have extended their support toward SpacesGenie.com. I believe in Karma, so essentially what goes around comes around.

TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. What keeps your team going? What do they value the most?

We are all passionate people, who have relevant experience, a shared vision and a determination to succeed. The desire to be a part of something that’s bigger than us individually, and to really create something of value, keeps us going. My team and I have a shared history of working together in various capacities, and we use that rapport & trust to build a bright future together.

Can you tell us what is the biggest difference between the HK business market and the market in other countries?

The HK retail market is quite sophisticated relative to some other Asian cities like Manila or Jakarta. Also, the cost of doing business in HK is relatively higher, given the very high rental prices. That said, HK shows a lot of promise for future growth given its proximity to mainland China and brands will continue to invest in HK.
Moreover, in a recent report by World Bank Doing Business Report 2016, which covered 189 economies worldwide, ranked Hong Kong as #5. The list was topped by Singapore for the 10th consecutive year. To maintain this competitiveness the government of Hong Kong is finding innovative ways to attract talent by simplifying the process of setting up a company and a perfect example is The HK Startup Visa initiative.

8 questions to entrepreneur Pushpendra Sharma, founder of SpacesGenie

What is the one reason to start a startup in HK? And what would be the reason not to do so?

I guess for various startups, Hong Kong is the gateway to China. It is well connected, diverse and multi-cultural. So for those startups that are looking to eventually expand to mainland China, for them setting up a company in Hong Kong makes complete sense. To be honest, I really can’t think of any reason why not to start a startup in Hong Kong, except that the cost of living in Hong Kong is perhaps the highest in Asia. So for startups that are bootstrapping or haven’t been funded, real estate rentals (housing, office etc.) and operating costs can be rather expensive.

What is your #Startup Passion?

Dream Big. Inspire Others. Create Value.

8 questions to entrepreneur Pushpendra Sharma, founder of SpacesGenie

8 questions to entrepreneur Pushpendra Sharma, founder of SpacesGenie

Recommend to a friend


Next on your reading list