Opower, an Energy Efficient Software Company, is PMI’s Newest Tenant at Harrison Property in San Francisco

Our newest tenant on the second floor of 642 Harrison in San Francisco has a goal to make the world more energy-efficient.  It’s a pretty lofty goal for a company only founded in 2007.  Opower is a software as a service company that partners with utility companies to promote energy efficiency.  According to their website, Opower is a new customer engagement platform for the utility industry.  It reinvented the way utilities interact with customers—from the quality of the information provided to the way it’s presented and delivered.  It helps people use energy more efficiently and ultimately save money on their energy bills.  And it vastly improves the overall customer experience by making energy use personally relevant.  For example, when monthly invoices arrive at a customer’s home, they can see the average utility bill cost in their neighborhood, along with suggestions on how to reduce their energy consumption.  If they are well over the average compared to other homes in the area, they then have Opower’s suggestions right at their fingertips to help alleviate some of their energy costs.

Opower decided to PMI Properties’ 642 Harrison would be a great candidate for their next office because of its size and prime location.  Opower’s decision to choose Harrison in the competitive SoMa market was featured in this article as well: Big Race for Space in SoMa, Wall Street Journal, January 26 2012.

They also have established an online presence with social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as having their own, “Hey, it’s OPOWER!” blog.  Their website has many interesting and innovative ways to share information about their vision and what the company has accomplished.  There is an “OMeter” page that keeps a running tab on how many kilowatt-hours Opower has saved, and lists some interesting facts on what could be done with all that energy.  Opower also finds ways to engage and entertain their employees.  Their website lists activities such as a quarterly company outing, innovation day, soccer and ping-pong teams, and the ability to bring your dog to work.

Photo courtesy of Opower's website.

Opower was founded in 2007 by long-time friends Dan Yates and Alex Laskey.  When they started their company, lots of people were excited about cleaner energy production using renewable energy sources, like the sun and wind.  Dan and Alex knew that these sources wouldn’t be tapped in the short-term, even though they are important.  Their answer to reducing carbon emissions right now was curbing wasteful use of the types of energy produced today.  By utilizing the 1.4 billion utility bills that are mailed to customers each year, they would be able to send energy-saving ideas to hundreds of millions of households.  After creating a prototype, they went to two of America’s major energy markets, California and Texas.  The amount of interest they received from utilities, state legislators, and environmental groups soon led to first round venture capital funding from MHS Capital.

Photo courtesy of Opower's website.

They have garnered support from other green centered companies, as well as President Barack Obama. He visited their headquarters in Arlington, Virginia in 2010 and praised their work ethic and success during the hard economic times in addition to their ability to provide clean energy jobs.  They have been featured in articles from The Wall Street Journal, Techcruch, CNN, and Green Tech Media, to name a few.

You can visit Opower’s website at http://www.opower.com. You can read their blog at www.heyitsopower.com and follow them on Twitter @Opower and Facebook: www.facebook.com/heyitsopower

Innovative Companies Undergo Artistic Renovations to Maintain Creative Edge

A recent article published from Bloomberg.org discusses the rise of creative space throughout major cities.  The resurgence of the digital technology sector has created a demand for this type of creative office space.  This time around, major developers and institutional investors acknowledge this trend and have driven down the yields on this product.  Certain features of the space are leading to new ways of working, especially for firms with employees who spend a lot of time on computers or mobile devices.  This is a shift from a traditional office environment where employees focus their time in small conference rooms or on the telephone.  At PMI, we continue to strive for our spaces to promote creativity, collaboration, and the ability to scale if needed.

In all of about 15 years in Los Angeles, there were only about three or four developers doing this. PMI was one of them.  None of them were institutions.  It was hard to get financing as the lenders believed this type of office design was a fad.  PMI was able to buy Marina Studios because the lender who foreclosed could not figure out what exactly Marina was or how it should be used.  It did not work as an industrial building and it did not look like offices.  PMI was able to take control of the building, effectively design and market it, and we now currently maintain a fully leased building.

The full article outlines more of the characteristics of these new, emerging offices.

Bebo.com to Relocate Corporate HQ to PMI’s Creative Office Building in West Los Angeles

PMI Property is proud to announce that Bebo.com, the social networking website, signed a 2,000 square foot lease to relocate it’s headquarters to the creative office building at 10951 Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles, California.

Bebo was catapulted onto the social networking scene and embraced by users in 2005.  It can be considered one of the first examples of creating a successful social networking site.  Unfortunately, Bebo was quickly overshadowed by MySpace.  Then Facebook launched, and the social networking revolution we all know today exploded.  AOL purchased Bebo in 2008 for $850 million and sold it to the current owners for under $10 million in 2010.  The original founder Michael Birch netted $300 million on the deal after investing $8,000 to start Bebo.  The current owners operate Bebo as an international social meeting website, and it boasts over 400,000 unique visitors a month in the United States alone.  Bebo still has to compete with the giant of the social networking game: Facebook, with their 140 million unique monthly visitors.  In contrast, Friendster is down to 77,000 users a month.

But Bebo survived, and has fared well in comparison to other sites. They feature personal profile pages for users where they can post blogs, photos, music and videos, as well as online gaming.  Be sure to check out our new tenant, Bebo to see what they have to offer!

You can read more about Bebo.com here.

Cultivating Inventiveness & Ingenuity in Creative Offices Today

From white boards to free digital applications that encourage collaboration and organization of work, companies are researching and enacting as many policies and practices as possible so they can to foster inventiveness and ingenuity throughout their employee population. This article from Behind the Counter explores four key strategies that companies are implementing to facilitate creative collaboration among their employees. They are simple tactics that any company can start using to encourage and support their employees to think differently. A company doesn’t have to be a heavy hitter like Google, Groupon, Living Social or Facebook to take advantage of these creative courses of action.

PMI Properties is proud to see most of their tenants already putting into practice at least one of these strategies with outstanding, innovative results. From collaborative areas to exploring new environments.  We are happy that our tenants are embracing these innovative trends.