Interview with Ryan Simonetti, CEO of Convene - Part III


Ryan Simonetti

Click here for Part IPart II

Transforming collaboration and co-working with strategic partnerships and a robust technology platform

Ryan Simonetti is the co-founder and CEO of Convene. Founded in 2009, Convene aims to transform the way people meet and work together—by partnering with landlords to design, build, and operate a premium network of meeting and event facilities, flexible workspaces, and hospitality amenities. The company’s unique collaboration model is powered by a proprietary mobile technology platform that provides tenants with intuitive building experiences while giving landlords sophisticated insights into property use. Convene is currently available in select locations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago, with more cities coming soon.

EDWIN WARFIELD: Tell us about how you’ve managed to grow the business over the last decade. What attracts investors to Convene?

RYAN SIMONETTI: Between 2009 to 2013, a family office had backed us. There was a little bit of a disconnect between what they ultimately wanted and I think what we wanted as founders, which was to build a much larger business. They were really hoping to run this as a cash flow business. From 2009 to 2013, we ended up only opening three locations during that time period, but the benefit of that was it gave us the time to really perfect the hospitality delivery model, which ultimately I think distinguishes us from everybody else in the space today. It’s still the biggest core differentiator between us and most everybody else in this new and emerging industry: the ability to deliver a genuine, authentic hospitality experience.

In 2013, we did a Series A round, which ended up being about $12 million when it was all said and done, and then we’ve kind of been doing financial raises almost every 12 to 18 months since then. The last round we closed was $68 million—we actually upsized that to $72 million. And—we’re actually in the process right now—in the next couple of weeks we’ll be closing a $150 million round. I think we’ve executed, and we’ve done it in a very deliberate and thoughtful way, and have positioned ourselves as the premium brand in this space. More important than that is that we’re really the preferred partner to the largest asset owners in the world who are feeling the disruption that’s happening today. We offer them a platform and a partnership model that allows them to respond to that without having to sign a lease with WeWork; allowing them, sometimes, to have it branded in their name and powered by us. That partnership model has really served us well, and that’s why a lot of our biggest partners are also investors in the company. We’ve really positioned ourselves I think as the industry’s response to the disruption and the change that’s happening, and doing it in a collaborative, partner-driven format.

Q. How do you foresee the industry evolving in the next 10 or 15 years?

A. If I close my eyes and I think about what the office building experience in the next 10 to 15 years looks like, I would say that the first thing is mixed use. I believe that zoning will continue to evolve, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you look into a building structure that you start to see not just a blend of retail and office, but retail, office, residential, industrial vis-à-vis hyper-local distribution, last block-type of delivery infrastructure for people like Amazon. I think the other thing that you’ll find is that the percentage of the building allocated to the use cases like Convene will become an ever-increasing allocation of the building. I wouldn’t be surprised if 30%, 40%, 50% of the building ends up being allocated to short duration space and shared amenities and infrastructure that the longer-term tenants above get the benefit of. Every building will be defined as “smart,” and I think that that’s more than smart lighting and smart infrastructure in a building application; I believe that the technology will advance to a point where the actual experience in the building will be personalized to the individual user, and that the building will be able to not just meet the needs, but actually anticipate the needs, of an individual employee of a tenant, or an individual guest of a tenant in an office building.

Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn

Sponsored by:


Newmark Knight Frank (NKF) is one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms. Together with London-based partner Knight Frank and independently-owned offices, NKF's 15,000 professionals operate from more than 400 offices in established and emerging property markets on six continents.

With roots dating back to 1929, NKF's strong foundation makes it one of the most trusted names in commercial real estate. NKF's full-service platform comprises BGC's real estate services segment, offering commercial real estate tenants, landlords, investors and developers a wide range of services including leasing; capital markets services, including investment sales, debt placement, appraisal, and valuation services; commercial mortgage brokerage services; as well as corporate advisory services, consulting, project and development management, and property and corporate facilities management services. For further information, visit

NKF is a part of BGC Partners, Inc., a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets. BGC's common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol (NASDAQ: BGCP). BGC also has an outstanding bond issuance of Senior Notes due June 15, 2042, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (NYSE: BGCA). BGC Partners is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer  Howard W. Lutnick. For more information, please visit

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