From an office in a living room to competing with the top players on the market. 108 AGENCY celebrates its tenth year
Today, at the entrance of the chique, modern offices of 108 AGENCY, the works of leading Czech street artist welcome you to a casual atmosphere with just over thirty-five cheerful employees. Exactly ten years ago, however, things looked completely different at 108: the office was a single living room, and Jakub Holec, the owner, and visionary, sat in it alone.
Over the last decade, a lot more than just the space and number of people in the firm has changed. The couch-based project has grown into a successful consulting firm, specialized in the leasing, sale, and management of the commercial real estate, with a wide spectrum of domestic and international clients from the automotive industry, e-commerce, retail, wholesale, and government sectors.
This September marked ten years from when Jakub Holec registered the name 108 AGENCY in the Commercial Register. “The market in 2009 was experiencing a deep crisis, and I saw a unique opportunity to build something new upon it. So I left the corporate world because I knew that I wanted to do business on my own,” explains Jakub Holec about his beginnings as an entrepreneur.
The founder of the company chose the name based on the order of his initials in the alphabet, and later found that 108 holds significance as a lucky number in Eastern teachings. “Whether or not the luckiness of the number has contributed to the growth of the company, I believe that behind the success is the same enthusiasm for the work that keeps the team and I going to this day,” adds Holec. The first offices of the company were established on Vlkova street in Žižkov a year later. Although the company was burglarized during a backup of important data, and they lost all of their technical equipment, they managed to expand their scope of activities to fields outside of industrial real estate, to include offices, property management, and investment transactions, and started to form the full service commercial real estate agency that is 108 AGENCY today.
A team of professionals who want to do things differently
From the very beginning, Jakub Holec wanted to build a company that would place emphasis on professionalism as well as on an individual approach to clients, a pleasant work environment, relationships between people in the team, results, and above all, on not being corporate. “I’m very proud that we have been able to build a team together which not only does a great job, but also in its own way counterbalances the impersonal nature of the corporate world. I believe that we are slowly changing commercial real estate into a more accessible business that it was ten years ago when I started the agency,” says the CEO.
The biggest companies in the world, awards, and their own projects
Although Jakub Holec originally wanted his agency to work exclusively for Czech businesses, 108 AGENCY represents and helps some of the biggest businesses in the world – its clients include Panasonic, Škoda Auto, IKEA, LIDL, and the majority of the leading Czech e-commerce players. The company also brings new insights and solutions based primarily on data and technology to the world of real estate. This approach has resulted in three portals – NajdiKanceláře.cz, Investuj.cz and SKLADUJ.cz – which have quickly established themselves on the market and now account for a good part of the success of the company. After some time the first of the awards started rolling in – Best Local Real Estate Agency was followed by awards for Best Warehouse Power Broker and Best Warehouse Lease at the CIJ awards. On its ten-year anniversary, the award for Best Warehouse Power Broker Team at the prestigious HOF Awards was added to the list.
Company projects and expansion to the east
108 AGENCY’s own “startups” are also an important part of the company. In 2017, their first project was launched, a platform specializing in the short-term rental of attractive spaces in Prague, called TheProstor.cz. The second project was BigBox Locator (BigboxLocator.com), which offers databases for large logistics halls over 40,000 sq m in Central and Eastern Europe. The latest addition is the personnel agency Edgar Baker, which utilizes the know-how of 108 AGENCY to help industrial enterprises find the most competent employees with the utmost efficiency.
The rapid growth and development of the company isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, and they are soon planning to expand to South-Eastern Europe. They are already analyzing opportunities on markets in Hungary, Romania, and above all in Serbia, where they want to establish a branch very soon. This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with strengthening the company’s position on the current markets, where it is competing very well with multinational firms operating in commercial real estate, primarily in industrial leases. It will also be crucial to increase cooperation with chambers of commerce outside of the Czech Republic.
A decade of 108 AGENCY, Year by Year
2009 – Jakub Holec founds the company in a living room
2010 – first offices, founding of sister company AMCR
2011 – 108 moves to bigger offices, expands team
2012 – investment department is established
2013 – the first major transaction: the sale of a factory from Panasonic to CTP
2014 – more company portals: najdikancelare.cz a investuj.cz
2015 – award for Best Local Real Estate Agency at the CIJ Awards. The team joins the association SKLAD (SKLADUJ.cz). First transaction in Slovakia.
2016 – 108 AGENCY strengthens its Slovakian branch and receives the award for Best Warehouse Power Broker Team at the CIJ Awards. Surpasses 200,000 sq m of leased space.
2017 – the company surpasses 350,000 sq m of leased space, the awards start rolling in: Best Warehouse Power Broker Team and Best Warehouse Lease (both at the CIJ Awards)
2018 – BigBox Locator (bigboxlocator.com) is established. The unique project WarehouseBid is introduced.
2019 – award for Best Warehouse Power Broker Team at the prestigious HOF AwardsBack