From operating out of a living room to being among the top players on the market. 108 AGENCY celebrates its tenth anniversary
The crisis was coming, and Jakub Holec decided to start his own commercial real estate business out of his girlfriend’s living room. He wanted to exclusively serve Czech clients, and today his 108 AGENCY has more than 30 people and is a market leader specializing in the rental, sale, and management of commercial real estate.
108 is celebrating 10 years this autumn, and has moved out of the living room to sleek and modern offices in Prague’s Žižkov quarter, where the informal atmosphere is complemented by a number of works by leading Czech street artists. After commercial real estate, street art is the second hobby of Jakub Holec, the majority owner and visionary of the company. Today he is already planning to take over other markets with 108 AGENCY, especially those to the east of the Czech Republic. The fact that 108 has been growing by ten percent each year and has already exceeded a yearly turnover of 100 million crowns, is surely helping him achieve this goal.
Even though company already has a number of international awards under its belt – for example it won Best Warehouse Power Broker Team at the prestigious HOF Awards – it has always placed an emphasis on people, atmosphere, work results, and especially on not being corporate. When we add in their fair approach to clients, their pioneering mindset built on the idea that 108 AGENCY will always find a way, and their dynamic negotiations based on modern technology, it’s no wonder that 108 now accounts for more than a third of all industrial rentals brokered by agencies in the Czech republic.
“In 2009 the market was going through a major crisis, and this gave me a unique opportunity to build something new. So I left the corporate world because I knew that I wanted to do business differently, in my own way. A personal approach to clients and long-term partnerships eventually yielded results in the form of a successful consulting firm, which became 108 AGENCY as we know it today,” says Jakub Holec of his entrepreneurial beginnings. He always speaks very passionately about his business, as his name is incorporated in the name of the company. “J is the tenth letter of the alphabet, H is the eighth, so the name comes from my initials,” reveals Holec, who also found out over the years that 108 is a lucky number in Eastern teachings.
The next 10 years? Expansion abroad!
The team around Jakub Holec doesn’t rely on luck, but mainly on the aforementioned distinct approach to business. Preparations for further growth have already begun this year. People from 108 are now looking at expansion to Hungary, Romania, and Serbia is looking especially promising, as a branch will be established there soon. The goal of 108 AGENCY is to take over the CEE region in the years that follow. Of course, this 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. So the next ten years, even in the event of a crisis, will be a time of great abundance. And let’s not forget the happy ending – the girlfriend, who lent Jakub her living room, is now his wife and the mother of his three children!