JuuNoo CEO Chris Van de Voorde talks about his startup, movable walls and the future of office spaces.
Please tell us about the story behind JuuNoo : How did you start the company and what is your vision ?
We started four years ago with a specific goal in mind : to create sustainable walls.
In Europe, many walls are destroyed after a few years of use. It’s a huge waste, and we wanted to fix that problem.
So we started JuuNoo. And since then, we deliver aesthetic and movable walls at a competitive price.
We believe that the construction industry must be flexible and sustainable : and that’s what JuuNoo offers.
As for our clients, we mainly target office spaces.
What are the advantages of JuuNoo as opposed to other systems ?
There are many advantages :
- We can build seven times faster than with traditionnal walls.
- It’s sustainable
- It’s financially more interesting
- And we offer a more comprehensive solution as opposed to other systems on the market :
Indeed, Drywalls are great but they aren’t sustainable. Office-system walls can be moved but they don’t look great. At JuuNoo, we offer the best of both worlds : good-looking and sustainable walls that you can arrange at your convenience.
What can you tell us about the real estate market right now ? How does your expansion fit into it ?
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the market. There are fewer people working in the offices; and, at the same time, more who are working remotely. Many offices ended up empty ; and we were able to observe a gradual shift towards smaller places.
So the demand for ready-to-go office spaces has increased significantly. People want flexible spaces that can be adapted to their needs. They also want to be able to move in quickly.
The epidemic has accelerated these trends and this will only increase over time. How we work, how we live, will be profoundly changed in the years to come. So you have to be flexible and ready to adapt.
What are your current and future plans within the Belgian ecosystem ?
We want to expand JuuNoo to its maximum capacity: that means talking to clients, partners, etc, and present our project to them. We offer advantages that can be integrated into other very interesting projects: so it’s an added value for the customers.
Can you enlighten readers about the company’s’ ongoing partnerships (e.g. Knoopwerk) ? How has the overall response and experience been for the team ?
We are an open company, whose success is based on team and collective work.
Knoopwerk [producer of a modular wood building system] is a very interesting system, and the combination of our two offers has resulted in a “win-win” situation : so the customers are happy, and so are we.
With Knoopwerk, we launched the “productivity box” concept [you can find the link to the website here] : it is a customized cell whose goal is to boost workers productivity. Moreover, the box is perfectly acoustically insulated, easily movable and sustainable.
What were (some of) the biggest challenges you have faced ?
When we started, just like any other startup, we had to overcome two main challenges :
First, it was about finding the right price – which wasn’t easy – and then convincing customers to trust us. We have worked tirelessly to this end. And, with time, we have managed to overcome it.
And finally, what does the future hold for your company?
We are looking into scaling internationally : in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and even New York…