Think Research Corporation, a leading digital health technology provider, has an ambitious mission: to organize the world’s health knowledge so everyone gets the best care. The Toronto-based company believes that health care systems around the world are on the brink of profound change and has positioned itself as a cloud-based provider of tools and aggregated knowledge helping to standardize and improve the quality of care. Changing the face of global health care requires vision, expertise, and passion. And it requires a great space.In 2018, Think Research partnered with Colliers’ Matthew Johnson and David Hoffman to discuss their current and future office needs. As their current office space was headed for demolition due to a construction of a 46-storey tower, the leaders of Think Research needed to make a move quickly. News of the demolition was timely: in the past year, Think Research grew by employees and had outgrown their current space. The company was also well funded for expansion, supported by a $25 million capital raise secured in 2018, one of the largest of its kind for a Canadian health care technology firm.
The team had great affection for their 156 Front Street West office but due to rapid growth, they had simply outgrown the space. “The space felt like a start-up place, and everyone felt it was too crowded. We grew larger by the day and expanded from one floor into another and kept on taking on more space, thus segregating and dividing up our teams,” said Chief Operating Officer Joanna Carroll. The lack of space was most acutely felt during the company’s weekly huddle, an all-company gathering, which proved increasingly difficult to hold in the space as the company grew.
Following a thorough review of the marketplace, planned developments, Toronto’s transit and transportation plans, and Think Research’s culture and stakeholder demographics, the Colliers team presented The Shift, a new development at 25 Ontario Street. As a SMART-enabled building, Think could incorporate significant branding as the lead tenant and benefit from the strategic location within the thriving King East neighbourhood to attract and retain top talent.
The multi-layered lease transaction plan included a full market review, including off-market opportunities, short-term and the final move as the lead tenant at The Shift once the building completes in 2022.
“We decided to go with the East end for our interim space as it had perfect accessibility, and it is an excellent building overall – we love welcoming our clients here – and getting involved in the local community. We value a highly collaborative culture at Think, we like to come together and brainstorm, and come up with creative solutions – and the space supports this well,” said Chief Executive Officer Sachin Aggarwal.
While their new office is under construction, Think Research will occupy approximately 35,000 SF at The Globe and Mail Centre at 351 King Street East as their interim space. “We needed a temporary home while waiting for 25 Ontario to be built, so our Colliers advisors worked out a sublet space for us. We decided it will be a perfect interim space as we will have already moved to the East end even before occupying 25 Ontario,” continued Aggarwal.
The office at 351 King East is open and inviting with natural light streaming through the windows that surround the space. Although it is the interim space, Think Research says it doesn’t feel temporary or transitive. “We saw a number of other spaces and none of them were right - they were full of workstations, all chopped up and segregated – it’s not something that is in our DNA and it’s not how we would like to see ourselves in the future,” says Carroll. The new space has sufficient room to hold client meetings, to collaborate, and the weekly huddle is now held in an open environment, large enough to accommodate Think’s growing family.
Think Research wanted to ensure their unique culture didn’t get lost in the move: every quarter they create a new theme that motivates and inspires teams to do and be their best. One quarter the theme may be Harry Potter, the next, the Avengers, with characters’ cutouts standing guard around the office. Brightly-painted cartoon walls decorate each meeting room in the office; and the ping pong room, considerately built with sound-proof, fully-closing doors, holds regular tournaments with several of the employees boasting company-wide champion titles. Think looks forward to customizing its new space, too.
“Everyone is excited about our next move to 25 Ontario – not only because it is across the street from our current space, but because they are excited to have the chance to design the space and put their mark on our new home,” said Aggarwal.
Carroll notes that culture is of the utmost importance to the company, “At Think, we live by a set of values, one of which is never losing the start-up spirit – no matter how fancy, decorated or extensive our new homes will be, we will never forget from where we came.”