Olly Olsen is a co-founder and co-CEO of TOG, one of the largest privately owned occupiers of office space in London. The company currently has 40 buildings and is expanding domestically alongside plans for international growth.
They launched TOG in 2003, each investing £100,000 of their own money and backed by the equity firm Bridges Ventures — which would invest £12m over seven years.
Their strategy was simple. They would buy buildings rather than rent them, which meant cheaper monthly outgoings — and they would pass the saving on to tenants by charging less rent. Interiors would be both considered and stylish, with tenants’ logos given pride of place, and there would be relaxed communal areas where people could hold meetings for free and connect with other businesses in their building. This new way of working, in flexible shared space, became known as co-working.
By 2010, TOG owned six buildings and were leasing a seventh. That year, the Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman bought Bridges Ventures’ stake, valuing TOG at £43m. He became chairman and helped TOG add another 17 properties before they sold a majority stake to the US private-equity giant Blackstone, valuing TOG at £500m in June 2017. Green and Olsen retain as Co CEO’s.
“Charlie and I have shared an office from day one,” says Olsen. “The moment we don’t share an office is the moment the business breaks. Our partnership is the blood that runs through the veins of TOG.”