A new type of office space.
- Letchworth Garden City, United Kingdom
Categories: Property Non-Digital B2C
The way we work is changing - creating an opportunity for "workspace supermarkets" - offering all sorts of different working spaces under one roof. NearDesk managed a temporary location to test its software and discovered this need alongside the need for ad-hoc "hourly" access to space that NearDesk addresses.
NearDesk's plan was to briefly operate a few sites for testing (before shutting them). But to avoid any confusion between the technology and operating aspects of NearDesk, we have now decided to spin this out into "DeskLodge".
Desklodge would therefore be free to explore opportunities to operate locations and own property. There are no specific plans yet beyond operating a single short-term location.
NearDesk and DeskLodge are complementary and both aim to support the changes in working practice. NearDesk would be a technology company with no property interests expected. DeskLodge would be an operating company and would own no IP beyond its own brand.
It would allow small companies to work more collaboratively with other companies and to grow much more flexibly with lower costs - only paying for the space at their "head-office" that they need.
Substantial accomplishments to date
* NearDesk operated a 5,000 sq ft location at London Bridge from July-December 2012 on behalf of a property company
* We have 15 monthly users from London Bridge who may come with us
* We have identified location at Kings Cross and have a draft lease
* We have agreed a deal with NearDesk to acquire the furniture and any goodwill with regards monthly usage from London Bridge in return for providing them with a year of free office space
* Company also owns mobile boardroom "All Aboardroom" which was used by Peter Jones with Sport Relief - but has not yet been launched.
Renting workspace in a variety of flexible ways.
These may include:
- Private offices
- Fixed desks in open-plan areas
- Unlimited hot-desking access to desks / hub / lounge areas
- Ad-hoc hourly usage (using NearDesk)
- Meeting rooms and event spaces.
These would all be actively managed and supported with coffee, social networking, IT support as core parts of the offering.
We would try and start geographies with a discounted short-term lease. IF we decide to become a property company, we would later take longer term commitments. DeskLodge does not own any IP around flexible workspace. Any IP created that has been created would be owned by NearDesk. This is purely for the operating company which would operate the test location for NearDesk - and hopefully find future opportunities to build that business.
NOTE: Tom Ball (Founder) is focused on NearDesk - a technology firm building an ecosystem. He hopes to find a management team to spin DeskLodge out and turn it into a separate company. DeskLodge is not planning to register with EIS - so would be able to do property related deals.
Use of proceeds
Refurbishing our first location - which should fund any future locations.
Initially freelancers and small companies.
Especially companies wanting community and flexible space (for example to allow rapid fluctuating demand - with 20 staff needing space one day and 10 the next).
Our first location, Kings Cross, we feel is perfect for start-ups wanting quick access to Old Street (Centre of Tech community) and the West-End.
Characteristics of target market
3.7 million people now work at home part of their week. But home working can be lonely and not suitable for all, leading to the growth of hubs and business centres to enable hot-desk working in professional shared workspaces.
Our research shows there are now 2,000 business centres and at least 129 UK work hubs (up from just 24 in 2008). The market is still very fragmented; the largest, best known provider has 160 UK business centres. Similar trends are happening globally.
In our opinion property is one of the largest costs for many companies – and the cost and stress of commuting artificially increase the salaries commanded by talented staff.
Technology now allows flexible working – combining time in the office with home, coffee-shops and flexible work hubs. With 100 million square feet empty in the UK, we believe the trend will continue from 25 year to 3 month to hourly leases. UK Government plans to start hot-desking to reduce their £25bn/year property costs with an “8 desks for 10 staff” guideline.
Our initial Marketing Strategy is to host events.
We would be an active member of the NearDesk network
- on exactly the same basis as other companies.
- Ad-hoc, hourly usage would be managed using NearDesk cards
- Longer term monthly residents would be invoiced directly paying any introduction fees on standard terms.
We would also list our space with other commercial property advertising sites.
The layout would differ from most traditional office centres by offering more variety of spaces - and a more mixed layout - with hot-desks and lounge areas very close to fixed offices. We would expect to use more windows into fixed offices to promote community.
For example a ten person company may choose to have a 4 person private office using nearby hot-desking.
They would also use their NearDesk cards to work at other non-DeskLodge sites near their home or when travelling (Earning the standard 5% commission when they did so).
Likewise, DeskLodge would obviously welcome travelling NearDesk card holders (Receiving the standard 87% of their spend when they did).
We would expect to test new geographies (for example with a short-term / revenue lease) before committing to longer-term leases.
We may explore partnerships to operate space with property owners.