Flexible working is pushing the established space management market into new territory. The $5bn coworking start up, WeWork, has shown the mega-business potential within a supposed ‘niche’ market segment. Their model is to lease large buildings and then through memberships and flexible terms rent space out these spaces in micro, desk size pieces. Where they have excelled is in using great design in prominent locations, offering whole new levels of services, technology and actively working to grow a culture that everyone from distributed teams, solopreneurs and cutting edge startups are happy to be a part of — free beer & tequila certainly helps this!
The shift in the world of workspaces is great for the consumer as they can start out with the low overheads of a single desk and can incrementally stretch their workspace needs to accommodate a growing team. The problem with this model for the venue, is that greater flexibility and higher space turnaround drastically increases complexity. Whilst a spreadsheet, a shared calendar and a sharp administrator can be amazingly effective there comes a point where dedicated technology becomes essential for coping with the sheer complexity of flexibility.
We’ve all seen how technology is transforming every industry and in space management there currently are no dominant forces or winning solutions. There are incomplete, or over-complex or legacy solutions out there. But they lack the flexibility to cater for workplace trends and the opportunities created by fully embracing the internet. Hubs like WeWork and Regus know the value of being tech enabled, but had to heavily invest in building their own tools to operate with their own business logic and processes.
John Spencer, CEO Regus, states in the excellent Six Key Workplace Trends article that independents are still the dominant force in the marketplace, making up some 90% of business centres globally. We built Habu to be that tech enabled platform that serves the 90% — we use some of the most cutting edge technologies to not only support the diversity and internal needs of these hubs but offer consumer integrations at a level that brings enormous competitive advance to our uses. We call this a B2B+C model.