“When it comes to service providers, we listen to our community at specific stages in their journey. Due to the fact that Techspace is a curated community of high-growth technology companies, the partnerships we enter into necessarily can add more value to our members.”
Insightive.tv: How would you classify your workspace —coworking or traditional office suites?
Philip: We have elements of both. There are memberships for growth businesses at seed stage and beyond. In our experience, when companies reach 20 employees, they typically want to move into their own space. To a degree, private offices can offer the right kind of product for these companies. However, the challenge for many companies comes in the growth phase beyond Series A — particularly in London. During this phase, high growth companies with 30+ employees need a space which can scale with their growth requirements, which is where the traditional lease falls down. At Techspace, we have developed an enterprise product specifically designed for scale-up teams in this phase, offering self-contained floor plates on flexible terms. This membership plan now accounts for about 80% of our business. Because of this, it would be hard to classify us as coworking, instead, we’re a bit of a blend — we have 3 memberships for growth businesses, fixed desks, private offices and enterprise solutions.
The pricing for our services is all-inclusive. Members get a desk, free meeting rooms and fully stocked kitchen. In June, we are also looking to incorporate an events space into one of our new locations. We provide frictionless and enriched workplace environments for our members and are committed to the principles of community and innovation which underpin all aspects of our business.
Insightive.tv: How do you expect the business to perform this year as compared to last?
Philip: Within the next six months, we are set to open two new buildings in London and one in Berlin. The Series A funding we secured in March of last year, along with the revenue from filling our existing spaces, has given us a runway to achieve an estimated twenty locations across Europe by 2019.
This year, we have expanded from seven people to twenty-four in order to prepare ourselves for our anticipated growth. We currently have five open locations totalling about 85,000 sq ft and we are running at roughly 90% occupancy. However, we expect to double our footprint over the next year.
Insightive.tv: What are the key market forces affecting your business?
Philip: Brexit has created market conditions that can be looked at both positively and negatively. On the supply side, Brexit has created a certain amount of uncertainty among landlords — which has resulted in some landlords dropping their prices. This should give all providers an opportunity to secure more properties in Central London. However, on the other hand, you could also argue that Brexit has reduced demand in London with many companies deciding to move to neighbouring European cities such as Dublin, Berlin, Paris and Lisbon. That, obviously, makes it harder to sell properties quickly as there is less immediate demand.
Insightive.tv: Do you put effort into fostering a community and engaging your tenants?
Philip: When it comes to service providers we listen to our community at specific stages in their journey. Due to the fact that Techspace is a curated community of high-growth technology companies, the partnerships we enter into necessarily can add more value to our members. For example, if hiring top talent is a problem — we can engage with a provider who will be able to supply a service that solves this problem across a large cross-section of the whole community.
Member-facing technology includes a Member App from where meeting rooms can be booked and notifications of Members’ Benefits are received. Part of this product follows a hyper-local strategy, enabling Techspace to create an integrated and networked community with local shops and cafes.
There is also a concierge component where Members are able to communicate to Front of House via the App or online to inform them of the imminent arrival of visitors so that they are well-received on arrival. This experience is enhanced by digital dynamic signage located on screens at the entrance to the building and on tablets at reception, facilitating a consistent and enhanced experience for Members’ visitors, and helps to showcase the techiness of the building, of Techspace, and of its members.
Philip Ellis is CCO at Techspace. After graduating with a degree in Advertising and Brand Communication, Phil found himself working at Techspace alongside Co-Founders David Galsworthy and Alex Rabarts. Realising the potential growth of the company, Phil took the opportunity to buy shares in the organisation. as the company grew, Philip worked his way up from General Manager into the C-suite role of CCO in 2015. During this time he has played an instrumental role facilitating the operation’s 30x growth over the last six years. We spoke with Philip to gain his insight on the developing coworking sector and understand how Techspace aims to capitalise on market disruptions and expand.
Techspace is a serviced office provider that is designed to help tech companies scale. With a range of service options from fixed-desks to full floor self-contained offices — all offered on flexible terms — Techspace has already grown rapidly across London and is set to expand into emerging tech clusters throughout Europe over the next 3 years. Founded in 2011, The Techspace community now encompasses over 1,000 people across 5 buildings in East London and is continuing to grow exponentially, with further locations opening in London and expansion to Berlin over 2017.
Part of THE FUTURE OF COMMERCIAL PROPERTY series
Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities An Inside View