On 4th Jan 2018, we went live with our product aCubeNow™. It is the first of its kind platform for Co-working spaces to Manage Infrastructure, Assets, Event Management, Issue Management and Communicate with their members.
But first, let me take you thru how this journey began.
In 2015, when I started my journey as an entrepreneur, I was working out of a Co-working space. One evening (around 7 PM), I wanted to use a conference room. Since it was late, the Admin had left for the day. Coming from a corporate culture, my fingers automatically went to the directory to find a meeting room (in this case a printed postcard with room listings). 10 minutes after walking into a conference room another team came knocking saying they had blocked it earlier. How did they do it? Apparently, Admin had a book and we were supposed to send an email requesting her to block any room.
A couple of days later, I wanted to print something but the printer was not working. I walked up to the admin to discuss the same. She asked me to send an email copying Community Manager about the issue and they would consider this later.
An upscale Co-working space that hosts people buzzing with futuristic ideas; yet here the administrative tasks were as manual as they can get. This intrigued me. I spoke to the Community Manager inquiring if there are any better ways of dealing with this kind of problems and he said that they were working on it and evaluating co-working ERP platforms which could help better manage the space. Wanting to know more, I went online to research myself and found just a couple of them – Nexedus, CoWork.io etc. I started going into the details of how Co-working spaces manage their space. Since the market is at a very nascent stage and was still evolving, not many options were available. Speaking to the General Manager of the Co-working space, I realized that there are no platforms which can handle automating the Co-working space. This was the genesis of the idea.
Conceptualizing the idea
Being an Entrepreneur Evangelist over the last decade, I wanted to understand the problem and see if this problem really exists and is worth solving. The next couple of months, I met Co-working space owners/Community Managers and understood how they managed things at their end. Most of them had their own ways of addressing their member concerns, mostly manually. Few large organizations have Intranet pages where they can book a meeting room and log any issue they face. Mostly, manual. Before I decided this is a good problem to solve, I wanted to understand the market size, trends and the future of Co-working.
The market for Co-working spaces has been growing at an Annual Compounded Growth Rate (ACGR) of 23.8% since 2014. Members are growing at a CAGR of 41%. These are good numbers considering it is just the beginning.
According to real estate firm JLL, Co-Working spaces is only 0.7% of the total office spaces in the US. Small Business Labs predicts that there will be a 77% increase of members for Co-working spaces by 2020.
When you put the Co-working spaces in perspective to India, we have had less than 10 Co-Working spaces before 2014. Today, India boasts of more than 400 Co-working spaces and more than 1000 Co-working spaces by 2020. In the last six months of my personal research and encounters with Co-working space owners and members, the numbers look small and the business models are also evolving constantly.
Designing the Solution
First, I designed questionnaires which got me information of what Co-Working spaces look for when they open to business and members expectations. Then I went to coffee shops where small teams work and asked them why they were not using Co-working spaces and instead of working in a noisy environment. The results from both these approaches have been quite interesting.
What the users were looking for and what the Co-working spaces were providing actually mapped. However, what did not match was how it was being communicated. It appeared they were operating with different words and different scenarios. I compiled my findings and segregated the results based on the commonality.
Using the thinkStrategy™framework, I started designing the solution. The thinkStrategy™framework helps design solutions keeping the prospective user at the center. This is called the Member Centric Architecture.
aCubeNow™ is a platform for Co-working spaces to engage with their members, provide the ability to instantly book infrastructure, log issues/concerns and to easily find the next engaging events happening around to attend.
For the Co-working space, the aCubeNow™ platform helps in managing infrastructure, mapping assets to their members, central repository of issue’s and turn-around-time to address them and most of all, making it easy for members to reach out to them when they need.
The iOS/Android mobile apps connect members with the Co-working space. There is no need for the member to get onto a website, log in and then find what they are looking for. Everything is available at their fingertips.
We also wish to connect with non-members to keep them posted on events and happening in the Co-working domain. So, if you are not a Co-working space member, you can still download our app, register and keep track of our news and also find a Co-working space near you in our Directory of our Partners.
If you are a Co-working space, allow us to partner with you to provide a seamless experience for your members. We have the monthly subscription model and our annual partner model. Best of all, we have a 30 day no frills refund policy. If you are not happy, you get a complete refund, but we are sure, if you start using the platform, you would only ask yourself “Why was this not there earlier?”.