This Week In Coworking: #38, 2021

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This week we see 3 more shifts into rural coworking, a hub in no man's land, AI burrito kiosks, an opportunity in self-storage, hybrid-enabling tech updates, and a bunch more stories and discussions.

πŸŽ‰ Coworking celebrations.

πŸŽ‚ Creative Blueprint turned 15!

To celebrate 15 years of supporting and mentoring coworking operators and change makers, Ashley Proctor (Founder of Creative Blueprint) is co-hosting a Coworking clubhouse celebration (with Shervonne Cherry) called “The Future of Work has arrived – let’s celebrate!”. All are welcome to join and reflect on our accomplishments, celebrate some coworking industry milestones, and discuss what we all still hope to achieve as a movement within these new hybrid work models.

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πŸ“° Coworking updates.

πŸ•Š Coworking hub pilot inside demilitarized zone seeks support.

Since 1974, the island of Cyprus has been divided by a demilitarized zone that spans 180km. This ‘dead zone’ also splits the capital city, Nicosia, in two.

The intercommunal team at CyprusInno have been using entrepreneurship as a peace building mechanism since 2016, have converted a military container within this no man’s land into The Base a coworking, accelerator and community space for both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

They’re now raising just $5,000 in donations via GlobalGivingΒ to sustain a full year’s operation of this important pilot project. h/t Panis Pieri for sharing.

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πŸ₯— Burrito bowl takeout stations coming next?

An expanded pilot has been announced between Freebirds World Burrito and Now Cuisine to bring on-demand burrito bowls to more offices and multi-family locations in Dallas-Fort Worth. The latter develops “miniaturized, fully automated robotic kitchens that provide healthy restaurant-quality meals around the clock”.

Given the footfall, and everyday spending power, of coworking and flex workspace communities – I have seen many experiments around bringing convenient & affordable food options into these hubs over the years, so I’m excited to see how this pilot plays out.

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πŸ’° A fintech unicorn pays for 300 person office in the US with bitcoin.

WeWork announced this week that the European fintech unicorn Revolut are paying for their largest US office (in Dallas) via Bitcoin. This follows the latter’s transition to permanent ‘RevLabs‘ flex workspace strategy. The Dallas workspace can host up to 300 employees, who can pick whether and when they want to work from home, these distributed ‘labs’ or come into the HQs.

Whilst this transaction and the PR around it, can certainly be seen as a marketing ‘stunt’ – it does highlight the crypto + coworking trend I’m seeing popping up more and more across the coworking industry, most recently in the podcast discussion shared in TWIC16/21.

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πŸ€— On re-establishing & strengthening ‘weak ties’.

Radius coworking shared an insightful post about the binding power of β€œweak ties” (the interactions with the people we β€œkind of know”) and how coworking spaces & their members can work on re-establishing and strengthening them as folks return to workspaces in greater numbers.

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🀩 What we can learn from Mid-Atlantic coworking spaces.

Michael Abrams shares a post by Stephen Babcock that looks into how coworking spaces in the Mid-Atlantic US are thriving thanks to their focus on serving their communities first, and second.

The post features insights and comments gathered from Rebecca Parsons at The Mill, Shervonne Cherry & Maggie Terhune from Spark Coworking, Charlotte Lee from 76 Forward, Mike Madden from Avenu, Colin Dean from Code & Supply, William Toms & David Silver from REC Philly, and John Heinz from Cambridge Innovation Center.

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πŸ₯… CRE owners need to shift into the offensive, or be left behind.

Jacob Bates from JLL Flex shares a post around why more and more companies are piloting hybrid working, commenting that for far too long CRE owners have played defensively. Given that occupiers (ie tenants) are leading the charge through innovation, these office space owners will need to shift gears (to putting people first) if they want to thrive, let alone survive.

Increasingly a good time to explore partnerships with landlords if you ask me.Β 

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πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ New ‘handpicked’ network of indie operators launching soon.

Adam Blaskey shares an early glimpse into Catalyst, a new platform and network coming soon. The post mentions that they handpick flexible workspaces which they “know can deliver the solutions that growing businesses need”.

As a huge fan of both indie operators and the benefits of alliances, I’m excited to see how this rolls out.

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πŸ’» Coworking technology.

πŸ•’ Google adds work location to help make scheduling easier.

Google Workspace (prev. Google Suite) has added a hybrid-work focussed setting to Google Calendar.

This was spotted & shared by Brett Hartle from Upflex, who also points as something I’ve shared and we’ve discussed often in our calls… that on-demand workspace discovery and instant bookings will become embedded inside or alongside the tools used by millions of workers every single day, opening entirely new markets of workspace users.

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✌️ Popular coworking management system gets two-way automations.

Nexudus‘ upgraded Syncaroo integration now offers two-way syncing and automations with a growing number of lead generation, marketing and sales platforms or services.

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πŸ’Έ On strategic investments in property technology.

Glenn Felson takes a thorough look at one of CRE’s most well known strategic investors in property technology (or proptech), JLL.

With 4.6B sf under management, their impact can quickly surpass the dollar amount signed over, whilst also bolstering their value to the 3rd parties who own the assets under management.

In this newsletter, we read insights from Raj Singh, the Managing Partner of JLL Spark, the firm’s $100M tech fund.

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πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ UK workspace platform introduces monthly subscription.

Tally Market announced the launch of β€˜first free visit’ which provides subscribers with 40+ free day passes for just Β£10 per user per month. Aimed at those individuals and teams that want to try out different venues before finding their favourite(s).

Along with the first-time-free offering, the monthly subscription packs other benefits for members and their employers like a 17% discount on token purchases (used for making bookings), team management with budget setting, and access to dedicated account managers.

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πŸ” Popular access control co introduces sleek new reader.

Alberto Di Risio shares that Kisi have rolled out a brand new access control reader, designed from the ground-up to be sleek, touchless, fast and secure. It also packs a bunch of features that make setting up, and migrating access over even easier.

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πŸ“ˆ Coworking data.

πŸ“‰ International travel 2020 decline translates to $1.1T loss.

This graph shows the biggest dips in GDP from international travel, as numbers neared 1990 levels. With all that lost revenue, it’s no surprise that governments and private orgs are looking into boosting domestic tourism, local entrepreneurship and rural business hubs.

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🀝 Coworking market moves.

πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ Berlin coworking pioneers eye rural expansion.

Ansgar Oberholz from St. Oberholz, mentions in this article that they’re looking to expand into rural towns.Β 

Projects are mentioned in Brandenburg which has a population of under 75k*, Mecklenburg with a population of 1.6M* and Biesenthal with a population of under 6,000. This expansion sits alongside the opening of their 5th cafΓ© in November 2021. *Via Eurostats from 2019.

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πŸ›’ Firm raises $1.1M to bring coworking into more UK towns.

Mike Butcher shares in Techcrunch that Patch, which takes empty local high street shops and turns them into β€œcollaborative cultural spaces” has raised $1.1M to offer an alternative to commuting into the big cities.

There’s been some rapid growth of firms activating rural space in the UK including TownSq who ran the #BootTheCommute campaign back in week 37 of 2020. h/t Liz Elam for sharing.

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πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Individually branded coworking platforms eyes rural spaces too.

The Spacemade team also announced a move into rural spaces and joining the ‘neighbourhood office gold rush’. Dan Silverman chats with Alex Daniel about the move, new partners and the research that led them to make this call. (Article link paywalled.)

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πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬ Singaporean coworking firm hints at “unprecedented deals” & IPO.

Kong Wan Sing, CEO at JustCo, appeared on CNBC’s Street Signs Asia, sharing an interesting glimpse of their year to date and their future plans.

Whilst they do mention that they’re seeing huge demand, and that they’re well capitalized and continued to grow during lockdowns, a possible IPO or new fundraise is also hinted at.

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🎟 German early-stage investor drops their own coworking space.

Joerg Rheinboldt from APX (an early-stage accelerator and VC investor) have announced that they’re dropping both, their in-house coworking space and their requirement for portfolio companies to co/re-locate to their Berlin offices.

They list a lot of great reasons for this (like better deal flow, safety, and less overheads) but I have to believe that increasingly efficient access to global workspaces plays a big part in this decision. I believe we’ll see more VC’s opt for ‘passes over hosting’ workspace and meeting with portfolio companies.

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πŸ›Œ Real estate firm tucks into short-term rentals market.

If you’ll allow me to step a little further adjacent to coworking than normal, into the world of short-term accommodation, we see that JLL is launching ‘JLL Short Stays‘ a platform to compete with the likes of Airbnb.

Karl Tomusk reports for PlaceTech that the platform is in partnership with Lavanda (a strategy we’ve seen this firm take before) and is launching in the UK first with 1,000 homes. They aim to expand to 35k homes globally next year.

I have to think that by offering fully managed accommodation from 3 nights to 12 months, it’s logical that this could very quickly be paired up with office/coworking access for remote or travelling workers and teams.

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πŸ“¦ Growing opportunity: Self-storage + coworking?

Katharine Lau, now co-founder at Stuf and prev. at Industrious, shares a story from The New York Times, that highlights the growing opportunity around self storage, as well as some of the limitations and risks around the business model.

What’s interesting here, is how and where the overlap between storage and coworking will become a profitable opportunity. We’re already seeing bag storage, peer-to-peer storage offerings and more being experimented with by some coworking operators.

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πŸŽ™ Coworking conversations.

Jean-Yves Huwart chats with Gamedy Mbaye about Vibration Workshare, an independent multi-location coworking operator operating in small towns in Switzerland.

🎧 Listen to this

Frank Cottle chats with Clint Robinson, CEO at workspace management & tenant experience platform Lane, about one of the major problems in the ecosystem of the workplace – that everything is still very disconnected and very fragmented.

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Elisabeth Riemann chats with Lone Aggersbjerg from Tink Tank coworking about the people, the community, and how working models are evolving to suit our changing attitudes to where we live and work.

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Caleb Parker chats with Nella Pang from OmegaRE about growing the economy through flex & hybrid working.

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Jamie Russo chats with Adam Ramsay and Zach Cox, of Workspace Collective about how they use their sales experience to fill desks and support their members.

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πŸ“† Coworking events.

πŸ“Έ Coworking + instagram Convo.

Sep 24. Coworking Convo dives into how coworking spaces can use Instagram to grow their memberships and revenues.

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πŸ—½ GCUC is back in NYC (and online).

Sep 27-29. GCUC returns for a hybrid event, based in both NYC or virtually online.

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πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ September Coworking IDEA challenge discussion.

Sep 29. Join the Coworking IDEA discussion to run over what others did and learned from this month’s challenge.Β 

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πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί Rural Coworking across Europe.

Sep 30. The London Coworking Assembly are hosting a free event to discuss some of the challenges rural coworking space operators face -from finding (public) funding to the need to explain coworking and its value proposition all over again.

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πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Australian panel on flex space resilience.

Sep 30. Building Resilience in your Flexible Workspace by Flexible Workspace Australia.

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πŸ’Ό Coworking jobs.

Find or post coworking jobs for free here.

About TWIC

ThisWeekInCoworking.com is a weekly newsletter summarizing the coworking celebrations, stories, market moves, tech updates and discussions you may have missed.

It’s curated by Hector Kolonas and available for free via email or this website with topics and trends being discussed Fridays on Clubhouse at 10:30am Eastern.

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