This Startup Connects Digital Nomads & Freelancers with Workspaces
With the rise of co-working spaces and entrepreneurial hubs around the globe, today’s entrepreneurs and freelancers don’t necessarily have to get stuck in one place – they have a wide choice of opportunities to travel the world and work wherever they are.
To support the strongest office trend of our times – mobility – a startup team based in Poznan created DESK.WORKS. With DESK.WORKS, you can forget about inconvenience of working in cafe and other noisy places when traveling. DESK.WORKS not only provides an easy way to search and book workspace wherever you are, but also allows you to meet like-minded individuals who share the same passions and interests.
Magazine MN caught up with Marta Kabsch, responsible for business development at DESK.WORKS, to talk about how it got started, how it works and DESK.WORKS’ plans for the future.
Magazine MN: Tell us more about DESK.WORKS. What is its mission? What problem does it solve?
Marta: DESK.WORKS is a mobile app that allows booking temporary workspaces worldwide. It’s like Airbnb, but instead of a place to sleep, you search and book places to work from. The number of people with location-independent jobs is increasing rapidly. There is a large group of people who turned it into a lifestyle: digital nomads. We observed that they often end up working from cafes or hotels - where Internet connection is shitty, there are lots of different distractions and the chairs are uncomfortable. Obviously, the solution for that is co-working spaces.
A global survey conducted recently by deskmag’s team shows that the numbers are crazy: there are over 7000 co-working offices worldwide at the moment. All these places are ready to welcome digital nomads and all location-free workers with open arms. But these people find it annoying enough to look for a new office every time they visit a new city. It takes at least from 30 minutes to an hour to google for co-workings, check their images and prices, contact the managers to book a desk, etc. Lots of the nomads don’t want to be bothered by that. And, as a result, they end up at Starbucks. These problems inspired the creation of DESK.WORKS. Finding a great place to work, booking, payments – all of that can be done in a few clicks.
Magazine MN: Who is DESK.WORKS aimed at? How does it work?
Marta: As I mentioned above – this is a tool for all location-independent workers. Digital nomads of any kind: web and software developers, graphic and UX designers, writers, translators, journalists, bloggers, photographers, filmmakers, startuppers, business analysts, virtual assistants. The number of people with such professions is constantly growing. So-called “generation Y” names flexibility as one of the most important factors when choosing a job. More and more people choose self-employment over contracted 9-to-5 positions. They want freedom and independence. This is the group we’ve had in mind when creating DESK.WORKS.
DESK.WORKS app can be downloaded for free from App Store and Google Play. New users can register or sign in through their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. If they enable their location information immediately after signing in, they will see the closest office locations. After choosing the most convenient and coolest co-working, they can book a desk and pay for it directly through the app.
DESK.WORKS users can pay for every single booking (20 USD per day) or buy DESK.WORKS monthly subscription (390 USD per month). Monthly subscription allows to book different desks in available location every day for a month.
Office owners, who offer their desks on DESK.WORKS, can post their ads using the mobile app or through the web platform. We made this entire process as simple as possible.
Magazine MN: Can you describe DESK.WORKS’ business model?
Marta: It’s simple: commissions!
Magazine MN: What type of workspaces do you partner with? Where are they located?
Marta: Our project is global, so from the very launch of our app desks in over 50 countries have been available. Now these numbers are even higher.
Our partners are the co-working spaces, but also start-ups, incubators, and different types of creative spaces. One free desk is enough to join.
We cover the top start-up and business cities and locations such as Berlin, Munich, London, New York, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Seoul, and also some awesome places where you can combine work with vacation: Egypt, Thailand, South Africa to name a few. Our goal is to be basically everywhere and we’re getting there step by step every day.
Magazine MN: What will be the next milestone for DESK.WORKS?
Marta: I could talk about our plans for hours! But here are a few ones for the nearest future: we’re starting an inspiration platform for digital nomads, where we’ll be sharing some interesting insights about digital nomads’ lifestyle, travel tips, stories of our members and partners, discussions about the issues digital nomads face when traveling and more. We’re working on opening our own first demo space, but I can’t reveal the details now. And, of course, there are lots of updates to the app itself to come. We’re working hard every day to make our product better and more convenient for our members.
Magazine MN: Tell us a bit about the team behind DESK.WORKS.
Marta: We’re all different, but equally crazy. Our founder and business dev, Waldemar Ariel, is the only one of us with start-up background. He’s been a part of Berlin startup scene for years.
The rest of us were doing different stuff. Piotr, our partnerships’ leader, was working for different cultural institutions. Klaudia, our project manager, was responsible for coordinating a few big projects funded from EU-grants (yes, she’s a master of the formalities!). Magda, our graphic and UX designer, is an engineer by education. I was a project and communication manager at contemporary art institution before I joined DESK.WORKS. At DESK.WORKS, I’m in charge of the organization, and partly branding and product design. And that’s only the core team. We also have quite a few more awesome people working on making our workspace revolution real!
Magazine MN: Is DESK.WORKS self-funded? Do you plan to raise funds?
Marta: We’ve basically closed the seed stage and we’ve done it using our own funds. We’re entering an early stage and starting to look for investors who will get as excited as we are about our product and see the great potential of the market we’re fascinated with.
Magazine MN: How can readers get in touch with you?
Marta: Please visit our website www.desk.works or our social media profiles. But first download our app and let us know what you think!
by Natalie Myhalnytska
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