NearDesk Chooses Seedrs for Its Crowdfunding Campaign: When Commuting Every Day to Work Does Not Make Sense

Near Desk Working

Looking for a quiet place to write, code or think?  Tired of meeting at pubs, cafes or Starbucks? Tired of commuting? Bored of working at home?  Feeling isolated?  London-based NearDesk offers much-needed solutions to these dilemmas by letting its members touch-in, touch-out and rent desk and meeting space by the hour at different locations all around the UK.  Clients need only pay for the time spent with a convenient card, with a single monthly invoice issued per company.

tom ballTo date, 256 investors agree that NearDesk’s vision is the future.  With more than £575K quickly raised on its Seedrs’ equity crowdfunding campaign, NearDesk has secured more than 95.9% of its goal for its offered 14.88% equity with 39 days remaining.  Many backers are aligned with Cambridge-educated CEO and Founder Tom Ball’s assessment, “Commuting every day to work does not make sense.”

As a result of its initial £184,500 seed funding via Seedrs,  NearDesk is not only now live, but also conducting a larger growth funding round. The equity percentage shown is, like all other campaigns on Seedrs, fully-diluted including a 10% option pool for staff.

Near Desk LogoChecking out DeskLodge on NearDesk’s website gives members and potential members a sense of the flexibility and working options available with NearDesk’s simple billing via card.  Boardrooms for ten, interview rooms for three and a meeting cluster for four were available when I recently checked the site.  Office photos, hourly and daily costs, and  brief descriptions make the decision easier for members, for example, if a whiteboards, televisions or catering facilities are required for an intended meeting.

Proposed advantages of NearDesk are found highlighted on Seedrs:

  • Working near home would significantly reduce the time, stress and pollution associated with daily commuting.
  • Reducing company costs by cutting empty desks whilst retaining and attracting great people (Average Central London Workstation: £12,400/year).
  • Saving a hundred million hours of commuting each year
  • Creating a less stressed, more productive work force
  • Enabling more dynamic, more profitable companies
  • Building more vibrant communities with people able to shop on their high streets
  • Reducing carbon from commuting (according to research carried out by O2, 52% of their carbon emissions came from staff getting to work each day).

NearDesk LocationThe funding proceeds from this crowdfunding round will not only cover salaries and developer costs, but also focus on NearDesk’s clear revenue model which aims to obtain:

More users:

  • Enact Tertiary Marketing Strategy (Partners, Corporate, Viral)
  • Four new hires focused on user acquisition via partnerships
  • Technology and tools to support this

More locations

  • New hire focused on location recruitment and support
  • Letting locations add/manage their own profile
  • Using demand mapping of users to focus NearDesk’s efforts

More usage:

  • Emails and social media to encourage members to become active users and advocates

Faster development:

  • Growing the development / technical support team from two to six
  • In particular, creating mobile apps and specific features for partnerships

Furthermore, in order to maximize scalability and reduce the need for NearDesk to hire staff,  NearDesk plans to let stakeholders (such as Employers, Locations and Affiliates) manage their own profiles.

NearDesk also hopes to beat current and future competitors such as coffee shops, YourWorkspaces, LiquidSpace, HandyForWork, WorkSnug, ShareDesk, through a combination of:

  • Using revenue sharing business model to partner with networks, locations and search sites
  • Building better technology to give a better user experience and create loyalty
  • Focusing on the UK market initially and then expanding overseas from a strong base.

NearDesk’s own experience suggests that a “pay as you go” service which does not require pre-booking or paying only for full days would be very useful.

Lastly,  NearDesk’s Q & A column on Seedrs has incurred some buzz in the last weeks regarding potential partnerships.

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