“We want to power the entire industry,” said Mark Furness, CEO of essensys.
In an industry as large and geographically widespread as flexible workspace, which is accelerating with the expansion of existing operators, high profile mergers and the onboarding of new market entrants, that’s quite a bold statement.
But for Mark, such a statement isn’t taken lightly.
In an exclusive interview with Officing Today, Mark offered a fascinating insight into his company’s rapid growth and ambitious plans for the not-so-distant future.
Part of their objective is to be “in every flexible workspace building in the world” within the next five years.
“Think of it as a computer with an ‘Intel Inside’ sticker on it,” he said. “I want every flexible workspace building to be ‘Powered by essensys'”
For a company that’s well ensconced in the U.K., that would require a significant amount of global expansion. And as Mark revealed, that requirement is already well underway.
“JEFF has finally got his passport!” he said. “We’re setting up a new HQ in New York, a fantastic office in the shadow of the Empire States Building. We’ve got friends in the U.S. who have been asking for our products for quite some time, so our order book is already full.”
“We’re in the process of finalising our North American proposition, which has already been incredibly well received, with a fully live launch due later this year.”
Such an operation is vast, and requires significant investment in the form of local data centres, recruitment of skilled staff, and of course customer buy-in. As Mark explained, firm foundations are “absolutely integral”. And judging by their UK operation, the company is in excellent form to begin making their presence known overseas.
essensys employs 35 full-time software developers and ploughs over £2 million into research and development every year, in what resembles a Google Labs style set-up.
“I could have had a boat instead!” said Mark.
“But I’d rather build something cool and hugely valuable. This level of investment means we can be really agile and react quickly. We want to enable the industry, and that starts with listening to our clients. Most of our development projects are customer-led, so if they ask for something, we can turn it around pretty quickly.”
Automation, automation, automation
This approach forms one of Mark’s chief ambitions – to create a product that empowers its customers through automation and self-service.
“Our technology has the potential to automate everything. With JEFF, our clients’ requirements can be implemented immediately, be it faster internet access or a new WiFi connection. Looking further ahead, it also gives us exciting new prospects. Imagine a world where clients walk into a business centre and their workspace is tuned to their needs – blinds drawn, heating on, coffee brewing. JEFF could control all of that.
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“We give customers the tools and let them use them however they want. We like to call it ‘fast and frictionless.'”
It’s this highly advanced technology that has earned essensys recognition from world-leading IT analysts. Gartner – in Mark’s words, the “oracle of the IT industry” – recently singled out essensys’ technology in its ‘Cool Vendor’ list, placing it among some of the world’s most innovative and pioneering cloud companies.
Within the past year, essensys has also appeared in the Inc. 5000 and Tech Track 100 lists. Such is their new-found level of recognition that Mark now has the job of fending off countless propositions from investors and stakeholders keen to get a piece of the action.
But while it may seem like the company has shot to stardom almost overnight, it has taken 9 years of “relentless focus” to become an industry leader in the UK market.
World of opportunity
essensys is a flexible workspace company through and through. But that doesn’t mean their technology or service model won’t be found beyond the world of workspace.
“There are definitely opportunities beyond business centres,” said Mark, “particularly through IT resellers. But we really care about this industry. We have a deep connection with our customers and we understand their challenges. There’s still a long way to go in this sector, which in itself is a massive opportunity.”
Indeed, on the cusp of becoming officially international, there is certainly a world of opportunity out there. And the company’s vision isn’t limited to the U.S. market.
On the subject of what Mark playfully refers to as “world domination”, his plans involve developing an international project team to spearhead expansion across North America, Asia Pacific (where they already have a number of potential customers standing by), the Middle East and the rest of Europe.
So, will the industry be “powered by essensys” in a few short years? With a thought-leader like Mark Furness at the helm, it’s easy to see this 5-year vision becoming reality.
Any organisation can lay claim to having pioneering technologies. But when it’s taken less than a decade to transition from a budget-strapped startup into an international organisation with its own multi-million pound R&D lab, a powerful self-developed technical infrastructure recognised by the IT industry’s leading authorities, and a waiting list of customers, that’s when you realise essensys is really going places.
This is a company that means business – serious business – and they’re taking the concept far and wide.Share this article