Exclusive: essensys Acquires Hubcreate

essensys, a supplier of IT and automation services to the flexible workspace sector, has further expanded its technology footprint with the acquisition of Hubcreate (formerly RJ Metis).

Two leading suppliers of technology services to the business centre and shared workspace industry – essensys and Hubcreate – have now become one. essensys, which has achieved phenomenal growth in the UK and subsequent expansion in the US, announced its acquisition of Hubcreate as part of a shared vision to deliver a single, unified technology solution to the industry.

“There is a major place for a stand-out technology platform to power our industry,” explained Mark Furness, CEO of essensys, in an exclusive interview with OfficingToday. “At essensys we want to develop a single digital experience, a unified solution – and we are absolutely committed to being the leading platform for the industry.”

The acquisition will see Hubcreate, which serves 750 workspaces in 35 countries, fully integrated and re-branded as essensys. Justin Harley, CEO of Hubcreate, will be retained along with his team, who will relocate to essensys’ head office in London.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and we’re all really excited about it,” said Justin, who created Hubcreate (originally RJ Metis) in 1999, and developed it into a global award-winning organisation over a period of 16 years. “This is a chance to build on our successes and accelerate our product by combining it with JEFF, which will create a tremendously powerful technology solution.

“The implications of our joint technology for the flexible workspace industry are absolutely groundbreaking,” Justin added. “There has never been anything like this before. It’s revolutionary.”

Extra “horsepower”

So how did the opportunity unfold? Mark Furness explained: “Justin and I have known each other a long time. We always imagined what our combined technologies and resources – all that horsepower – could do for the industry, and we’ve always wanted to find a way to work together. I’d say the conversation has been bubbling for a couple of years.”

Mark approached Justin and “floated the idea over a beer” last year, and the conversation quickly accelerated. “The key to unlocking significant value for our customers is to enable a frictionless, end-to-end user journey in every type of flexible workspace. Justin and his team bring a huge amount of domain expertise and experience, which will help us to achieve this, as well as extend our reach into new markets.”

In addition to expanding their customer reach, the move extends essensys’ software capabilities into new areas of workspace management – such as invoicing, lead management and contracting.

“We looked at building this additional capability internally, but it soon became clear that it would be more efficient to buy existing software… and ideally the company too,” explained Mark. “We looked at a variety of software solutions and we believe that Hubcreate offers the best and most valuable solution by far. They also have an excellent team of developers and a full support network.”

This move marks a step-change for essensys, which until now has let its own award-winning technology blaze the company’s expansion trail. Now, Mark has hinted at the potential for further acquisitions, with some already “in the works”.

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“Fantastic momentum”

“It’s about extending the value we offer to operators and their clients – the small business owners, the growing SMEs and the corporates. Our industry will go from strength to strength and without a doubt, technology is the key.

“We see unbelievable future potential for JEFF. For instance, our R&D team is doing some really amazing things with regard to the Internet of Things. We have a fantastic momentum and we don’t want to slow down, in fact we want to accelerate.”

Finally, the big question: what’s next?

“In 2016, we want to significantly expand across the US. We have an office opening very soon in California for our West Coast business, and two more US offices coming after that. By the end of 2016, we also plan to open our reach even further across the globe.

“Long-term, we want to go head-to-head with the traditional workspace market. Think of it like this: we want to power the world’s largest network of flexible workspaces with the industry’s best digital technology.”

Coming back to matters at hand, Mark added: “We want to power the workspace industry, and Hubcreate is a major step forward for us. Justin and I have always strongly believed in the huge opportunities that technology can bring to our industry.

“The really exciting thing is that there’s so much more we can do. We’re only at the beginning of our journey.”