This article is part of our February “we’re all about community” series.
Included.co was founded by Hector Kolonas in 2014 after accidentally opening and managing a few coworking spaces.
“We built an airbnb for desks by mistake.”
Here’s the backstory.
When Kolonas was 24, he developed a technology for ad agencies. The tech took off, companies were asking for it, and the business was growing. Kolonas made a mistake however; he gave his clients a 90 day credit–which was a good idea at the beginning, but it gave him quite a kick when the recession struck and his clients weren’t able to pay their dues anymore.
“I negotiated with some clients. Some of them were going to lay off about 90% of their staff but were nonetheless stuck with their leases. So basically I took over their workspaces and turned them into shift coworking spaces.” The model worked, but it wasn’t what Kolonas was after.
Managing these spaces and having a personal relationship with the workspace users helped Kolonas figure out that members of different spaces were trying to buy into the same services (insurance, accounting software, management software, the like).
“Members of all spaces were buying the same services; different times, but similar patterns. I figured I could build a platform that would aggregate that buying power and get workspace members discounted prices on these services.”
That’s how included.co came to be. It now connects over 100 coworking and shared workspace communities and it recently launched a project that helped members of Bathtub 2 Boardroom’s City Tub location save over £3,000.
“Included.co offers members of coworking spaces the ability to claim, request or offer savings across the network, while saving workspace operators almost 100 work hours by also handling the in-bound sales/partnership requests that are bombarding workspace phone-lines and emails around the world,” Kolonas explained.
The sweet catch is that if one coworking space gets an offer, Kolonas and his team negotiate for the rest of the workspaces in the network at the same time. So basically, if they can get insurance for a coworking space in Australia, all of the workspaces in Australia within the Included.co network will be able to offer the same deal to their members.
“The platform was developed and created in such a way that it will enable coworking and workspace managers to create more value for their members.”
“We see workspace operators as our partners; we can help make their spaces more sustainable. We create new revenue sources for them; each time their members claim and inluced.co saving, we split our revenue share with the operator.”
“Through deals negotiated by included.co, members of the Bathtub 2 Boardroom community were able to save over £3,000 on a variety of business expenses, ranging from insurance, to food delivery, to software, to printing, to professional services, and more.”
The project gave the included.co team some ideas and insights into how to best pitch these deals to workspace users, and also how to find out what type of services operators need for their members. “The lessons learned are what will enable us to roll out a more robust program with the other 130+ coworking communities we support around the world.”
If you’d like to add value to your coworking or workspace community, you can apply to become an included.co partner for free.