Founded January 1, 2015, Simply Work has become one of Shenzhen’s leading coworking space operators.
In an interview with Allwork, Lei Xun, Branding Director at Simply Work, talked about Simply Work’s beginnings, their fast-paced growth, and their plans for the near future.
Lei tells us that the co-founders decided to open a coworking space in Shenzhen because of the great potential they see in the market. “Shenzhen is considered to be the Silicon Valley of China; various tech companies are based here, including Tencent, DJI, and Lenovo. This means that there is an enormous talent pool in the area.”
Additionally, Lei tells us that “compared to setting up a company in Hong Kong, Shenzhen is much more cost-friendly.”
2 Years and Over 22,500 Square Feet Later
Currently, Simply Work boasts a total of 7 coworking locations with an average occupancy rate of 85%. Since 2015 they have been able to not only significantly increase their physical footprint, but to also grow a strong coworking community and membership-base.
“We see ourselves as a welcoming coworking community. Around 60% of our whales (AKA members) are startups, about 20% are larger companies, and the rest are individual freelancers and our pet cheerleaders (including cats, dogs, fish, turtles, and a hedgehog).”
According to Lei, the success of their community is due to top-quality amenities and excellent service that “gives a special vibe to our spaces.”
All of Simply Work locations are open 24/7, and Lei tells us that the most popular amenities are the gym and the games room, as “these two allow for our members to find a balance between work and life.” On this same line of work-life balance (or more like integration), one of Simply Work’s locations provides members with homemade breakfast, lunch, and dinners.
Lei attributes part of the success of Simply Work to the fact that “we provide more than just a place to work. We give our whales added value through different activities and resources. We help them with recruiting staff, finding investment funds, and even replacing broken phone screens if need be.
We also frequently host community events that range from game nights to all-day BBQs to encourage members to connect with one another.
The Fruit of 30 Million RMB
Last year (2016), Simply Work secured 30 million RMB (approx. US$4.35M) in a venture funding round.
Lei explains that these funds were “mainly used to meet our expansion plan. We opened three new coworking spaces last year and we are planning on opening more this year. Additionally, we also invested some of the funds on recruiting and training more staff.”
Although Simply Work has no plans to expand their footprint internationally, Lei did hint that we might be seeing some Simply Work locations in other Chinese cities; “when the time is right.”