- Massachusetts coworking operator Workbar has partnered with a Japanese real estate company “to build a global brand of coworking spaces”.
- The partnership between Workbar and Apamanshop Holdings Co. Ltd continues the trend for international collaboration between workspace brands.
- New locations aside, partnerships provide alternative growth opportunities such as investment in technology infrastructure to attract corporate clients.
Earlier this month, Boston coworking brand Workbar announced a new partnership with Apamanshop Holdings Co. Ltd, a Japanese real estate company. For Workbar, the linkup represents an opportunity to further expand its flexible workspace in Massachusetts and across the U.S.
Of course, Workbar is no stranger to partnerships.
Last year the coworking brand announced a new collaboration with office stationery giant Staples, to provide coworking within select Staples stores around Boston. The move, according to Workbar CEO Bill Jacobson, complemented the company’s “hub-and-spoke” business model of linking downtown centres with suburban locations.
Workbar’s partnership with Apamanshop once again falls in line with the brand’s “hub-and-spoke” model, and Workbar looks set to expand its regional network of coworking spaces on home soil.
But thanks to Apamanshop, the partnership will also drive international growth.
Apamanshop already owns Japanese coworking brands Fabbit, Growth Next, and Office Attend. The new partnership is designed to enable its Fabbit brand to accelerate growth and push into new international markets:
“Together Workbar and Fabbit intend to build a global brand of coworking spaces, with a vision to expand into new markets within Asia, the United States and beyond.” — PRweb
Workbar and Apamanshop aren’t the only companies forming international partnerships to pave the way for specific lines of growth.
For instance, in July this year U.S. coworking franchise Serendipity Labs teamed with Chinese coworking brand UrWork to open a co-branded space in New York City (although following WeWork’s legal action, UrWork’s name can’t be used on the building).
UK serviced office brokerage Instant formed a partnership with Indian search platform Qdesq to tap Asia’s fast developing flexible workspace market (read more about rapid growth of the flexible space market in India here).
In October, Singapore’s largest coworking space provider, JustCo, closed a Series B round with Thailand’s leading real estate developer, Sansiri.
These partnerships — and many more like them — demonstrate the vast opportunities available for operators and suppliers within our industry. And while operators typically focus on utilising funding to open new locations, there are many more expansion strategies on the table.
Operational or growth capital partnerships can provide the right framework to help workspace operators branch out and diversify into related supplier markets, particularly in services directly related to workspace management such as CRM, office furniture, cleaning, client amenities, and technology solutions.
Indeed, tech-focused workspace extraSlice recently raised $1million to “boost their technology infrastructure” and attract larger enterprise clients, while in March this year, workspace brand Industrious acquired PivotDesk, an office search marketplace, complete with $25million follow-on funding. That particular move was described as “a natural addition” to Industrious, as companies “increasingly look to streamline the process of finding, creating, and managing their workspaces.”
Another expansion opportunity involves different types of workspace; such as traditional business centres partnering with coworking providers. Although, as we have seen with IWG (formerly Regus) and Spaces, or IWG and Swedish coworking brand No.18, or most recently, BE Offices and Headspace Group, such ‘partnerships’ are more commonly completed through acquisitions.
However, as we learned with WeWork, formulating partnerships for expansion doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your primary business. In a move that left many scratching their heads, the workspace brand recently purchased a large stake in Wavegarden, a maker of wave pools.
2017 has already seen scores of partnerships between flexible workspace operators and interested parties, which further underlines the growth of our sector and the myriad ways in which operators and suppliers can realise their own growth objectives. Whether yours is a new regional location, a new country, or you’re dipping your toe into an unrelated market, there’s a seemingly bottomless pool of opportunities to tap into. Get in touch and let us know your next move.