London-based coworking space Plexal is shaking up the flexible office world. The office is located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as apart of Here East, a development initiative for businesses, educational and cultural centers. The 1.2 million square foot space is nestled in what is described as a “city within a city.”
After the 2012 Olympics, the development began serving Stratford and Hackney. Here East soon took over to develop a business, educational, and social community. Plexal soon became the heart of the project.
Plexal’s Managing Director Andrew Roughan and CEO Gavin Poole created the idea after seeking to bring a cross-industry collaboration to the area.
“Since the initial launch we’ve made rapid progress as a business hub”, says Roughan. “Over the past year, we’ve been filling up with amazing tech startups, hosting hackathons, conferences, launches and meetups. It’s been non-stop and we’ll be even busier next year.”
Plexal aims to be a hub for tech startups, but also wishes to encourage female-led businesses and delve into the cybersecurity market. Now, they have launched LORCA (the London Office for Rapid Cyber Advancement), a three-year development program for UK’s top cybersecurity businesses.
Plexal has designed its coworking space to reflect a city. It has all the standard coworking amenities, such as meeting rooms and endless coffee, but what sets it apart is the hum of businesses, turning a corner, and finding state-of-the-art phone booths and workshops complete with 3D printers.
The space’s arteries are designed to look like crossing streets that allows each business to have their own personal office space, but come out to communal areas and network.
“True innovators need two things: opportunities to connect with people and space to think or create in quiet. At Plexal we provide the space and facilities to do both,” said Roughan.
Memberships include private offices, desks, and an “innovation service team” that offer a variety of assistance to companies.
MSquared, one of Plexal’s most notable members, uses photonics and quantum technology to resolve navigation issues and detect cancers in the body.
CEO Graeme Malcolm said that Plexal listens and accommodates the needs of members, so much so that they built a state-of-the-art laboratory big enough to accommodate the company’s large laser machinery.
Plexal is allowing tech companies to come together as a community by providing them the tools they require, all while boosting this sector of the economy.