The new Huckletree Soho site opened this week, targeted at investors.
The operator plans to ‘spread its wings across Europe’ over the next couple of years.
Huckletree aims to boost community wellness, not its bottom line.
What’s the big deal about another new workspace in London, I hear you cry? Well, Huckletree’s Soho space is a bit different – because it’s putting big deals at the heart of everything it does.
Huckletree Soho is a “workspace accelerator” targeted at investors and treading the middle ground between a traditional coworking space and accelerator, according to Huckletree’s COO and co-founder Andrew Lynch. No, Huckletree hasn’t gone all Gordon Gecko on us. The new Soho space is a far cry from such tired investment stereotypes and, instead, retains the company’s focus on community and wellness. It’s also a pretty savvy move for a business that’s already adept at building bridges between start-ups and VCs through initiatives like its 12-week Alpha accelerator programme for businesses at the pre-seed stage.
The Huckletree Soho space is already filling up nicely, housing a selection of investors, including Sweet Capital, AMD Capital, BETR Lend, Alloy Investments, Silicon Valley Bank and Concentric.
“An investor-first workspace designed to help innovative investors build relationships with ambitious businesses has been long overdue,” according to Denis Shafranik, partner at Concentric, speaking in a statement.
“The coworking explosion has created hotbeds of innovation, transforming how businesses meet, grow, scale and fundraise. Huckletree Soho ensures that start-ups and VC funds will be neighbours, but in a space that provides more privacy than your usual coworking environment, optimising it for deal flows, pitching and nurturing relationships,” Shafranik added.
The Soho space also houses Europe’s first digital children’s food service, Little Tummy, and features an in-house learning studio where Huckletree’s EdTech partner, Jolt, gives members the opportunity to continually upskill.
Huckletree Soho also does not have any hotdesks and is instead offering office space or residential desks to members.
Huckletree is taking a “tactical approach” when evaluating potential members for the SoHo space, according to Lynch, who adds: “We assess them in the same way they would assess an investment, but they also need to work with our ethos, brand and existing businesses.”
Huckletree is planning to open a GovTech workspace in Westminster in July 2019, in partnership with PUBLIC, a leading venture firm working to help tech start-ups transform public services.
The company’s strategic expansion will continue over the coming years, with another space planned in Manchester in Q4, according to Lynch, who adds: “We are in a lucky position as we are doing things in a structured way [and] over the next two years, we will spread our wings across Europe.”
However, Huckletree will retain its digital theme at its new spaces, according to Lynch, who also believes there is plenty of space in the coworking market for large- and small-scale operators alike.
“We’re just trying to do things a bit smarter and a bit cooler. Our sweet spot is at the smaller end of the market – and we’re full so there’s the proof of that [success],” he adds.
A deluge of high-tech installations is noticeable by its absence at Huckletree’s Soho space – and its other sites. This is a conscious decision by the operator, as Lynch explains: “There is a high amount of lip service to tech in property and it is important – but one thing we have tried to do is get the little things right.”
“We do not try to maximise every square inch of space. Instead, we want to build trust with members. We have veered away from the Big Brother-style technology that can seem a little bit obstructive,” he adds.
Instead, Huckletree’s spaces take a more common-sense approach. If a meeting room is empty, for example, members can assume it is not booked and they are free to use it respectfully. “That’s why we have a lot of amenity space,” Lynch explains.
Huckletree also has a keen focus on wellness, which is prevalent at the Soho space where there’s a fully immersive Dreamscape room in the basement, featuring regular wellness activities and a programme that encourages collective meditation and escapism. “Burnout and stress are big issues in the startup industry,” Lynch adds.
There’s also a plant-based café with a menu designed by Albi Ison, the ex-Ottolenghi chef specialising in vegetarian, vegan and whole foods. So, maybe “greed is good” after all, but just in a very different way for Huckletree’s Soho members.