Going Public And Heading West: A Q&A With Mark Furness, CEO Of essensys

essensys’ IPO marked an important milestone for the flexible workspace industry, validating the fact that flexible space is the way of the future.
  • essensys, a technology supplier for the flexible workspace industry, went public this May on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market. 
  • essensys’ IPO marked an important milestone for the flexible workspace industry, validating the fact that flexible space is the way of the future.
  • Allwork.Space spoke with Mark Furness, CEO of essensys, to learn about the company’s future steps and what an IPO changes.

In May, essensys, a technology supplier to the flexible workspace industry, announced its listing on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market. 

At the time, the company referred to the public listing as an important milestone for the flexible workspace market, citing it as a “strong validation” that flexible workspace operators and partners are having an important and positive impact on the modern workplace.

essensys also hinted at plans to accelerate parts of the business and extend its geographic footprint. So what’s next, and where next?

To find out, Allwork.Space spoke with Mark Furness, CEO and founder of essensys, to learn what changes an IPO represents for the company, and what’s in the pipeline for the newly listed technology brand. 

Allwork.Space: What does it mean to you, as a founder, to have your company listed on the stock exchange?

Mark Furness: I’m hugely proud. It will be 13 years this October since we launched essensys. It’s great for our customers, employees and all the people who’ve been on this journey with us. We’ve seen the company come from humble beginnings, and evolve and grow into the business it is today.

On listing day, it was a proud moment – but we were straight back to work at 8am the very next day! To us, this is another key milestone in our journey and an important one. But there will be plenty more milestones to come.

Allwork.Space: How long have you been working towards this goal?

A number of years. We’ve been considering the right approach to make sure essensys has all the horsepower it needs for the future and to fulfil our ambitions. Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen that the industry has reached a tipping point, it’s established, and there’s now much more clarity and understanding in the way people perceive flexible space and how it works with their businesses. It’s clear that flexibility is a major category in the future of real estate.

We started to see this change and it happened at a time when we, as a company, were seeing strong growth in the US market, and it felt like the right time. 

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Allwork.Space: What were some of the challenges you encountered along the way, and how did you overcome them?

Listing a business is a significant process. It’s a big piece of work, and we couldn’t have done it without the team and in particular our CFO, Alan Pepper [formerly Chief Executive of Avanta Serviced Office Group Plc].

One of the biggest challenges was the sheer volume of work! Balance was crucial. We had to continue running the company alongside all the extra work for the IPO.

The day job was still the top priority – we’re accountable to our customers, and as a business we had to make sure that nobody got distracted from their regular responsibilities. The IPO was a huge additional requirement and we had to remain laser focused.

Allwork.Space: Now that’s all behind you, what can you do as a Public company that you couldn’t do as a Private company? 

We are long term believers in this industry, and we see the IPO supporting essensys for the long-term, from our 5-year plan right up to the next 10, 15 and even 20 years. 

We’ve got a strong balance sheet now, we’re debt free, and we have cash on hand to accelerate our growth. Private equity involvement might have given us the capital to accelerate our ambitions but being public increases the speed at which we can respond to opportunities.

We wanted to be able to take a long-term view, and that’s what a public market listing gives us.

Allwork.Space: Will you stay focused on the coworking and serviced office industry or do you plan to service other sectors?

We are 100% focused on the flexible workspace market. That is an absolute. The opportunities are accelerating rapidly, and there is so much runway ahead in an industry that is becoming the ‘new normal’ in terms of how enterprises meet their real estate requirements.

Allwork.Space: Your press release states an interest in expanding your geographic footprint. So, where next for essensys?

We’re going West! We’ve just signed a lease on our Los Angeles office, in Santa Monica on the US West Coast, and we’ve started building a team out there. In addition to this, we’ll be strengthening our development team in Vietnam.

Allwork.Space: Following on from your earlier comment about your 5-to-20-year plan, can you enlighten us on what’s in the essensys pipeline?

Now that we’re a publicly listed company, I can’t provide a forward-looking statement to you. All I can say is that we’re as ambitious as ever and remain hugely excited about the future of the industry we serve and the opportunities that it will provide for essensys.

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