Diamonds are forged in the crucible of high temperatures and pressures. Industries, when faced with trying times, innovate at accelerated paces, compressing years of slow and steady experimentation into the timeframe of a couple of months.
We witnessed the same happen with the flex spaces product in 2020.
The corona pandemic eviscerated demand in the 2nd quarter of the year. Social distancing norms affected the profitability of a product organized around high density workspaces and community interactions. We saw flex spaces get shuttered. Plans for growth were shelved, operations put on hold.
But, along the way, as the temperature and pressure rose, bright spots started to emerge.
- Flex space operators with a long term view on the sector doubled up, and took this opportunity to pick up spaces at distressed prices and under favorable terms.
- Operators continued to set up new workspaces, albeit at a slower rate. The rate of supply addition picked up decidedly in Q4 2020.
- We realized that flex spaces are a countercyclical product whose fundamental value proposition to the economy strengthens with shocks to the economy that drive seekers to value flexibility in their cost structures and adopt risk minimization & management products such as a flex space.
- A first of its kind, canary in the coal mine deal for managing more than 900 seats from one enterprise, pan India, with monthly renewals, no security deposits, no lock ins, highlighted the potential of this demand segment.
- The future of this industry lies in the direction of offering ever increasing flexibility for the transaction of office space. The transformational value of such flexibility is captured by the MoM growth rate for the above referenced deal. At inception, 15 seats were under management, 950 six months down the line, resulting in a 99% MoM growth rate for the size of the deal.
- Operators realized that the fundamental drivers of profitability were high customer retention rates. Interest in digitizing the workspace and occupant interactions picked up, demand for occupant experience management + retention software witnessed an uptick
We started the year on a high. True, covid hit, and along the way we had to learn how to work from home along with all its attendant trials and tribulations. But, just as crucially, we get to end the year on a high. And we emerged from this trial stronger, faster, fitter.
Dare we say, in such trying circumstances, we may have done our best work yet as an industry? The industry innovated, and we are proud to have been a part of this survival and growth story.
Along the year, we……
Launched QTalks – Podcast Series which featured visionaries and leaders from the coworking and managed office industry.
Thought Leadership and ecosystem
Conducted Webinar Covid-19 Vs Coworking on 7 April 2020, along with a follow-up session on 10 April 2020. The panel unanimously foresees a bright future for flex spaces.
Transacted 8500 desks in the year. With encouraging demand and transaction closures post September 2020
Added 250 new workspaces to the Q platform. So encouraged to see new entrants in the ecosystem.
Product and Tech
Revamped Transactional CRM, Booking frontend and backend along with the updation of LMS.
Innovation and New launches in 2020
- We capitalised on pandemic and lockdown to work on products that will redefine future of workspace – Launched Qdesq Flexi, a pan-India on-demand platform to book desk for day(s)
- Launched The Eva Concierge – occupancy experience and management app
Our bit to give back
Did a small CSR initiative with Zomato – Feed the Hungry program.
Note from Founders
This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our partners, clients, team and investors. Our space partners and clients faced demand side shocks but decided to tighten their belts, put their heads down and power through. They inspired us on a daily basis to innovate, adapt,and for that inspiration we will always be grateful.
As we end the year, we wish to raise a glass in virtual celebration of the many small personal and professional wins over the year. Here’s to new workspaces and products launched, deals cracked, clients retained and new ones acquired.
We wish you the very best in 2021 and look forward to unlocking more value for the ecosystem.
– Paras & Lavesh