Ask any entrepreneur what their biggest challenge is, and chances are the topic of finding a suitable office space will feature on the list. Co-work spaces have become increasingly popular in major cities around the country, as more and more companies realise the benefits of having access to an office only when they need it. But what good is this if office spaces aren’t easy to find?
A new mobile app-based solution promises to solve this problem once and for all. According to Dillon Swartz, Director of Airbase, their mission is to give users the ability to rent a desk or an office on a more flexible basis: “We’re allowing users to work when they want, where they want, without having to pay for space they don’t need.”
Being an IT company, the founders decided to harness the power of the fast-growing flexible workspace model, rather than developing their own. Swartz explains: “We wanted to develop a solution and financial model that would encourage such spaces to give users the ultimate flexibility. Our network of facilities is represented nationally in the major metropoles. And it’s growing.”
How the idea came about
The idea for the app was conceived by one of the founders, while finding himself a couple of hours early for a meeting after a long commute. With changes that needed to be made to a presentation, the tried-and-tested method of finding a coffee shop and getting to work just wasn’t going to cut it. He started to imagine a flexible and truly mobile workspace solution: What if you could have access to a fully kitted out workspace, on a pay-as-you-use basis?
By using the app, users are able to find workspace to rent on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Swartz also explains that, for those days where you just don’t know how long you’ll need, you’re able to make use of a system that only charges you for the time you’ve used.
The bigger picture
It’s clear that the way forward for the business world and country as a whole, is encouraging more entrepreneurship. At the same time, property prices have reached a fever pitch, with commercial property rentals being unaffordable to many. Airbase offers its users the chance to have access to state-of-the art offices and conference facilities, without the monthly overhead. “This deals with that large cost, without compromising the look and feel of the entrepreneur’s ability to showcase his business or idea,” says Swartz.
Tying into a more mobile economy, the app also allows for integration with other apps. Users are able to invite all attendees to a meeting via the platform, giving everyone quick access to the location and time slot. Uber is also integrated, meaning an easy solution to transport from the user’s current location to the meeting address.
For corporate clients, the app also allows management to offer employees access to workspace wherever they may be in the country. “Corporates no longer need to hold leases in different cities. Instead, they can buy corporate bundles and issue these to their staff to work in our various partner facilities nationwide,” explains Swartz.
As the number of mobile workers rises, the need for instant access to the right space at the right price will become a non-negotiable. With urbanisation showing no signs of slowing down, and new ideas being thought of each day, it seems inevitable that we’ll all be using a co-working space within a few years.
Speaking about the future of the company, Swartz explains that they see a huge opportunity for its application further into Africa. “Of course, over time this mobile worker may very well be the next million rand business. But for now they command their own destiny and control a cost previously forced on him,” Swartz concludes.
Airbase is free to download on iOS and Android. Hourly rates start from R57 for a hot-desk. Users are able to rent an open plan hot desk, meeting rooms, private offices, board rooms, and auditoriums. Locations range from Sandton, to Umhlanga and Claremont.