August 9th is now International Coworking Day, which means it’s a day of coworking, collaborating, creating, and celebrating. Having that international delineation only brings to light the rapid growth and acceptance of what was once thought to be a fad. Shared workspaces have grown at an incredible rate of 200 percent a year over the past five years.
Coworking now takes up 27 million square feet of office space across the US. Further, there are currently 14,411 coworking spaces in the world today as the world of shared spaces continues to accelerate. By 2020, the number of coworking members will rise to 3.8 million and to 5.1 million by 2022. In global cities like London, New York and Chicago, coworking spaces are expanding at an annual rate of 20 percent. Instead of signing up for long-term leases, users and corporations can now just get “memberships” to various cowork spaces.
Coworking is the new normal. And, it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Convene, a New York-based real estate startup that specializes in flexible meeting and working space, recently announced that it secured $152 million in Series D financing. A round of funding more than double the company’s previously announced Series C round, bringing its total equity funding to-date to $260 million.
With the fastest-growing network of tech-enabled meeting, event, and flexible workspaces, Convene is working to bring new levels of productivity to co-working while providing a sophisticated workspace alternative that’s designed to serve established companies, enterprise teams, and the technology of mobile professionals.
They partner with the world’s most prominent property owners to deliver superior meeting and workplace experiences in Class A office buildings. By the end of 2018, they are predicted have 23 locations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, which total an approximate 700,000 of square feet. They are projected to have 1,700,000 total square feet of space in 10 cities by the end of 2019.
“Our world-class meeting and conference venues include everything that clients need to plan their most important internal or client-facing events. We reduce all of the typical pressures that meeting planners face so that they can focus more on their guests and less on logistics,” said Convene CEO and Founder Ryan Simonetti. “We offer flexible, full-service workplace memberships without the hassles of signing a long-term commercial lease. We take care of everything, so our customers can focus on what’s most important - their people, culture, and business.”
The Convene workspaces provide a sophisticated alternative to the traditional office, one that’s purpose-designed to serve established companies, enterprise teams and mobile professionals. They also provide world-class hospitality services, state-of-the-art technology, award-winning chefs, and the finest design touches in a distraction-free environment. Yet, companies that lease Class A office space can typically save 25-35 percent and receive ultra-high speed WiFi, state-of-the-art AV/IT services, reservable meeting rooms, 5-Star hospitality services, exclusive events and programs, along with all-day snacks and drinks.
“If you think about a modern space, it is largely defined by the technology that embodies how you interact with it. When you really think about the mobility culture, expert users coming into a space need to be able to cast content - from any device they may be carrying - at the app. Especially now when the phone you carry in your pocket now points to terabytes of data in the cloud. Being able to bring that to bear in a meeting quickly, on any display, is fantastic,” added Mersive Founder and CTO Chris Jaynes.
Convene isn’t the only coworking company attracting investment. WeWork recently held talks to raise funds at a valuation of $35 billion, Knotel closed a $70 million Series B round in April that valued it at $500 million, and Industrious, raised $80 million in a Series C round in February at an undisclosed valuation. Differentiation will now come at a higher price.
However, the cost to create the rooms, supply the technology, and use these spaces can’t outweigh the value they provide. Not only must Convene now find the tools and amenities that will help them differentiate themselves against the growing crowd of competitors, then need to analyze the cost of it all and prove the value. Watch the case study here to see what the company is doing to measure ROI, differentiate, and drive customer satisfaction.