COWORKIES, an online platform that connects co-workers and improves the experience of co-working for space owners and members, is planning to expand in a fast-growing sector that now consists of more than 7000 co-working spaces globally and a community of more than half a million people. By 2018 it is expected that this number will rise to more than 37,000 co-working spaces and a community of more than two million people.
COWORKIES was launched this year by Pauline Roussel, Nikola Velikov and Dimitar Inchev and currently has 50 co-working space partners across 10 international cities, which include Milan, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Sofia, Ljubljana, Paris, New York, San Francisco and Taipei. The platform helps entrepreneurs find a space where they can meet and work with like-minded people, share work opportunities, discover and exchange products and ideas. COWORKIES also allows co-working space owners and managers to build space where they can reach out to their core audience, promote their space and be an active contributor to the future of entrepreneurship.
Research carried out by COWORKIES to gauge the current views of co-workers revealed that 57% of existing co-workers are currently in a co-working space for the very first time. This figure rises to 62% for female co-workers. More than three in five (61%) co-workers choose a co-working space to grow their network. The figure rises slightly to 62% for male co-workers but falls to 53% for their female counterparts.
There are around 1.4 million British freelancers working across all sectors, representing an increase of 14% in the past decade. It is estimate that the flexibility offered by Britain’s freelancers is worth £21 billion to the UK economy in added value.
Pauline Rousse, CEO and Co-Founder at COWORKIES said: “We are really excited by the surge in interest for co-working and co-working space. Co-working space owners are very eager to promote their space but reaching out to their core audience today is complicated as there are too many different platforms, none really targeting the co-working niche. Connecting co-working communities is always a challenge as members rely on community managers to integrate inside the space but also within each city.”
The research showed that 56% of respondents chose to co-work because they want to avoid being alone at home, while just over a quarter (28%) said it was because they wanted to find more work opportunities.
COWORKIES’ research also found that three in five (60%) choose their existing space solely because of the location, while more than half (54%) highlighted the benefits of being in the same space as current companies and people. A third (34%) cited the low price as a reason and a quarter (26%) said they were recommended the space by a friend.
More than two-thirds (69%) of co-workers connected with other workers for the first time through community events organised by their co-working space. Indeed 45% used community events to source help within their community space while two in five (39%) asked for help using the online tools that are provided by the co-working space. 14% use job boards inside their existing co-working space.
In order to boost its expansion plans, COWORKIES recently announced that it is partnering with Seedrs, the UK’s number one equity crowdfunding platform to open a crowdfunding round to raise €100,001. The money raised will be used to enhance the platform, add new features requested by spaces and co-workers and develop mobile apps to improve the peer-to-peer communication.
Nikola Velikov, Co-Founder at COWORKIES said: “We love what we do. We are passionate about the co-working community and we follow the evolution of working environments. Our research has identified that entrepreneurs are using co-working space to extend their network but want tools to communicate with other members which include attending community events.”
Dimitar Inchev, Co-Founder at COWORKIES concluded: “We believe that we have built a platform that not only connects likeminded entrepreneurs but that will also improve their future business prospects. With our crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, we are excited to showcase our brand to a fertile entrepreneurial base coupled with co-working spaces and their owners that can share in our future success by taking small ownership of the platform.”