The startup Spacious, set up as part of the Entrepreneur First scheme last year at Club Workspace London Bridge, has just closed 500,000 in seed funding. They decided to seek additional capital in a round led by Spire Ventures, the VC fund set up by Faisal Butt and James Caan, and plan to use the extra capital on engineers and extending the platform. We talked to the London property tech startup founders last year about setting up their own company. Here's what they had to say.

The startup Spacious, set up as part of the Entrepreneur First scheme last year at Club Workspace London Bridge, has just closed 500,000 in seed funding. They decided to seek additional capital in a round led by Spire Ventures, the VC fund set up by Faisal Butt and James Caan, and plan to use the extra capital on engineers and extending the platform. The London property tech startup has been such a success because it understands the specific needs of startups - whether they want to be in the vicinity of startups in the same sector or just really want to be next to a cafe which serves good coffee.

 

A host of other investors also participated in Spacious’ seed round, including Seedcamp, Brett Akker (Co-founder of Streetcar and Lovespace who are based at Workspace), Ivan Mazour (Founder of ecommerce intelligence platform Ometria), Guy Westlake (Founder of Lavanda and ex-Head of Marketing at Shutl), Jackson Hull (CTO of OneFineStay), Sheraz Dar (former Marketing Director of Prime Location and FindaProperty), Jonathan Galore (co-founder of Wealthfront.com and CTO at Wonga.com), Andreas Pouros (Co-founder of digital marketing firm Greenlight), and Roualeyn Cumming-Bruce (a former Chairman of Capital Markets at Jones Lang LaSalle London).

 

We interviewed the founders of Spacious, Tushar Argawal and Tom Watson, a while back. To celebrate them and their success, we’ve decided to repost their interviews.

 

First up Tushar, who talked about the lack of fulfilment he experienced as an investment banker and why disruptive innovation is the way to do business.

 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

 

I am London based startup founder with a passion for disruptive innovation. Before joining Entrepreneur First, I lived in the devil's pocket as an Investment Banker for two years. Graduating in the aftermath of the financial crisis with a degree in Economics, I witnessed most of the economic theories I had learnt disproven and some of the academics I admired, completely discredited.

 

During my Investment Banking career, I became disillusioned not only with finance, but with the lifestyle and also my ability as a financier to make a tangible impact in the world.

 

A father who was a techie and the tech startup revolution coming to London were key influences in my decision to pack it all in and decide to start my own startup. I truly believe in technology's ability to disrupt inefficiencies in the global economy to create real value and make the world a better place. 

 

I also love hip-hop music, trekking mountains and have recently taken up muay thai. 

 

2. Pitch your product in a sentence

 

Spacious - We make renting your office easy - www.spaciousapp.com

 

3. Give us a potted history of your business

 

Living and breathing startups for the past year or so, we built an acute awareness to what problems startups, freelancers and creative businesses faced. One problem that came up again and again was the difficulty in finding and transacting on flexible office space in London. 

 

We noticed difficulty in search, so we are improving this. We noticed a fragmented market of office providers, so we are consolidating this. We noticed a lot of spare room in pre-existing offices, so we are helping them rent this out. 

 

We noticed a business opportunity, so we started exploring it.

 

Spacious is now at a stage where we are the number one online marketplace for shared offices in London and are pleased to have Club Workspace as one our key space providers.

 

4. What advice would you give someone starting up in your industry?

 

Sleep with your customers. No, seriously. You need to know their deepest, most intimate thoughts and desires - that's how you build a product that they want. Ask Steve Blank if you don't believe me (www.steveblank.com.)

 

5. Who would you ask (dead or alive) to be a dream member on your board of directors?

 

Kanye West. No-one knows creativity and disruptive innovation like this man; very misunderstood. 

 

6. What's your desert island song/book/luxury?

 

If I'm going to die on a desert island, I may as well be drunk on Single Malt Glenmorangie. 

 

Second on the hot seat, Tom Watson, who told us his most important piece of advice for startup success: 

 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

 

Co-founder of Spacious, recent graduate of Computer Science at Warwick University, full stack developer and entrepreneur.

 

At University I did an intercalated (sandwich) year at IBM and I hated it. Without trying to sound too cliched, the system was bureaucratic , I was pigeonholed into a role and overall it left me disillusioned with working for a large corporation. I don’t think this is the same in all big companies and I don’t think everyone has the same experience, but this was mine. 

 

So in my final year of University I explored startups and entrepreneurship. I set up a small software company with a friend and built a Windows 8 and OSX app as well as organising the first and only startup careers fair at the University.

 

I strongly believe in doing what you love and enjoying yourself in whatever career path that suits you. 

 

Much like my co-founder Tushar, I’m a hip-hop addict as well as being into football, tennis and squash. 

 

2. Pitch your product in a sentence

 

Spacious makes finding and renting your next office easy.

 

3. Give us a potted history of your business

 

Tushar and I have been talking to startups for months about the problems they have. What kept coming up was this constant moaning about office space! 

 

We heard a variety of stories, one of which was that the most efficient way of finding an office was walking the streets, looking at the signs and writing down the numbers on them! This sounded absolutely ridiculous in an age where everything is online. 

 

Picking your office is like picking your second home and we wanted to make this experience enjoyable. 

 

We started exploring this idea more and fast forward 4 months later we’re still here and making more and more customers happy every week.

 

4. What advice would you give someone starting up in your industry?

 

Iterate, iterate, iterate! Revolve your product around your customer and better their experience… Oh and iterate more.

 

5. Who would you ask (dead or alive) to be a dream member on your board of directors?

 

Well, adding to our board of directors (rappers?), it’d be Eminem. Creative, disruptive, smart, astute and slightly mad.

 

6. What's your desert island song/book/luxury?

 

 Fully charged laptop and a 4g dongle.


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