Ivan Cossu, Co-Founder & CEO of deskbird talks to us about the benefits of a workplace management software, trends in the market, deskbird’s growth drivers as well as the latest funding in the form of convertible loans.
We help companies move to a hybrid workplace. Many companies today allow their employees to work more flexibly, with home office as an integral part of the work week. To optimize the use of office structures to meet the new demand, many rely on shared resources, such as shared desks. In addition to workstations, companies can also make better use of parking spaces, or adapt meals in the cafeteria to meet demand. In other words, the employee is no longer tied to the workplace but consumes office services. This new reality is more complex and needs more coordination – this is where deskbird comes in.
deskbird is the first workplace solution built around the employee and their needs, rather than the building as is often the case. We put a lot of emphasis on the user experience, and we also focus on collaboration. We don’t just show if a desk is free, but also where the team is currently sitting, so you can book a desk right next to your work colleagues, for example. Through transparency and the collaboration aspects of deskbird, teams can make the best use of their time on site.
We serve a wide range of company sizes, from small SMEs to large corporations with 80,000 employees. Deskbird is most effective for companies with 500+ employees. The background: the coordination effort is more complex here, and the savings are higher. For example, if a company with 1,000 employees can save or better utilize 100 workstations, this means annual savings of around CHF 800,000. Most companies can achieve savings around this order of magnitude. In some companies, we also see that office space is reduced by 50%, with corresponding savings. deskbird is available as a web app, mobile app, and also as MS Teams or Slack app. One of our USPs is that deskbird can be easily integrated into existing tools.
The customers who come to us have already adapted to the new reality, so we are not entirely representative. However, since we have grown from 0 to a huge number of customers in a very short time, a lot has happened in the market. The companies we serve all plan with significantly fewer employees per desk. Often it’s 0.5 desks per employee.
What we find exciting is that recent developments are not only leading to the elimination of physical workstations but also repurposing. The purpose of the office of the future has changed. Companies are, in some cases, giving up as little as 20-30% of their space and making the remaining room more spacious, with more meeting areas. The office is being designed as an experience; employees should be able to have fun, be creative, network and be collaborative there.
At the moment, we have pretty much optimized the space at Deskbird Office. It was very important to us to have a good location, which is why we pay a lot per square meter but created a place where everyone likes to come. Currently, we have 4 spaces for a location of 10-12 employees, which we just increased to 6 spaces.
There is no office requirement with us. Right now we have more of a problem with more wanting to come than we actually have space for. If we had more space (hypothetically) – we would add more phone booths because simultaneous phone calls can become a challenge.
No matter how good the team is, in a market that is not there or with timing that is not right, you will not succeed. The basic requirement is to see if the challenge is big enough, the willingness to pay for the solution is there and if the timing is right. As a founding team, you have to put a lot of energy into this process, talking to potential customers and setting the right parameters. Then, when you realize there is something to it and it might actually be, courage is required. We went all-in and hired people and put structures in place for the expected growth in 6 months. That was important because otherwise, we would have had a real growth freeze. You can rarely hire employees within a few days and it takes time to set up structures.
We have raised capital so that we can manage our rapid growth. In doing so, we are pursuing three goals:
The cooperation was very good and I can already say that we will approach LEXR again. We had a good feeling right from the start. This was then confirmed throughout the entire process. We had the feeling that LEXR was part of the deskbird team. The collaboration was very straightforward and the LEXR team very approachable. Michele adapted to our startup work rhythm and we could count on him at any time. If I had to pick one out of the many positive aspects of the collaboration, it would be pragmatism. All in all, it felt like working with like-minded people.
100+ companies, both big and small, are starting and growing their business with LEXR.