KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23): Malaysia-based coworking space operator WORQ has secured RM10 million in funding from seven follow-on investors that include the Singapore independent fund management company Phillip Capital Management. This will help WORQ to expand into, what it estimates to be, the RM3 billion flex-office market by 2030.
WORQ also secured loan offers from six banks — Affin Bank, Maybank, CIMB, Alliance, UOB and Ambank. It will use the funding to grow its coworking spaces 10-fold to a million sq ft and provide offices and businesses a more cost-efficient workplace solution following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“WORQ aims to offer tailor made solutions and extreme flexibility to companies. This is comparable to that of ride-hailing services, which provide on-demand rides one at a time,” said WORQ co-founder and CEO Stephanie Ping in a press conference today.
“By selling office usage to companies one desk at a time, it eliminates the need to rent and fit out an office. WORQ’s space-on-demand solutions will allow companies to implement a distributed work style, as well as being able to sell one desk multiple times over and increase efficiency of space usage.”
According to WORQ, JLL Research states that flexible office spaces only make up 1% of the total office space in Kuala Lumpur. Flexible space demand is expected to accelerate due to the pandemic and 30% of all office space will be consumed flexibly by 2030.
Since its inception in March 2017, WORQ has been profitable. It takes an average of three months to fill up its coworking spaces, which have grown its footprint seven times and revenue by 560%.
With its sustainable model, WORQ is able to turn around loss-making spaces even in quiet locations. The operator has made an acquisition of another flexible space into its portfolio for this purpose. It is also looking to inorganically expand its portfolio via acquisitions and partnerships with other coworking space operators and landlords.
WORQ has expanded its services to include WORQ Enterprise, a space-on-demand division dedicated to consulting and customising workspaces for companies. These integrated solutions will help companies to save up to 30% in costs monthly.
WORQ also helps to facilitate collaboration by introducing a community workstyle. “A community workstyle is powerful because one will find great value to tap into the community when he or she needs help or someone to collaborate with,” said Ping.
According to WORQ co-founder and CFO Andrew Yeow, people are getting used to an on-demand subscription-based economy and will prefer to consume things on the go without having to invest or commit to a space.
“Nowadays, having flexibility and not having to commit too much capital upfront makes a big difference and this can also be seen in larger MNCs. They will come to us as a service provider to help them breach the requirement that they need for a year or so. In a way, this concept has now become mainstream,” he said.
WORQ will soon launch its proprietary app — SPARQ — to create an online-offline experience for its users. “This will spawn local communities everywhere, thereby canvassing the globe with productive hyper-localised communities over the world. Ultimately, WORQ’s vision is to help people prosper by working together,” Ping said.