WORQ Raises Up-Round of US$2.4mil to Expand in US$724mil Flexi-Office Market
By Digital News Asia September 23, 2020
- Grow space under management by 10 times to 1 mil sq ft in five years
- Grown revenue by 560% since last fundraise in 2018, footprint by 7x
Malaysia-based coworking space firm WORQ has secured US$2.4 million (RM10 million) in funding from seven follow-on investors, including the regional investment group Phillip Capital, to help capture a fast-growing flexi-office market projected to surpass US$724 million (RM3 billion) in value in 2030.
WORQ, which has also secured loan offers from six banks including Affin, will use the funds to grow its space under management 10-fold to one million square feet, helping offices and businesses pivot to a more cost-efficient workplace solution following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite fundraising post-WeWork’s delayed IPO and during a challenging Covid-19 funding environment, WORQ successfully raised funds from seven follow-on investors. WORQ is founded by Stephanie Ping (pic), former Axis-REIT Head of Business Development and Andrew Yeow, a former fund manager and equities analyst at CIMB Principal.
A WORQ-able formula for the coworking space industry
WORQ has been profitable since inception in March 2017 with three months being the average time it takes to fill up their outlets. In the two years since its last fundraising round, WORQ has grown its footprint by seven-fold and its revenue by 560%.
Third time follow-on investor and cofounder of the successfully acquired startup JobsCentral, Huang Shao-Ning says: “WORQ has definitely found the elusive secret sauce for the space-on-demand market compared to its better-funded peers. Its fast growth model, coupled with a low-risk profile, is one of the healthiest and rewarding models out there.”
With its sustainable model, WORQ is able to help turnaround loss-making spaces even in quiet locations. Looking to inorganically expand its portfolio via acquisitions and partnerships with other coworking space operators and landlords, WORQ has already made an acquisition of a flexible space into its portfolio for this purpose.
Gearing up for faster space-on-demand adoption
According to global real estate player Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), flexible office spaces only make up 1% of Kuala Lumpur’s total office space. JLL estimates that flexible space demand will accelerate due to Covid-19, predicting that 30% of all office space will be consumed flexibly by 2030. WORQ estimates that the flexible office market in Malaysia will grow to RM3 billion by then.
“WORQ’s strategy is to offer tailor-made solutions and extreme flexibility to companies. This is comparable to that of ride-hailing services, which offer on-demand rides one at a time. WORQ sells office usage to companies one desk at a time, eliminating the need to rent and fit out an office.
WORQ’s space-on-demand solutions allow companies to implement a distributed work style. In this new environment, WORQ can sell one desk multiple times over and increase efficiency of space usage,” says Ping.
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 help companies save up to 30% in costs every month.
WORQ has won international MNC accounts and has purpose-built headquarters for its clients in Malaysia including some 500-strong teams for the likes of multinationals such as top-tier banks and one of the world’s largest advertising firms headquartered in London.
Multiplying worldwide productivity through hyper-localised communities
WORQ plans to go further than providing office spaces and ultimately aims to induce collaboration by introducing a community workstyle. “A community workstyle is powerful because, at any moment that you need help, or someone to collaborate with, you will find great value in being able to tap into the community,” says Ping.
WORQ will soon be launching its proprietary community app, SPARQ to create an online-offline experience for its users. “This spawns local communities everywhere, thereby canvassing the globe with productive hyper-localised communities all over the world. Ultimately, WORQ’s vision is to help people prosper by working together,” she adds.