sat down with CEO DeShawn Brown from Coworks, where they discussed how Coworks has reached where it is today, and what’s in the pipeline for the future.
What is Coworks and how does it work?
Coworks is space management software. But really, it’s the operating system for the future of work. Flex space, coworking spaces, hybrid offices… Our software can help automate all the backend work, from billing to room booking, creating and promoting events to providing a member app, and everything in between.
What sparked the idea, and what have you achieved so far?
Interestingly, it was working out of a coworking community that sparked the idea for a better, more streamlined platform that would make life easier for the day to day management as well as for the members to use the space. My first company was working from a space and we loved it — the community, the energy, the proximity to other innovators. But I saw the managers struggling with repetitive tasks and systems I knew could be streamlined. So we built Coworks.
How does your mission differ from the other coworking management platforms?
Our software emphasizes the community aspects of coworking
. Because without a robust community, you’re just renting offices. Coworking is about culture and connection. We want our software to amplify that human aspect, bringing automation and integration to the back end so the managers and operators can focus on delivering a fantastic experience to members.
What problems do coworking managers have when they come to you, and what other solutions have they tried?
They want more time in their day. They get stuck behind a laptop, and they can’t be out in the space, connecting with members, cultivating the relationships and opportunities that make a coworking space more than just real estate. And they’ve tried one of two approaches: a DIY solution that duct-tapes together various (and free) tools that don’t talk to each other, or a bulky facilities management platform that has more features and functions than they need, and requires an intense amount of training to use.
And what makes them eventually choose you over your competitors?
When we get to show coworking operators our platform, there are audible ‘aha’ moments. It’s a member-first platform, and each feature we demo earns “I need that.” Or “I needed that yesterday.” Or “My members will love that.”
What integrations and other tools are your customers mostly using in combination with Coworks?
Coworks integrates with thousands of other tools, but in particular, the software works with door access solutions such as Brivo, Kisi, Salto, and Doordeck, as well as CRMs such as Salesforce or HubSpot, and billing tools such as Quickbooks.
What kind of coworking business benefits from Coworks?
The answer isn’t straightforward. That’s because ‘coworking’ has become an umbrella term for any community based space, and we work with traditional hot desk and office spaces, as well a makerspaces that welcome artisans and crafters, social clubs that host whiskey tastings and sushi nights, childcare-focused spaces for working parents, wet lab and flex science workspaces, even wellness centers that offer yoga, massage, Reiki, and therapy. Our software works on all these various models.
What do you see in the future of your industry, and how do you plan to cope?
The future of coworking is incredibly exciting. New operators are solving problems for their community in creative and innovative ways. Spaces are opening in suburban and rural areas to expand access and connect people like never before. We believe the future of work is flexible, and Coworks is especially designed to help deliver on that promise