#Asia Amid global co-working boom, ‘Airbnb for workspaces’ lands in Jakarta



Mario Berta started Flyspaces in August 2015. Photo credit: Flyspaces’ Facebook.

FlySpaces describes itself as an Airbnb for office spaces.

Similar to what Airbnb does for private homes, FlySpaces lets office space owners list underutilized assets, be it meeting rooms, desks in a shared space, or private offices. Those looking for flexible work arrangements can book whatever suits their needs at a given time.

The company, headquartered in Manila, first launched in the Philippines in 2015 and went live in Singapore a few months later. It’s since become available in Hong Kong, Macau, and Kuala Lumpur – and, most recently, Jakarta.

FlySpaces CEO Mario Berta points out factors that make him believe FlySpaces will catch on in Indonesia’s capital. It’s the high number of small and medium enterprises registered in the city, along with fast-growing tech companies like Go-Jek and Tokopedia. They all could benefit from short-term, flexible workspace arrangements instead of having to commit to long-term contracts and outfitting costs.

Jakarta’s infamous traffic also works in the startup’s favor, Mario says. Instead of wasting employees’ time in a long commute, companies could benefit from establishing remote work options or even flexible options where employees can check in at multiple locations.

Co-working boom

Flexible office arrangements are a global trend – one that’s increasingly attracting the attention of venture capital.

US company WeWork raked in a total of over one billion dollars in VC cash to scale its co-working concept across the globe, including to Asia. It’s now apparently raising even more.

Also this week, a Chinese WeWork competitor, 5Lmeet, scored funding from Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC in a US$14.55 million round.

FlySpaces is different in that it is a marketplace for existing space providers; it doesn’t operate spaces on its own. It’s been able to grow on the back of a US$500,000 seed round raised in early 2016.

For its Jakarta launch, FlySpaces partnered with Regus, a multinational company that operates virtual office spaces and serviced office around the globe. That means Regus’ spaces in the city are among those already available through FlySpaces. Since launching in Jakarta, the startup has listed some 100 offers in the city, and plans to grow that to about 300 or 400.

XWork is a local startup with a concept comparable to FlySpaces.

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