On paper, setting up a new business a few months before the lockdown stopped everyone in their tracks might seem like bad timing, but Graham Clarke, co-founder of BaseWorx – a cloud-based platform for managing flexible and shared work spaces – says Covid actually heightened interest in his company’s product as businesses realised their staffing and space requirements were likely to be significantly different when the pandemic was over.
“The original BaseWorx solution was designed for flex space operators managing a single location who wanted an off-the-shelf booking system to embed in their websites. What we have developed since are two companion products, one each for multiple hub operators and for those managing a hybrid working team,” says Clarke, who cofounded the business with Keith Killilea and Kevin McSharry in October 2019.
All three co-founders have previous start-up experience and come from backgrounds in coworking/corporate incubation space, web technology and software development and finance and business strategy, respectively. The company is located in Galway and Skibbereen and employs eight people full time.
The system allows users to see who is working remotely and who is in the office, thereby streamlining communication and collaboration between team members
“The original BaseWorx product can be white labelled to suit the branding of individual hub operators and, as the system can be up and running very quickly, a hub can begin onboarding new or existing clients almost immediately,” says Clarke. “Members have access to their own dashboard to manage their bookings and records, and payments and invoices are generated and managed by the system to reduce the administrative burden.
“The Multihub product is designed to help operators to scale and create a marketplace solely for their portfolio of locations. One of its key advantages is that it automates a number of business functions on a single system including sales book information, customer resource management and companywide analytics.
“Our Hybrid product, which obviously has significant growth potential now with the mass migration to more flexible working arrangements, essentially improves the efficient allocation of workspace and resources for companies moving from traditional office settings to hybrid,” says Clarke.
“It offers a centralised means of managing employees working from different places, and the software has a calendar view with a scheduling system that allows employees to reserve their meeting rooms and desk spaces with just a few clicks. The system also allows users to see who is working remotely and who is in the office, thereby streamlining communication and collaboration between team members.”
Clarke says the Hybrid product is suitable for different types of business, including SMEs looking to improve productivity with a hybrid work model; and large corporates that want to implement flexible working practices to improve collaboration and reduce costs. It will also work for companies that are upsizing or downsizing and for businesses that require what Clarke describes as “a dynamic, adaptable working environment such as creative industries, tech start-ups, and consultancy firms”.
There was definitely an initial moment of panic when Covid hit but it allowed us to take time to refine the product based on the feedback from early customers
BaseWorx has been backed to the tune of about €500,000 by it co-founders with support from Cork North and West LEO and Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme. The revenue model is SaaS (software as a service) and pricing is based on individual requirements. BaseWorx is not looking for investment at this time but Clarke says the founders are always open to offers.
“There was definitely an initial moment of panic when Covid hit but it allowed us to take time to refine the product based on the feedback from early customers,” says Clarke. “The technology has been designed to scale, and our future growth potential is very much in overseas markets. We’ve already had interest in our platform from some unusual locations, such as the Highlands and islands in Scotland, and the Basque region. Coworking spaces are quite different in different countries. In the US it’s all about revenue and bums on seats. In Europe it tends to be more about regional development and encouraging people out of urban locations.”