Rich Tehrani: Hey, it's Rich Tehrani with TMC. We're here at the Future of Work Expo, part of the IT Expo tech Super Show 2022. Deshawn Brown is with us. He's with Coworks. How are you?
DeShawn Brown: I'm doing fantastic. Glad to be here in Florida and having a great time.
RT: So where are you guys based?
DB: We're based in Raleigh, North Carolina.
RT: Oh, it's nice. Not that far.
DB: Not too far. A little bit too far to drive. So you know, had to play out but yeah, we're liking the beach vibes that you guys have here. So it's good.
RT: And we're thrilled to have you. So what do you guys do?
DB: We are with Coworks and Coworks is a coworking and flexible workspace management platform. So basically, especially since COVID, the idea of flex work and hybrid work is just top of mind for every business. We are the backend operational system to help manage any type of coworking or flex space. That's everything from room booking, member management, resources and event management. We also have a fully automated billing service. So we make running flex space super easy for the operators.
But then there's more — we actually have a member-facing and tenant-facing app so that the people that are actually day-to-day navigating the space have a simple, easy to use app that they can pull out of their pocket and book rooms, connect with each other, and just kind of optimize their experience.
RT: Like the operating system for the future of work.
DB: That's exactly right. Couldn't have said it better myself.
RT: Very impressive. What gave you the idea? Yeah,
DB: We started this company about seven years ago. This is well before COVID. And I am a startup guy. I've started different tech companies and I'm a product guy/entrepreneur, first and foremost. And just with my background, with building teams and trying to figure out where to locate them, we just kept running into the same issues of how do we build community? How do we have an office ready to go so that we can get back to work?
I got exposed to this idea of coworking as early as back at university. I went to NC State University and they had this little entrepreneurship incubator there. So to me, I just had these little experiences that eventually led to me saying, hey, there's gotta be a better way to work, and I sought out coworking. I just became instantly convinced that one day this is going to be the future.
Now, I had no idea that a global pandemic would happen that just shifted the whole fabric and the heart the way that we work. But I think all it's done is really proven the vision that I had back then that people want something flexible. They want something convenient, but there's got to be some tools to accommodate that.
RT: Excellent. So I just want to verify that someone's watching and the right target audience that they know how to reach out to you. It sounds, if I understand it, if I'm a medium to large company and I want to manage my workers and the resources, let's say the desks, the cubes, the computers, the conference rooms, etc. I can utilize your services but also, if I want to go into the business of competing with a WeWork, I can also leverage your solution.
DB: That's 100% correct. We work with everyone from small mom-and-pop coworking spaces that are serving a specific community to large operators with multilocations nationwide. And also universities and traditional offices that have hybrid workers that need a system to help them manage hot desks and manage their conference rooms.
So we've been really excited to see our addressable market really explode — this can work for anybody who's got underutilized space that wants to turn it into something flexible and easy to manage.
RT: Anything else we should know.
DB: I'll just say that we very much think flex work and hybrid work is the future. Flexible workspaces in general. I think we're really excited to be part of the conversations as far as what's the solution going forward. Everybody's thinking that we've got remote work, we've got back to office, but what's there's got to be something in the middle and we're in that conversation of “Hey, there's there's a way that you can have the best of both worlds by just changing the the mindset of your physical real estate, and making sure you've got a platform to make that easy to manage.”
RT: Thanks for being here.
DB: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me!