(photo credit: Courtesy)
To hear ostensible competitors Mindspace and WeWork tell it, there's plenty of room for everybody in the new field of shared working spaces.
“I think the market is big enough to have a few companies,” Mindspace CEO Dan Zakai told The Jerusalem Post Sunday, on the heels of its announcement that his company would be opening two new branches in Germany.
“If you combine all the co-working spaces together, it’s still a small fraction of the office market,” he said.
Both Mindspace, an Israeli company with offices in Tel Aviv on Rothschild Boulevard and Ahad Ha’am Street, and WeWork, a New York-based company that already has 53 locations in 18 cities, provide a ready-to-use office environment for companies.
Both cater to a variety of customers, including freelancers who simply want a wellequipped, regular place to work, startups that appreciate the flexibility of a space that comes complete with amenities and potential to grow and big companies that will rent out space as they expand and open new branches.
“I think there’s just a fundamental change in how people want to work,” said Eugen Miropolski, WeWork’s regional manager for Europe and Israel.
“With technology, people are becoming much more mobile and much more flexible, and people want to work on something that inspires them. And that’s not just happening in Israel; it’s happening globally.”
“Today, people spend most of their lives in their office, and they’re looking for an environment that’s more creative, challenging, flexible,” he said.
“They don’t want long-term leases and prefer a place that’s ready to go.”
Miropolski, in town on his first official visit in his role, said Israel is ripe for expansion.
WeWork has an office in Herzliya and two in Tel Aviv, the most recent of which, in Sarona, is already full, he said. Another branch is set to open in Beersheba in January. (Israel is one of just three countries outside the US where it has branches.) Yet even as Mindspace prepares new offices in Berlin and Hamburg, where WeWork does not yet operate, and considers new branches in Israel as well, WeWork agrees that the market is still big enough to handle plenty of companies that provide co-working space.
“Even other companies working on something similar is great, because we can contribute to something very good to the environment for the entrepreneurs,” Miropolski said. “I think there will be plenty of room, and the workspace area will change a lot in the next few years.”
As co-working spaces continue to grow internationally, one of the major benefits competitors will tout is the network they are building. Aside from fostering a sense of community among those sharing a building, they are aiming to connect workers in their branches around the world, which can foster useful business connections.
“Once we build a global community, then people from the US can come to Israel, and people from Israel can come to the Netherlands, and people from the Netherlands can come to the UK,” Miropolski said. “It’s great for people to build that community.”