INTERVIEW: Spacehop

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As a blogger and occasional freelance content creator, I have the privilege of working from home at times. To many of you I’m sure this sounds like bliss, PJs on, endless cups of tea on tap, access to all of your favourite snacks, and I’ll admit, when you put it like that it does sound like a fairly ideal working space. But believe it or not, working from home definitely has its cons and sometimes you just need a change of scenery to really get down to business. This is where the ingenious start up, Spacehop comes in.

Spacehop was launched in January 2016 providing the Air B’n’B style office answer that  freelancers have been dreaming of. Spacehop is a service that works with hosts and freelancers to provide a working space for freelancers and some extra cash for hosts as you rent out other people’s homes to work in. The idea, simple. The results, next level.

I was lucky enough to interview Luke Eastwood, Co-Founder and COO of Spacehop and pick his brain about the business.

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Talk us through how the idea for Spacehop came about and how you were involved in the process of bringing Spacehop to life.

Matt Beatty the CEO had the idea for Spacehop a couple of years ago. He wanted to help make work space more affordable for freelancers and start-ups whilst making the most of beautiful under-utilised space. Matt is an old school friend and we discussed the legal ramifications of people using their space this way. I began by helping him work through these issues before eventually joining full time as the COO.  

Prior to Spacehop you were living in Northern Ireland with a career in Law. Changing your career and moving to London must have meant that you really believed in the idea and quite rightly so. What was it about the idea that really sparked your interest and your confidence in the concept?

I felt advances in technology meant working from a traditional office was no longer necessary. I could not see why so many businesses would burn thousands of pounds every month for rent when all their employees needed to do a job was a laptop and a WIFI connection. A lot of businesses still do this but many are starting to see the benefits of letting people go freelance and reducing their overheads. I expect this trend to continue and perhaps accelerate over the next few years and Spacehop is very well placed to lead this new industry.  

With a focus on the idea of being “Built by freelancers. For Freelancers” as advertised on your website, what are some of the key benefits of using Spacehop both as a host and as a “Hopper”?

From a host perspective it is an easy way to make money from your space. All guests are ID verified and we provide free insurance. You set the days and hours you’d be willing to have people work from the property and the price. We transfer the money following the booking. From a hopper perspective you can find your ideal workspace. Our spaces are beautiful, in some of the most desirable postcodes in the UK and available at a fraction of the cost of a co working facility or traditional office. 

Since the success of Air B’n’B, the idea of renting out your home to others has really taken off. What is it that sets Spacehop apart from other competitors on the market?

Spacehop is the UK’s only residential co working provider, separate individuals can book into the same space and co work for the day if they choose, giving a really good opportunity to meet new people and network and making it more affordable for the money conscious. We also have the lowest service fee’s of any sharing economy business with a free group insurance policy for all hosts. 

Was it difficult to get homeowners on board to work with Spacehop in the beginning? How were you able to convince them?

It was difficult to get properties at the start yes, we met a lot of homeowners for coffees and talked them through it, gave demonstrations of the prototype website and took any questions they had. It was slow going but as soon as hosts started getting bookings they told their friends and word spread from positive referrals. The beginning was definitely difficult. 

Do you have any plans for expansion and bringing Spacehop to other cities both within the UK and further afield?

Yes, 2017 should be exciting. We have plans to expand. 

Can you give us any clues as to what we can expect from Spacehop in the future? 

We want to keep improving and simplifying the process. We will be bringing out a new and improved website shortly. 

What has been your highlight while working for Spacehop and bringing it to life?

There have been a lot of highlights and we have been lucky enough to meet some really interesting people and do some amazing things since starting. Having said that if it were to end tomorrow I would miss the banter we have in the office everyday the most. It is a very fun place to work with a great atmosphere. 

Lastly, having pulled off setting up Spacehop with the rest of the team so well, do you have any parting advice for young entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

I think it’s important to just start. Make a plan, write it down and try to stick to it. 

Thank you to Luke for participating in this interview. Spacehop is definitely one to watch and here’s hoping we see it coming to a city near you soon!

 

Niamh ♥
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