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Interviews

We talk to Geckoboard co-founder Paul Joyce

The office of tech company Geckoboard oozes Shoreditch cool. Its huge windows mean the top floor space is light and airy, with a design-led fit out that makes it a space that you just want to hang out in. It’s an ideal space for a growing company like Geckoboard, which provides an online dashboard displaying a business’s key metrics in real time.

Kontor helped Geckoboard to find the space earlier this year, which is sub-let from food brand Hello Fresh. We talk to CEO and Co-founder Paul Joyce about his search for the perfect office.

What’s the background to Geckoboard?
I had the idea for the business in March 2010 while I was working in financial tech. I initially started the business in my spare room, but soon I was spending so much time on it that I left my job and started to run the business full time.

In October 2011 I took three desks in a shared space. We were there for six months until I closed a funding round and we found our first own space.

In 2015 we doubled staff numbers, added more in 2016 and will add more in 2017. Now we’re close to 40 people; we had three job offers accepted this week so we’re growing fast. Most of the team work in London, but we have remote staff members all over the world to provide support, for example in Mumbai, Seattle, Hawaii.

Why did you start looking for a new office last year?
We were outgrowing our office, although we had also taken the office next door. We had already reduced desk sizes to make better use of the existing space – they were big to begin with though!

It was also a very cheap office; it was a badly maintained block, leaking ceiling, mice, security problems. It was perfect for what we needed when we took it, but the company had matured and we wanted an office that reflected that. We don’t have clients come to visit so that wasn’t a priority, but we wanted a space that was comfortable for employees.

My business philosophy is not to spend money that we can’t afford, but we have grown revenues to the point that we could afford a better office.

What were your main criteria for a new office?
We needed room to grow even more. We didn’t want to feel cramped again quickly.

The other pinch point was that we needed more meeting space. Before, we only had one meeting room. Here, we have three great meeting rooms and also access to the theatre and spaces in the rest of the building.

We didn’t want to change the location of the office. People come to work from all over the place and they’d signed up to travel to this area. It’s also a great area to be in.

Sub-letting from another company is a cross between a managed space and your own lease; what were you looking for?
We were open minded about the type of lease, but wanted to commit to at least three years. It gives us the ability to plan our future without the worry of having to move again, but it’s not too long as we know we’re going to grow. We can fit more people in here easily so it’ll be ideal for a while yet.

Hello Fresh organise a lot of the maintenance and so on, so it’s almost a managed space, but we brought our own furniture to make it our own.

Why did you speak to Kontor?
It’s daunting finding a new place, particularly if it’s not your core competency. It made sense for us to partner with someone who knows the lie of the land.

With Kontor we had an initial consultation about what we were looking for, such as area, type of space, and Jack came up with a list of proposals. We were looking in an area that stretched from Liverpool Street to Clerkenwell and Kings Cross, so we looked at more than a dozen places in two days. They were great at showing different options.

Why did you choose this space?
As soon as we came out of the lift, I said “sold”. This is it. It’s so light, it’s comfortable, there’s room to grow and excellent meeting rooms that we sound-proofed ourselves.

Finding the right space is important for recruitment. If you want people to spend time in the office it has to be a comfortable environment. We’ve never been a battery farm aiming to get the most out of people, but we want people to enjoy being here.

Now you’re settled in your new space, what’s ahead for Geckoboard?
We grow when there’s revenue to grow, which is fast at the moment, so we’re only going to get bigger and more established.

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