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Interviews

We talk to APPBOY about their move from co-working space to a flexible solution

The Appboy workspace has an excellent feel to it; it’s cool, lofty and airy, but functional. As soon as you step out of the lift you’re greeted by the brand’s logo in black and white on the wall and a hive of activity beneath it.
Appboy is a booming mobile marketing company founded in New York, which sells software to manage interactions with customers via mobiles. The tools are used by a wide range of high-profile firms including Tinder, Domino’s and SoundCloud.

In February, Kontor helped Appboy to secure its first London office in a Business Cube managed space in Shoreditch. We quiz Dan Head, the firm’s SVP Sales, about the search for space.

When did Appboy come to London?
Appboy was launched in New York in 2011 and we opened an office in London in January 2016, which is when I came on board. We hired a handful of people and got a space in a co-working space.

What was the main benefit to starting in a co-working space?
Co-working spaces are great for a rapidly growing small team, it’s great for recruitment; if you were four people in your own office it would feel a bit soulless to a potential employee.
But once you reach a certain size – for us it was a dozen people – you need to own your brand. Every company in a co-working space exists under the brand of that space, but we wanted to hold conversations with clients in our own space under our own brand.

How did you start your search for a workspace?
I had lots of different property agencies calling me offering space, chucking spaces at us, but they didn’t understand the culture or vibe I was looking for in a workspace. Then we spoke to Kontor and the options they put on the table were all the kinds of spaces we wanted. Sam showed me the different flexible solutions for a two-year timeframe that would take the sting out of finding a space.
Kontor were great. People buy from people and Sam paid attention to what the company we are trying to grow would be like, the chemistry we were after in the space.

Did you have a fixed location in mind?
No, we had quite a wide area to look in, from Fitzrovia across to Shoreditch and down to the Southbank. Sam showed us 15 spaces and we shortlisted three.

Why did you choose this workspace?
I liked that it was newly fitted out, it was immaculate when we moved in. It’s not just a rectangular box; it has a nice vibe because it’s not a regular space. The balcony is excellent, as well as the space for phone booths and a meeting room. I really like the building itself; there are only five or six other companies in here so it’s not too busy.
The location is ideal on Worship Street. It’s not grimy Shoreditch, but it’s not a suited and booted city office. It’s a bit of both so it’s perfect for making a statement about how Appboy has grown up.

What’s the main benefit to taking a managed space?
We still have to have an office manager to sort the space, buy food, organise meeting rooms and so on, but if it wasn’t managed we would also have to handle costs of cleaning, maintenance and so on. That’s a level of noise that a company of our size doesn’t need.

Do you have plans to grow into the space?
We’re 22 at the moment and this office will hold up to 35. By the end of the year we’ll be 25 or 26 people; next year we’ll climb into the 30s. This space can scale with that. At the moment everyone has the luxury of a lot of space so we’ll be a bit cosier, but we have lots of sales people who will be on the road a lot of the time. People can rotate desks.

What’s the future of Appboy looking like?
The market we are in is so dynamic that we’re consistently releasing new features and growing the team and our client roster as the demand for the Appboy product continues to grow. We are always looking ahead, and it’s looking quite bright.

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