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Spotlight on… Risk Ledger

At home on Old Street - The perfect pairing for a cybersecurity startup

Old Street feels like a long-standing location in the startup and scaleup world. One of London’s most dynamic areas, frequently seen as a space for tech businesses wanting to enjoy the buzz of Shoreditch in close proximity to commuting hubs like Liverpool Street.

Cybersecurity startup Risk Ledger needed a new London base. Somewhere they could shape themselves, collaborate, and grow. So when Tasha Giddings took on the task, the completely fresh design and ideal location of Mindspace ended up being just the ticket.

📍 Old Street 

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Meg Manjunath, Head of People is joined by Tasha Giddings, Associate Director at Kontor.

👉 A brief overview 

As a relatively young business, Risk Ledger’s 4 years of operating now reflects a 40-strong team.

Kontor’s name came up in the process of conducting research around event space, and after bookmarking it for a few months when the time came for them to look for a new office, we were the first name Risk Ledger thought of.

"We actually had no idea what we were looking for in an office at first!” admits Meg, “That was a huge part of the help Tasha provided. I laid out a rough guide on what we needed in terms of space, pricing and facilities, to which Kontor provided various options, complete with pros and cons.”

The wider team was then able to come on the journey with Meg, including Risk Ledger’s CEO and Co-Founder, Haydn Brooks. 

👉 The perfect match

When it came to selecting a broker to work with, what was the deciding factor in choosing Kontor? 

"The level of confidence you get out of the initial conversation was what really stood out,” relays Meg, "Tasha was very knowledgeable, she came armed with loads of insight and was warm, friendly and engaging, so I walked away revelling in that level of brand credibility.”

And what about the all-important location? Risk Ledger had somewhat of an open mind to begin with, but business feedback paired with co-worker preference was to settle around Shoreditch or Liverpool Street.

“We didn’t want to cause a huge change in the team’s existing routine and commute” Meg explains, “plus it’s a tech hub, so it was nice to stay in the area.” 

Knowing their way around the neighbourhood thanks to a previous coworking spot was another selling point.

Although the team were also seeking a more private feel in an office, they were open to a set-up such as this one, where contact with other businesses was easily accessible thanks to spacious, inviting communal areas and regular networking events.

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👉 Overcoming pain points

Flexibility was a huge deciding factor as a startup - the team are still feeling their way through ways of working, and with this, the realisation of knowing they wouldn’t be able to commit to an office for 2-3 years.

Meg continues: "We also had to understand the size of the office that would work best for us. We started by saying 1,500 sq. ft. might be fine, but soon realised that wouldn’t suffice, especially as we went through the ranks for area separation and different working spots.”

👉 Grand designs  

How does a cybersecurity startup create a space which reflects their brand? 

Feedback from the team resulted in understanding the importance of collaborating cross-functionally, and having the space to do so was key to building relationships in-person.

"We said from the get-go that separation in different areas of the office would be beneficial - we ended up with several areas which work for everyone; spaces where the engineers can enjoy some peace and quiet, collaboration areas such as meeting rooms or this space we’re in now,” Meg gestures to the large deep burnt orange sofa we’re sat on which forms the basis of the break-out area, next to phone booths and the kitchen. 

Tash agrees: "It was obvious from the get-go you wouldn’t want anything stagnant or corporate, it needed to feel homely.” 

Aside from a host of varied working areas, a dynamic, curious and enthusiastic young team paved the way for an office which mirrored these values.

"We’ve grown but haven’t lost that culture of being a laid back business,” Meg points out, “Everyone works hard but is trusted in what they do so we were never going to end up at a stiff office.”

She continues: “And Tasha just got it. You knew what we were looking for and we ended up somewhere everyone loves.”

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👉 The must-haves 

Privacy // Akin to the nature of the brand, Risk Ledger prioritised a high level of security within all aspects of the office.

Fresh aesthetic // Out with the sad, sleepy look. The office itself was completely new, with rich furniture and warm inviting tones - so we considered this one a win-win. 

Flexibility // Mainly how the space worked for the team, crafting those unique areas to suit individual needs as well as making use of the communal areas.

Nailing all 3 of these must-haves means the team is admittedly more inclined to feel excited about coming into the office, and in true Kontor fashion, phone booths have been one of the biggest selling points.

👉 Honing in on hybrid 

Risk Ledger’s hybrid working policy puts employees at the forefront, and is fondly referred to as a hybrid working guide.

"Establishing a guide over a policy was important for us. We’re a team of adults but just need to ensure guardrails and guidance are in place to steer the direction.” Confirms Meg. 

Two days a week in the office is standard, and with a company-wide All Hands taking place every Thursday, the team uses this as their main anchor day to come together. 

"Nothing is mandated but we do strongly encourage everyone to take it seriously. We want people to want to come in, but enforcing it can sometimes have the opposite effect, we’re striving to educate on the importance of a growing company being able to connect in-person and want that to resonate organically,” Meg enthuses. 

Encouragement and guidance in the right direction sounds like it’s working well for Risk Ledger, who are also open about external factors such as the cost of travel commuting into London, as well as prioritising personal wellbeing alongside the needs of the business.

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👉 Words of wisdom 

What about any wise words of advice for businesses in the same position? 

Meg is happy to elaborate: "Listen to the subject matter experts and take the time to understand what’s being said. Kontor guided us and kept us updated every step of the way, which made myself and the team feel brought into it.”

"Also, pinpoint a singular point of contact to drive things forward - in total four team members were involved in the viewings and decision-making but I took the lead to ensure it wasn’t confusing for Tasha on who to communicate with…

…Oh, and make use of the dedicated Slack channel, that’s a must.”

👉 End game 

As we begin to wrap everything up, we move onto the highlights of working with Kontor, notably why Risk Ledger settled on us.  

"The highlight of working together? Tasha!” Meg smiles happily.

"But genuinely, the quality of service, knowledge and expertise were what we bought into. We really trusted Tasha and she displayed a great level of credibility for Kontor. She showed integrity, patience, was available when we needed her and honest when things needed tweaking.”

As the first clients to sign at this new space, Tasha’s experience of the process reflected that of Meg’s: 

“We understood each other, you were very open to advice and I really looked forward to the viewings as everything would run smoothly. Knowing Mindspace was being so accommodating boded well to how the process was going to run, which filled me with confidence, too.”

What about the end goal? 

Upon collating detailed team feedback on their previous office not allowing for enough space, a fundraising round and a refreshed strategy, the need to collaborate cross-functionally and nurture those in-person relationships was greater than ever. 

This meant the new office needed to reflect the above in pretty much everything: The aesthetics, location, and layout. 

And was it achieved?


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By Jess Ward, Content Marketing Manager

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