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Not many businesses go from 0 to 60 employees in under two years. VaynerMedia arrived in London from its New York headquarters in February 2016 and has been cementing its business here ever since. The rapid growth of the digital agency, which works with businesses of all sizes in video production, media planning and influencer marketing, has resulted in several workspace changes. With the help of Kontor, Vayner has now secured two floors in a building managed by The Boutique Workspace Company in Shoreditch and the team has big plans for how it will use the space. Finance manager Ryan Fitzpatrick gives us the details of the search.
VaynerMedia’s London growth is impressive. How did it start?
Eric Fulwiler, our London Managing Director, came over from New York in February 2016, tasked with building a network and to see how business went really. Almost instantly we won quite a bit of work, so the company sent over more people and hired a few people locally. We were up to 25 people in just a few months.
By February 2017 we moved from WeWork to a bigger space in a managed building as the agency had escalated so quickly. We’re now almost 60 people and by the time we’re in our new space we could top that.
Will the agency keep growing at such a fast pace?
Next year, who knows – we’ve grown so quickly globally as well as in London. It can be hard to predict but growth might be steadier next year, perhaps reaching 70 by the end of the year. This is why we wanted a flexible space to work, somewhere we can grow into.
You’ve signed for two floors in a workspace managed by Boutique Workplace. How many people can this accommodate?
In the current setup, the new space could accommodate 130 but if we move some things around wecould get 150 across the two floors. We have the option to take the basement level as well throughout the agreement. I think the golden rule for an agency like us is that once you need 10,000 sq ft you should look to take your own lease, so perhaps we’ll consider that in the future. At the moment, a managed space suits us down to the ground.
What are the main benefits to a managed workspace?
I’ve been very impressed with Boutique as although they’re happy for us to make the space how we want it, we still get 99% of the benefits of being in a managed space. For example, as well as all facilities management we can use event space in their other locations and go to their monthly networking events.
A lease might be cheaper, but once you reach space for 120 people you have to factor in hiring facilities staff on site, IT and so on and the discount isn’t so huge.
How important was it to find a workspace that you could brand and make your own space?
Although we ideally wanted flexible space rather than a lease, part of our criteria was always related to the ability to make a VaynerMedia office. We weren’t sure how far we wanted to go with that.
Our CEO is really keen to get our art and branding on the walls and Boutique have been great at giving us free reign to design the space as we want. Some of the more established managed space operators were less open to letting us do our own fit out so it’s great we ended up finding Boutique. They are one of the up-and- coming operators that are breaking into the UK market, willing to give more flexibility.
What other criteria did you have – a specific location?
When the team first came over from New York they were based in a WeWork around the corner from here, so they moved close by to be able to walk to work. So ideally we wanted to stay in the Shoreditch, Old Street area. During the search we did open our minds to look at Clerkenwell, Southwark, London Bridge and so on but always either east, central or just south of the river. This location was perfect though.
How many workspaces did you see during the search?
We probably saw 15-20 spaces. Working with Kontor has been brilliant. Sam is always very energetic at getting us into a space within the timeframe we’re looking at and always took us to places that were close to matching our criteria. Kontor has a great network of people to rely on and often got us to the front of the queue to view properties.
What’s next for VaynerMedia?
We’ve grown quickly and next year we have the potential to grow further. We have a lot in the pipeline, not just in London but opportunities across the UK and Europe. A long-term goal could be to make London a hub and take the business from there. It’s great to get a workspace sorted now that will allow us to grow as we need to.