Co-working spaces are nothing new, as businesses need a place to manage their operations and can frequently not afford anything fancy to call their own. But these are established, full-time workspaces and even they may be a bit pricey for companies that are just getting started. Taking inspiration from Airbnb, London-based Vrumi launched in January with the goal of offering businesses
The service functions as a typical marketplace, allowing property-owners to create profiles and then list the room, indicating available amenities, describing the spot, and including directions. Vrumi says that prices start at 15 pounds/hour (or 18 per day), but they vary wildly, depending on the area and type of room. There seem to be about a dozen available spots at the moment, with prices typically ranging from 40-240 pounds. If you are really willing to shell out some cash, you can even rent out a chapel for 480 pounds. As with many marketplaces, Vrumi has decided upon a commission-based revenue model, taking a 5-15% cut of each completed transaction.
One of the things that struck me about Vrumi was the way that they have sought external investment. Although they did “have some support”, as Head of Content Asim Haneef puts it, the startup realized that they wanted to offer the average person an opportunity to invest and do a trial run for future investment. So, they decided to turn to the British public with a campaign on investment-crowdfunding platform Seedrs. Offering the public 21.1% in equity, Vrumi shot for 400,000 pounds during the recently-concluded campaign, but greatly exceeded their target, reaching their goal within just over 24 hours after going live and decided to continue on, ultimately taking home 938,000. Although they are currently operating in London, Vrumi intends to use the funding to rapidly expand, spending the next 12 months building their business in the U.K. and taking it overseas.