Helping a coworking startup design and build a subscription service that allows members to book desks in venue spaces and network with other members.

The brief

How we work is changing. From the way companies rent space to the shift towards flexible and remote working accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic – the traditional office is no longer the norm.

This was the insight behind AndCo, a platform that turns hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants into coworking spaces available on-demand to freelancers, remote workers and anyone else with a need for flexible, local workspace.

Founders Sanj and Tom came to us with their vision when the company was at an early stage. We worked with them over an 18 month period to develop the concept and launch the product. We then supported them through subsequent funding rounds, adding features and expanding the service to hundreds of venues across the UK.

Developing the concept

The first design challenge was to understand the needs of the different users involved. The central idea of AndCo is a two-sided marketplace that helps workers by giving them access to great places to work, and helps venues by bringing in new customers during quiet times of the week.

Workers had a few existing options – their company's office, working from home, working from cafes, paying for a co-working membership etc. We researched each to identify pain points and understand where AndCo fit.

Venues posed an interesting challenge from an operational perspective. With a high turnover of staff and no experience running their spaces as workspaces, how would we ensure a consistently positive in-venue experience for members? Our solution was to develop a series of prompts and onboarding tools to educate the venue staff. We also built a venue dashboard so staff could view and manage bookings.

Based on this research our team developed prototypes to test and refine the product concept. As part of this process we also explored various pricing models and user and venue acquisition strategies which all fed in to the product design.

The outcome of this was a design ready to be taken into production, a technical scope for the platform and a product roadmap for launch and beyond.

From the way companies rent space to the shift towards flexible and remote working accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic – the traditional office is no longer the norm.

Our solution

We started by building a responsive web app using ReactJS for the frontend and Node, Express and MongoDB for the backend.

We also built integrations with the wifi routers that AndCo installed in each venue. These routers ensured AndCo members got consistently fast and secure internet that they could log into with their AndCo account. Later we created an advertising space within the wifi popup which allowed AndCo to run venue specific promotions and paid brand partnerships, creating a new revenue stream.

Members can browse venues, book desks and manage their monthly subscription. In-venue they can join the AndCo Wifi, extend their booking and claim exclusive member discounts.

We also built networking features which allow members to create profiles and see the other people in the same venue as them. Members get a prompt when they make a booking to connect with other members with relevant skills and interests.

Venues can set their opening hours, create discounts and view upcoming bookings. They can also get stats about footfall and bookings, which we generated from both bookings and the data provided by the wifi portals.

After the launch of the web app we built a React Native iOS app. The iOS app helped to increase engagement and reduced churn, and has received positive feedback from members.

The outcome

AndCo has grown rapidly since launch and is now the leader in its category with hundreds of venues already across the UK.

We worked closely with AndCo from their launch in 2018 operating as their sole tech team leading design, development and product strategy. In addition to this we provided data analysis and insights, helped develop and implement growth strategies and researched new ways to optimise and improve the product.

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