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#StartupStories: Hacking the flexible work spaces.

An interview with Eunice Wong and Jacky Lo, Co-founders of Quikspaces

Solving a big problem for many

Quikspaces is an online platform for flexible workspaces rental. Jacky Lo and Eunice Wong, the co-founders of Quikspaces, first came up with the idea while they were on their first venture MunchBox, a monthly healthy snacks delivery service. While they were looking for a second office space in the city, they realized how inconvenient it is to find workspaces. “If you go on Google, it doesn’t let you filter or compare and contrast,” Eunice explains. "If you want to book a hotel, you have Agoda or Expedia; if you want to book a flight, you can go to Skyscanner. So we just wanted to create a one-stop platform that allows users to search and book an office space easily, this is all about flexible workspaces.”

With the idea in mind, the two co-founders reached out to other entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and got a lot of feedback saying they have a similar experience. Jacky points out that there are two big problems when attempting to rent workspaces. Firstly, the inefficiency in booking and searching and secondly there is a lack of exposure for many flexible workspaces in town, many people still resort to committing to long leases as a default option, not knowing that flexible workspace options exist. With these problems in mind, Jacky and Eunice kickstarted their second venture Quikspaces.
W Hub, Hong Kong startup stories, interviewing Quikspaces Eunice Wong and Jacky Lo. Flexible workspaces

From lawyers to entrepreneurs. From classmates, colleagues to business partners

Jacky and Eunice were classmates in law school at the University, of Hong Kong, then joined the same international law firm and worked as colleagues. During that time, there were a lot of working late nights, which resulted in late night snacking. After many evenings consuming unhealthy snacks like cup noodles and saltine crackers, the idea for Munchbox was born.

When they first made their jump from law to entrepreneurship, Eunice says they received a lot of pressure from people around them. “A lot of people used to ask us, you used to be a lawyer and now you are selling snacks? When you put it like that, it sounds very different. Why would you want to do that!” Jacky adds that with the traditional Chinese mindset, working as a lawyer or doctor is considered something stable and pays well, so people were surprised when they left the law firm to start MunchBox.

“I guess we just want to do something different and exciting when we are still young. I have always wanted to start a business, dabble into entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is something you have to experience to understand, even though you hear people talk about it all the time,“ Eunice says.

As previous classmates and colleagues, Eunice and Jacky have got to know how they each react in a working environment. Eunice thinks they are a good mix since she is more impulsive while Jacky is more rational. Acting as business partners, Jacky manages the financial and operational aspects of the business while Eunice is more front facing tackling networking and strategic partnerships.

W Hub startup stories, interview with Quikspaces, Eunice Wong and Jacky Lo, Entrepreneurship

From Startup Weekend to Startup Studio

Eunice and Jacky heard about Startup Weekend from friends, and joined to see what it was all about. They both think that Startup Weekend is a great community which gives people the chance to get a feel for what is it like to be an entrepreneur. “I think that it is a great way to meet people, find co-founders and mentors. We still keep in touch with our team members from Startup Weekend. It was a great way to test and validate our idea for Quikspaces.”

While at Startup Weekend, Eunice and Jacky also met their business partner for the first time during the event. The two met Rafal Czerniawski, Co-founder and CEO at IC Studio, who was one of the mentors. Rafal had a similar experience when looking for his office, and had come up with a similar idea. From there, Eunice and Jacky got to know how a startup studio works.

When the two co-founders started pursuing the idea of Quikspaces, it was a different situation when compared to MunchBox, as they had a grander vision in mind and they knew that they wanted to continue to add more functionalities and features to the platform. They started looking into the startup studio model, as they thought it would be great to constantly have a team who can give feedback and help to grow the idea.

After working with IC Studio for a while now, Eunice and Jacky believe it is very different from outsourcing. Jacky points out that since IC Studio is a partner of theirs, the developing team has their best interest in mind and everyone will give constructive feedback. Whereas paying someone else to finish the task, people may just follow orders and not proactively help you to make things better.

Eunice adds that it is great to get instantaneous feedback from the IC Studio team since, it is important to have clear communication on both sides. Eunice expresses that developers think different from business people and vice versa, hence she thinks it is great to be able to work together as a team rather than outsourcing the task.

They both think that working with a startup studio helps them to accelerator their business since it is more efficient. “We started the idea of Quikspaces around late May, and we already launched our beta in early August.”

Earlier in August, Quikspaces launched their beta platform, where users can check and compare a few co-working spaces on the platform. Quikspaces has already received several thousand visitors to the website and many inquiries while still in beta, which they consider a sign that they are solving a big problem for many people, even just by providing them a platform to discover and compare workspaces available around the city. The team will continue to roll out new features in the next few months to continuously improve the platform.

W Hub, Hong Kong startup stories, interviewing Quikspaces Eunice Wong and Jacky Lo. Flexible workspaces

Hong Kong, the first step into the global market

Eunice and Jacky consider Hong Kong as a pilot city to test their idea, with the plan to expand to other countries in the future. According to their research, the market for flexible working space is huge. In Asia Pacific alone, the market is already worth US $3.2 billion.

Eunice thinks the concept of flexible working is catching on, even in Asia Pacific, as people are starting work remotely. They see a lot of people working in coffee shops and see a lot of potential in introducing all the flexible workspaces available in the market to people in need. They are targeting high-density cities like Hong Kong. In the past two years, there has been a 50% increase in flexible workspaces in this city, which makes it a great market to launch their idea. Eunice and Jacky are now focusing on startups and freelancers in the city since they believe that these people are early adopters and will always be at the forefront of technology. But they hope this concept will catch on beyond the startup community in the future.

The big vision for Quikspaces

Looking into the future of Quikspaces, Jacky says they already have several cities lined up for expansion. They want to create a network of spaces, giving people the option to work flexibly in different cities. Keeping in mind their grand vision for Quikspaces in the long run, Eunice reveals that they plan to focus on improving the functionality of the platform in the near future, like payment gateway and instant messaging.

A big part of Quikspaces’ strategy is to promote the culture of flexible workspaces by organizing offline events. “Unless people are already interested in the workspaces, an open day doesn’t always work well. So we thought about hosting an event with an interesting topic, so people who are interested in the topic would make the trip there,” Eunice says. One of the upcoming events is “Best Practices for Entrepreneurs,Startups & SMEs - Legal Edition” which Quikspaces partnered with W Hub and to give entrepreneurs and startups guidance when starting a business.

(Secure your ticket here!)

By hosting events in different venues, Jacky and Eunice hope to give the general public more chance to discover workspaces around the town, simultaneously increasing awareness for both Quikspaces and flexible workspaces in Hong Kong.

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