Industry/sector: Office space
Date founded: 2013
Founders: Guillaume Santacruz
Zipcube.com is an online marketplace that allows users to search, filter and book meeting spaces on-demand. Established by CEO Guillaume Santacruz in November 2013, this innovative service was built with the intention of changing how people meet, and how companies view working spaces.
By signing up to Zipcube.com, companies can list rooms online and make money from the rooms not used by inviting other people to host meetings in them. Businesses are able to book an affordable room anytime and anywhere, no longer needing to be concerned about hosting clients in noisy coffee shops or hectic bars.
Santacruz discovered that it takes personal assistants an average of 92 minutes to find and book appropriate meeting rooms and over two hours for entire venues. With 80 per cent using Google to locate a room and then having to wait on enquiry sites to get back to them, many don’t even have images or room specifications. Holidays can be booked, cars can be rented and even plastic surgeries can be arranged online, but so far no website has allowed users to book meeting rooms.
Meanwhile, companies are tied into costly office leases of up to ten years, with private meetings rooms vacant on average 60 per cent of the time. Likewise, restaurants have private dining rooms sat empty throughout the day and a host of businesses have rooms free which could be used for meetings – bringing in potential new customers in the process.
Venue hire for meetings and events was valued at £4.5bn in the UK in 2011, of which £1.6bn was business meetings for 12 people or more and at least four hours in length. Zipcube.com is targeting this market. The vast majority of the bookings the firm takes are for 15 people or less, with 74 per cent being for eight people or less, the average booking being for 4.3 hours.
Zipcube.com already has three times the number of venues as Regus – the biggest player in the market – in the centre of London. It is the biggest provider of meeting bookings for the likes of The Office Group and Avanta. By partnering with private offices and non-traditional venue spaces, it is working to create a more affordable marketplace for customers, not limited to locations with hotel chains and managed service providers. The company currently receives over 170 bookings each month without any partnership deals or a huge marketing budget, and is now ready to make Zipcube.com synonymous with on-demand meeting rooms nationwide.
The diverse Zipcube.com team understands that so-called “smart cities” aren’t just about technology, they’re about behaviour too. Together with Santacruz, who has a background in private equity raising funds to buy and sell small businesses, the Zipcube.com management includes David Hellard, Accenture’s former events marketing lead across Europe, Asia and Latin America, and CTO Will Dugdale – who previously successfully executed projects for HSBC and the government.