“We were probably at too early a stage for VC funding," Ferdinando says. "We looked into debt but to do that, you have to secure everything yourself anyway so effectively you might as well put your own money up.
“We decided to set Hubworking up with directors’ loans, and pay ourselves back the same interest rate, if not slightly lower, than the bank was offering. Doing this also showed we were both committed to the business."
The next hurdle was finding a space in which to operate. Ferdinando says landlords “didn’t want to touch us” because the company was so new. “They would ask to see three years of accounts and we’d say ‘we only incorporated two weeks ago’,” he recalls.
In the end, Ferdinando and Read found Hubworking’s first centre near Liverpool Street Station through a contact. They took over the office’s lease for the last 15 months of the contract.
“They weren’t very choosy because otherwise the space would have been empty," Ferdinando says. "At the end of the 15 months, when the term expired, the landlord renewed our lease for five years. We managed to scrape our way in but it was hard.”
Hubworking launched in 2006 with that building and opened a second centre near Monument in February 2008. Ferdinando says a third building near Fleet Street is due to be launched towards the end of the summer.