The “work-surfing” venture was founded in the Scottish capital in 2021 by Nikki Gibson, who spotted a gap in the market with more people working remotely since the onset of the pandemic, and venues looking for new revenue streams.
The app links people – known as “Swurfers” – with spaces including hotels, bars and restaurants, where they can work, network and collaborate.
Anna Lagerqvist Christopherson, co-founder of Boda Bar Group in Edinburgh, and Mr Williams, a serial investor in start-ups, have ploughed funds into Swurf to support its ongoing growth. At the same time, the tech start-up has appointed its first director outside Scotland, who will focus on English growth for the business, which received a Scottish Government Digital Boost Grant earlier this year.
Ms Gibson said: “Getting investment from Gareth and Anna represents a major step forward for Swurf as we continue to expand quickly. Our vision is to have a virtual network of international Swurfers.”
The venture now has more than 2,500 registered users and more than 100 hosts across the UK, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Manchester, with Leeds coming on board at the end of July. Big names among hosts include Moxy Hotels, Dakota, Chaopraya and Village Hotels.
Mr Williams said: “I was attracted to invest in Swurf because it has a real purpose, fills a gap, and is building a community. I can see similarities between the Swurf concept and that of the Skyscanner business I co-founded, which shook up the travel booking market and has achieved global success. Swurf is growing quickly – and I can see the potential for it to be rolled out globally as remote working looks set to stay.”
Also commenting was Ms Lagerqvist Christopherson, who said: “With my Boda bars and restaurants business I was the first host to join Swurf when it launched as I could really see the value it added for me and what a great app it was for users. I’ve worked in hospitality for more than 20 years and Swurf is an excellent way for venues to attract customers during quieter times when they are open and paying staff.”