Edinburgh-founded hybrid working start-up eyes growth after raising almost £3 million

An Edinburgh-founded start-up looking to capitalise on the shift to hybrid working post-Covid has sealed a seven-figure cash injection.

Desana, which enables companies to manage how their workforces use space globally, is eyeing rapid expansion, with its founders now “actively hiring” for key positions in the US and Asia.

The fledgling firm has raised $4 million (£2.9m) in a seed funding round. The oversubscribed round was led by Berlin-based PropTech1 Ventures, BGF – formerly the Business Growth Fund – and existing investor Techstart Ventures, with participation from GroundBreak Ventures and the Accel Scout programme.

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Michael Cockburn, co-founder and chief executive of Desana, said: “Over the last year we’ve helped some of the world’s leading companies address the immediate challenges of hybrid working at scale, while also building the foundations for a more data driven approach to real estate strategy and urban planning.

The Edinburgh-founded global 'proptech' start-up is riding the wave of the shift to hybrid working post-Covid.

“Enabling staff to decide where to work unlocks a unique stream of data that provides valuable insight into where employees actually want to work on a day-by-day basis. We were excited to discover that, even at this early stage, data from our platform is already informing decisions about where companies lease space.”

Staff can choose to work from their employer’s own building or from Desana’s fast growing global network of flexible workspace operators, with companies having the ability to curate which spaces can be accessed by any member of staff.

The firm said it can also take care of the billing process. This means that global businesses receive a single monthly invoice, even if they have many thousands of staff using the platform daily across hundreds of locations and multiple currencies.

Cockburn added: “Existing flexible working platform solutions are mostly just aggregators of co-working space aimed at freelancers and gig workers.

“The world’s leading employers need an enterprise grade solution that provides the tools required to manage large distributed workforces operating on a hybrid basis at global scale.

“Desana is the only platform that is delivering globally on this part of the ‘future of work’ equation, and our customers are also seeing how the flexibility provided by Desana helps to attract and retain top talent.”

The firm said it was already planning for the next funding round.

Nikolas Samios, the founding and managing partner of PropTech1 Ventures, said: “We are big believers in Desana’s vision and leadership team, especially after our thorough screen of the market revealed that Desana is already helping leading companies to radically change their relationship with real estate.

“Some customers are even talking about giving up traditional leases altogether and going ‘Desana native’ which we see as an exciting indicator of where this is heading.”

Meanwhile, WeMaintain, the property technology company based in Paris and London has raised €30m (£26m) in funding.

The fund raising follows the group’s acquisition of fire alarm specialist Shokly and will allow WeMaintain to accelerate its international expansion and extend its proprietary technology across the built environment.

Co-founder and chief executive Benoit Dupont said: “This raise is a step towards realising our aim to expand globally.”

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