Edinburgh-based Occupyd has been described as an “Airbnb for businesses,” serving industries across the UK including hospitality, hairdressing and beauty salons, as well as workshops, photography studios, and event spaces – helping all users boost income.
An example of how it works is a cafe that closes its doors at 3pm can advertise its kitchen space on Occupyd for small businesses or entrepreneurs who cater to the evening market.
The tech firm was founded by Callum McPherson, whose vision is to make physical space “more accessible and less burdensome” for businesses regardless of sector, size or location.
As for its ambitions, Mr McPherson said: “With a massive increase in demand, and thousands of users now active in the UK, our primary target for 2021 is growing the number of spaces listed on the platform in the UK to meet that demand. We also plan to expand into the US east coast. We're aiming for 10,000 spaces being listed on the platform by the end of next year.”
The start-up also plans to boost its workforce, with Mr McPherson adding: “We're currently hiring software engineers in Edinburgh and have plans in 2021 to further expand our tech team as well as add to our marketing customer support services.”
Occupyd in 2019 launched a six-figure seed funding round to create more than a dozen jobs and accelerate product development, and its founder said it is now likely to raise capital to support expansion into the US.
Looking at the venture’s strategy more broadly, he stated: “A large number of organisations have been affected by the ongoing pandemic, which has had a huge impact on their bottom line. We’re driven to make life a little easier by facilitating relationships between businesses on the hunt for workspace, and those that have extra capacity, so they can help each other out and continue to grow.
“We talk about the ‘hidden market’ – something which is already there, but people are unaware of. Monetising after-hours capacity, which would otherwise be empty, or renting out supplementary workspace could be a goldmine for some companies. Many of us are sitting on something valuable – we just don’t know it.”
The entrepreneur added that taking a five or ten year lease on a building, paying a large deposit and having access to it 24/7 is not what most small and medium-sized enterprises and microbusinesses want or can afford.
"We give them access to space in prime locations, when and where they need it, so they don’t have to pay for more than they require. Not only do we save them money on space, but also equipment such as ovens and mixers, which would otherwise have to be bought. Occupyd makes it infinitely easier to get started in business, test your concept and expand.”