Worknmates is a B2B marketplace that helps companies implement a hybrid working model by directly connecting their teams with coworking facilities. This allows companies to only pay for what they use at the end of the month, eliminating 100% of fixed costs and contracts.
The founders of this company, Gonzalo Aguero and Angelina Vigliocco, met in Gonzalo’s first startup, where Angelina was the first sales employee. For them, the key in co-founding a startup is trust. “It is important to admire and respect the other person”, they say. They also say that it is vital for people to complement each other in different skills and tasks.
Worknmates is part of ICEX-Invest in Spain’s Rising UP in Spain. The programme is focused on capturing foreign entrepreneurs that want to become established and grow in Spain. The selected startups receive resources to develop their businesses in Spain.
Is the working model that appeared during the pandemic here to stay? Why?
Yes, and the reason is that the newest and most modern companies have decided to let their employees work from anywhere. They have even begun to recruit internationally. There are companies that formed during the pandemic and are already working remotely; no offices and no intention to have them. These have realised that there are models that can replace an office, with all the costs that this requires. They let their employees live where they want and have an equal impact on the organisations. Workers are being given the option to work in common spaces and even encouraged to work collectively among colleagues, but without forcing them, without being given rules, but letting them choose.
What is the current situation in Argentina and Latin America in general? Is there a culture of remote working?
Currently Worknmates operates in ten LATAM countries, from Brazil to Mexico and has 100% MoM growth. Companies are increasingly using hybrid working methods and with Worknmates the flexibility is endless, while keeping an eye on costs. Companies only pay at the end of the month for what their employees have actually used; and it is up to them to choose when and how many times they want to use it, based on a maximum budget that will only be paid by the company if they use it.
And how do you see this in Spain? Why could this be an interesting market for you?
We already have clients asking us to be in Spain and we have some coworking facilities in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia. The need is growing, so it is a very important target for our growth.
How is Rising UP in Spain helping you with this?
It first helped us with understanding the market, and then with understanding the legislation and the culture. It has also connected us with great partners who can make our entry much cheaper, simpler and more certain.
What agreements does Worknmates have with the coworking facilities?
The coworking facility uploads its platform to Worknmates, setting the prices, availability and all the rules themselves. They decide whether to accept or reject the booking when received directly from the customer. Worknmates does not charge anything for coworking facilities, either for being part of it or for each transaction; our business model is based on charging the companies.
To what extent is it beneficial for them to count on you to attract users, customers?
Firstly, because we don’t charge them any commission or fee or anything else, so we are a free sales arm. Secondly, because our technology solution allows them to offer flexibility to their existing customers and to keep them. And thirdly, because they can reach customers they would not be able to reach otherwise, as they are looking for more flexibility than they could give them. With Worknmates, this is possible, simple and free.
What are the requirements to be part of your marketplace?
There are various quality standards and other requirements. Some of these are: high quality Wi-Fi, natural light, ergonomic furniture, biosecurity protocols for Covid, common-use rooms, etc. We do on the other hand ask for a monthly rejection rate of less than 95% and rising discounts based on increased billings.
And with the companies? What is your current business model?
Companies create a profile and allocate a maximum monthly budget to their employees that will allow them to book more than 500 coworking spaces in 12 countries by the hour, day or whatever they need, be it hot desking, meeting rooms or other options. Companies pay at the beginning of the following month for what their employees have used. If they don’t use anything, they don’t pay anything. As well as eliminating fixed costs, they also eliminate contracts, as there is no contract with either Worknmates or the coworking facilities. When they want to stop using the service, they just stop using it.
There are many benefits: from only paying for what is used on a monthly basis and eliminating fixed costs to eliminating contracts, as well as being able to give all employees equal access to a quality office irrespective of the country or city where they are located.
Which companies and entrepreneurs use you? What is their profile? Why do they choose you?
Our focus is on companies (although an end user can log in, book and pay with any card). We currently have more than 100 customers in 10 LATAM countries. From companies with 40 employees to unicorns with more than 2,000 employees. Some work without offices and others have a mix of their own offices and Worknmates for employees who are not near the company’s offices. We are also closing deals with companies with more than 10,000 employees.
What new features would you like to introduce in 2022? What can you tell us now?
One thing we can say now is that for 2022 companies will be able – using the same business model – to give their employees more flexibility in choosing how to use the budget, not just for coworking facilities but also for other benefits related to flexible working.
At a business level, what are your targets in terms of turnover, growth, investment, etc.?
From March (Worknmates’ start-up month) to December we estimate closing the year with more than $500k GMV and next year we estimate a GMV of over $10m with more than 1,000 companies and in more than 30 countries.