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Co-working spaces meet job, lifestyle needs of tech start-up entrepreneurs

CO-WORKING facilities have gained popularity among tech start-up entrepreneurs in Thailand over the past few years, says Amarit Charoenphun, chief executive officer and co-founder of Hubba.

As an operator of co-working space with branches in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Laos, he said: “Before there was a Hubba co-working space, it was difficult for people to group together to create a start-up, as they needed economical space [due to the lack of a big budget] and an environment conducive to what they were doing.
“In some cases, a start-up is launched by just one person, but it’s hard to get a working space for just one guy, so we saw some of them working at trendy coffee shops or other public places. The co-working space business was therefore created to respond to these needs. 
“When you’re a member, you can book a space for one person at a price starting from just over Bt290 per day for complete office and related facilities, including hi-speed Internet and beverages around the clock.” Amarit explained.
“Working hours also vary, as some come to work at 9am and leave at five in the evening, while others may come at two in the afternoon and stay up quite late. Those who deal with colleagues in different time zones may come in the evening and leave the next morning.
“This is the new work style for those who work online or on the digital platform. They also kind of try to have a work-life integration. Some may work a few hours in the morning and take a long break for coffee in the afternoon.
“Early evening, they may enjoy a physical-fitness session, and then they return to work. Work is now more flexible – and productivity is key to success. For those who want to be an entrepreneur, it’s now much easier if you have good ideas and co-workers. It’s also much cheaper to start a business like a website, an app or a physical product,” the CEO said.
“In my opinion, old-style office space does not meet the requirements of start-up people. First of all, it will cost over Bt100,000 to just sign a lease contract for a small office. This doesn’t work for start-ups that are still in the process of testing business ideas and models, which may fail and new ideas and new models may have to be tested again.
“Co-working space is therefore the answer for these people. In addition, it’s more convenient to get experts in many fields such as computer programmers, accountants or marketing to help implement business ideas and models around co-working facilities,” he added.
“Now, we have four branches in Bangkok, in the Ekamai and Sukhumvit areas as well as in Siam Discovery. In Chiang Mai, we have two affiliated branches, and in the Lao capital, Vientiane, we have one affiliated branch. The major branches can accommodate up to 300 working people at a time.
“Many new college graduates have looked at digital-business opportunities due to the success of Google, Facebook and Amazon, among others. Then there are many multi-billion-dollar business start-ups. These examples used to be far away in western countries, but they are no longer so.
“In Malaysia, there are Grab taxis, and there are the likes or Jack Ma of Alibaba in China. All these Asians have inspired the new generation of Thai entrepreneurs and start-up hopefuls,” Hubba’s co-founder said.

Published : November 18, 2016