Friday, September 20, 2019

Airbnb style start up for commercial spaces launches £600k seed funding round

Callum McPherson
Callum McPherson

Occupyd, a UK marketplace platform which aims to bridge the gap between demand for and underused workspace, has launched a six-figure seed funding round, as it drives forward ambitious growth plans.

Founded by Edinburgh-based entrepreneur Callum McPherson, Occupyd provides an Airbnb style service for commercial businesses. It seeks to match unused spaces across a range of sectors, with small businesses looking for affordable and flexible working spaces.

The 28-year-old is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator based in Edinburgh and has previously secured £50,000 worth of investment to build the online platform, which currently has listings across the UK.

Callum plans to secure £600,000 worth of funding over the next two months to support product development and the delivery of its sales and marketing strategy. The funding, half of which has already been secured, will also support the creation of 15 new jobs, including marketing, sales and technical roles.

Occupyd was created in 2018 after Callum recognised a lack of technology disruption in the commercial property sector and a need to provide more opportunities for small to medium-sized enterprises. This model is the first of its kind in the UK and currently supports businesses in the food and drink, hairdressing, beauty salons, workshops and other industries.

A great example of its application is a cafe in London which closes at 4pm and advertises kitchen space via Occupyd. A budding entrepreneur who wants to start catering for the food delivery market can hire the space to provide food for Deliveroo and Uber Eats.  The café owner gets some additional income and the entrepreneur gets the opportunity to try out his business idea with minimal financial commitment or liability.

Occupyd, which has plans to operate globally, will launch in London in September followed by New York in early 2020.

Callum said: “We facilitate connections between businesses that need space to work and businesses that have more space than they need, so that both can thrive and grow. This new round of funding will enable us to develop the platform further and increase collaboration between businesses. Being part of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Accelerator programme has helped drive forward this latest round of funding. Being around like-minded entrepreneurs and having access to support and advice from the bank’s mentors and finance experts has helped me to focus growth plans.”

Stuart Dearden, Entrepreneur Development Manager at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Callum is a shining example of the businesses who come through our accelerator programme and his ambitions for Occupyd over the next 12 months, will help other start-ups and SME businesses on their journey to growth. We wish Callum the best of luck with his latest round of funding.”

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