SPECIAL REPORT

Whenever, Wherever

by Marc Almagro
Illustrations by Neil Pagulayan
21 Sep 2019

Co-working spaces in Asia take up only about five per cent of the entire real estate industry. Consolidation among new and longstanding players, each with unique value proposition, is taking place.

There is definitely room for growth in co-working space, says Mr. Kong Wan Sing, founder and CEO of JustCo. Last year, the company was appointed by Verizon to help curate and manage their first Asia innovation-community space, Verizon Innovation Community, a first-in-Asia initiative with a bespoke program that connects the vibrant technology and fintech communities.

This year, GuocoLand appointed JustCo to manage its new co-working space at 20 Collyer Quay, where JustCo plans to introduce a multi-faceted co-working community, help enhance the efficiency of space usage, and add a unique tenant mix to the building by allowing other tenants to enjoy JustCo’s communal areas. A leading premium flexible workspace provider, with presence in key Asian cities, JustCo functions with a progressive vision adapted to emerging work culture such as flexible time-space where members can work whenever, wherever they may be. 

Members can work out of 40 other JustCo coworking centres located within the region – in Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Jakarta, Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei. With most of its clients working across several cities in Asia, the multi-workspace footprint offers great flexibility and convenience.    

“We are the only Asian-based operator to have presence in multiple cities across Asia,” claims Mr. Kong Wan Sing, founder and CEO. “Our expansion in the last 1.5 years have been the strongest for us.” More locations already in the pipeline, supporting the company’s focus to grow its regional footprint across Asia, in both existing and new markets such as Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, India and others where demand for co-working space continues to grow. 

The size of JustCo co-working centers varies according to the location. At Marina Square, it opened the first co-working center located in a shopping mall with an area of 60,000 square feet across a single floor. Meanwhile, at JustCo Tower, Seoul, it will occupy an entire 16-storey building with an aggregate size of 140,000 square feet. 

“Our flexible workspaces cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes, ranging from entrepreneurs, start-ups, and SMEs all the way to large businesses and Fortune 500 companies,” Mr. Kong shares. “At every center, members benefit from a full-suite of facilities and amenities including hot-desking areas, private suites, collaboration corners, quiet pods, enclosed phone booths, mother’s room, breakout areas, and more.”

JustCo’s community of about 20,000 members sets it apart from other operators. The sizable population provides everyone to find new connections and explore new opportunities.

Members can use the JustCo App to build their presence in the region with a personalized business profile. It’s ‘Just Connect’ function, meanwhile, gives them a chance to find a match of potential customers across the region, start a conversation with various businesses or establish new collaborations within the community – revolutionizing the way that JustCo members meet, network and collaborate, Mr. Kong explains. 

Moreover, members automatically become part of the JustCo community where they network and attend professional and social events on a regular basis. They are also entitled to exclusive promotions and privileges with JustCo’s strategic partners such as Dropbox, Hertz, Amazon Web Services, Gogovan and more.

Map of co-working spaces in Singapore's central area

JustCo is ramping up its several technology solutions to enhance service offerings that will power up its current flexible workspace and community programs. “We look to go beyond a physical space and aim to build the ‘Future of Work’ by creating Smart Digital Workspaces that enhance experiences and encourage collaborations among members,” says Mr. Kong. 

JustCo will implement space utilization analytics to track and evaluate how often are spaces being effectively used. The technology will allow it to create a workspace that is productive and conducive to its members.

With the use of tech-powered tools, the smart digital workspace will facilitate and connect members based on their preferences within the community. “A modern, tech-enabled, digitalized workplace is one that is highly scalable. It is a disruptive business model that will enhance the experience of JustCo members,” Mr. Kong explains. 

“We also have active Innovation Programs, such as the JustCo Labs, which is a nurturing ground for the next generation of technology innovators and disruptors. We innovate with companies regardless of size. For larger enterprise, for instance, we can design, deploy and run corporate branded innovation labs; for SMEs and start-ups, we can serve as a launchpad for regional market expansion, guiding businesses to ease into local business ecosystems, connect with key partners, and put a product that is innovative and competitive on the rack. This way, JustCo Labs help to bridge startu-ps and corporates across industries and across region.”

They also run other programs such as hackathons and masterclasses that encourage collaboration and networking within the ecosystem. 

An investment of US$177 million from Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and multi-national property company, Frasers Property Limited, has played a vital role in displaying JustCo’s credibility and industry positioning whether they are speaking to new partners in new markets or fuelling a rapid expansion across Asia. 

The partnership has allowed JustCo to ramp up on technology solutions and enhance service offerings to facilitate collaboration and networking opportunities amongst its growing base of community members, and given it an edge to leverage on the GIC and Frasers’ local market networks, and tap on a common pool of resources in order to secure prominent new locations and gain stronger foothold in the market. For example, its co-working centers in Singapore and in Thailand are located in Frasers Property projects: China Square Central and Samyan Mirtown, respectively. Meanwhile, its South Korea location, Seoul Finance Centre, is managed by the GIC.

“Localization, an understanding of every market we are in, and its local nuances are very important for us,” admits Mr. Kong. In every city where they operate, JustCo has its own local teams to run the daily business.

“This allows us to better understand our local clients and their business’ needs. It also allows us to gain a stronger foothold when entering new markets and continually redefine flexible workspace experience for our local members.” JustCo also adapts and customizes various elements of collaborative workspace design for each local market.