Rent All Kinds of Local Spaces With Hire Space

22 Jun 2013

Hire-SpaceName: Hire Space

One-Liner Pitch: Find and book space for events, sports, exhibitions, performances and more.

Why It's Taking Off: Hire Space is taking the collaborative consumption movement, made popular by poster child Airbnb, and applying it to a new space: Venue rentals.

People are finally warming up to the idea of sharing homes, goods, and cars. Now, Hire Space aims to let businesses and other organizations dip their fingers into the sharing economy honey pot by renting out their unused, extra spaces.

The idea for Hire Space came about when Will Swannell, then a secondary school teacher, and Edward Poland, a political advisor, connected over overlapping issues: Swannell's school was low on cash and was forced to turn to emergency funding, and Poland was hard at work campaigning to save recession-hit venues from closure.

The duo realized that the solution for both problems could be in enabling local venues, including economically-distressed schools and businesses, to rent out their unused spaces to pull in a little extra cash. And so, in September 2012, Hire Space was born.

The site now has more than 750 venues registered, all in London, and features spaces within schools, community centers, dance studios, boats, galleries, theaters, restaurants, and churches, among others. With such a range of venues, the prices fit almost every budget as well.

Some venues seem to be making out handsomely, too. Swannell, the company's CEO, says the site's current monthly record for a given venue is £12,000 (about $18,500) of confirmed bookings. In total, £750,000 (or about $1.15 million) worth of enquiries have been made through the site in its first three months.

Hire Space is a win for consumers, too, though. Event organizers, sports teams, artists, dancers, and all kinds of people can find places to hold events, practice their sport, host a meeting, or whatever it is they're hoping to do, all on one website — and all at no cost. Hire Space makes its money through 8%-10% commission fees footed by venues for bookings made through the site.

In the event planning world, hunting for a venue typically entails tons of calls, emails, forms, price quotes, price comparisons — it's basically a big pain in the rump. A site like Hire Space is a heaven send for anyone tasked with booking venues.

The only issue? It's only available in London for the time being. Not for long, though. "We're looking forward to expanding to new countries and cities," Swannell told Mashable. "We don't have a date yet, but we do know that it's going to be Paris, Berlin, New York — rather than Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol."

Circus, a London bar and restaurant, that users can rent with Hire Space
Hire Space raised its seed round of £500,000 in April 2012 (or a little less than $800,000, at the time) and is in the process of raising a further round, which it plans on using to fuel its expansion. The startup is backed by a group of angels including Karen Hanton MBE, founder of restaurant booker TopTable (which was acquired by competitor OpenTable for $55 million in 2010), and Tom Ward, who acts as Hire Space's chairman and is described by Swannell as a "serial NED."

With "six and a half employees" — the half being a part-time developer — Swannell says Hire Space has more than just international expansion up its sleeve. "Recently, we have also allowed venues to offer deals through Hire Space, and they can pay a fee to promote these in our newsletter — and soon through the site." The feature is like "Groupon for venues," he says.

Hire Space isn't the first startup in the game — New York-based HourSpaces, founded by Ross Newman, opened up shop in 2010. The site, though, focused on rehearsal space for performing artists, was unable to gain enough traction to become sustainable. Newman now works as an account executive with startup DataXu, a digital ad campaign management platform.

Hopefully Hire Space will have better luck than HourSpaces did in New York and in the other markets it plans to enter.

 

Source: Mashable

Last modified on Saturday, 22 June 2013 17:36
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