A Q&A with founder Mhorag Doig of Harbour84 - one of the start-ups in this year's Business Travel Show Launchpad.
When were you launched?
The Harbour84 concept was conceived in June 2018. We are currently at MVP (minimal viable product) stage with a view to officially launching the first iteration of platform in February 2019.
How many people are working for the company?
We are a small team with three employees; myself the founder leading our overall strategy and two team members focusing on operations and workspace partnership strategy.
We are supported by a very strong three-person advisory board, experts in their respective fields of start-up development and commercial partnerships, smarter working, and software technology as a service.
Sum up what your company/product does in one sentence.
Harbour84 is an online platform connecting business travellers and mobile corporate workers with workspaces that can help them be their best 'away from HQ'.
Why is it unique?
For the first time, corporate mobile workers and business will be able to find a curated list of flexible workspaces vetted against workspace design and service criteria that have been proven to support productivity and employee engagement. These approved spaces meet all the varying needs of the corporate / business traveller for working independently as well as working collaboratively.
Many existing workplace brokers and aggregators focus either on the large corporate workplace moves, or on freelancers, digital nomads and entrepreneurs. But with Harbour84 we are extending the workplace revolution to all employees, democratising access to flexible workspace to ensure that having a 'mobile' job does not need to mean subjugating your productivity and workplace wellness for want of a place to plug in the laptop.
It operates at the nexus of workspace strategy and employee experience. Supporting organisations to offer the right tools and workspaces to their mobile staff on an 'on demand' basis. We support organisations to extend their duty of care for their employees' productivity, engagement and wellbeing beyond HQ or 'home base'.
What problem does it solve?
The idea grew out of a desire to make the business travel day better, easier and less stressful. For many, traveling for business is seen as glamourous, but often the reality is very different. We realised just how many working hours were wasted spent searching for Wi-Fi in cafes and hotel lobbies, working at unsuitable desks, conducting business meetings in unsuitable places, not to mention how much money was spent on sub-standard cappuccinos in exchange for a place to plug in the laptop.
Trying to maintain the same workload and outputs 'on the road' as you would at HQ brings stresses and strains that take a toll on productivity, engagement, and health and wellness.
Trying to solve this pain point was our first driver.
Harbour84 can not only help individuals find the right workspace but can support a workplace experience revolution where no matter what your employees' mobile working patterns, you can help them find the right workspace that supports their needs and helps them be at their best.
What platforms is it available on/can integrate with?
Our platform is available to the end user online via our website and will be available as an app on both Android and iOS platforms Q2 2019.
Although at MVP stage at the moment we aim to grow quickly. A core element of our phase two development will be building API integration capabilities with existing business travel management platforms, as well as with the internal systems of our workspace partners. We see this as critical to providing a seamless, on demand service to our individuals users and corporate partners.
What markets is it available in?
Our platform can be accessed by anyone, initially within Europe, but with plans to roll out the service globally. We currently have workspace partners across Europe including London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Zurich, and this is growing every day.
Which companies are using it already?
Through exhibiting at the Business Travel Show we are asking for corporate partners eager to enhance the workspace services and amenities available to their business travel clients to pilot our platform with their mobile staff in this early part of 2019.
What do travel managers like about it?
It reduces the time taken for travel managers to find the right solution for their internal clients as we have already completed the vetting and listed the key criteria for each approved space. Travel managers can feel confident that, just as booking pre-approved hotels or other services, our partner workspaces are fit for purpose, safe, and convenient.
What are your growth plans?
We have ambitious growth plans; our aim is to be the platform of choice for all business travelers and mobile corporate employees to find the right workspace on demand, becoming the HotelTonight meets TripAdvisor of the business travel workday.
It is our ambition to move quickly from the MVP direct to customer solution to a fully integrated workspace concierge platform by the end of September 2019 with phased geographical growth concentrating on key business travel destinations in the following regions: Phase 1 - EMEA; Phase 2 - Asia Pacific; Phase 3 - USA and Canada and Phase 4 — Rest of World