As a hub for amazing startups, at the forefront of innovation and technology, here at eOffice we cherish the vast diversity of novel ideas and businesses. We are pleased to be witnessing their growth and at the same time offer entrepreneurs an environment and support to flourish and expand.
Every startup has a unique story, from that moment when the light bulb switches on with an idea, through the sleepless nights of hard work. Overcoming challenges and celebrating every achieved milestone is what makes their stories an inspiration to every young entrepreneur willing to make his idea a reality.
Taking us through their startup journey is Carlotta Frisk – Head of UK for Virtusize. A recent member of eOffice, Virtusize is a young, exciting company from Sweden, already taking the ecommerce world by storm. Here is what Carlotta shared with us.
What is Virtusize?
Virtusize is a tool that helps online retailers to visually illustrate the size and fit of clothing and we guarantee to help shoppers buy clothes with the perfect fit.
How was the idea about Virtusize born?
Virtusize started off with a group of Swedish friends who shared a passion for digital solutions and the world of fashion. When e-commerce took off, they were thrilled to have the world of fashion at their fingertips. All of a sudden they could buy brands from outside of Sweden. However, there was one major problem: they could not buy clothes that fit properly.
It seemed they had to return over half of the items that they bought, as they were either the wrong size or the fit was not in line with their expectations. They figured that they weren’t the only people with the same problem. Meanwhile, they were all frequent shoppers at eBay, where most sellers provided detailed measurements of their clothes. The addition of a garment size’s dimensions enabled them to compare these measurements to a piece of clothing that they already owned. After all, using their own clothes seemed like a logical and natural reference point.
They started to wonder: what if they used the same concept but made it visual by overlaying garment silhouettes on screen? So they started working with some of the fashion world’s best pattern makers and online retail stores on the idea.
In autumn 2011, Virtusize was born and the accuracy of the solution was immediately trusted by online retailers such as ASOS, Acne Studios and Monsoon. Virtusize grew its business rapidly with international offices in Tokyo, New York, and sales offices in Germany and the UK.
How would you describe your team in three words?
Committed, Fun, Passionate
What are the biggest challenges you face as a startup company?
There are many ideas and new technologies coming all the time so a big challenge is to really make sure you are on top of things and run fast. Our vision is to be the world’s leading standard for illustrating fit but we have a challenging audience and we have to make sure we listen to them and create a product they love.
What advise would you give to other startups trying to make it?
Have fun and listen to your users and believe in what you do.
Why did you choose to work from eOffice?
Location and great connections was a key to choose an office. eOffice could offer great central location and a good network for us to get started in the UK.
We are pleased to expand the eNetwork presence to Izmit, Turkey, with our very stylish new partner Flexy. Located 100 km from Istanbul, Izmit is the administrative centre of Kocaeli Province as well as a major port city. Nominated by Financial Times as one of the 25 European Regions of the Future, the Kocaeli area, and Izmit as its capital, have a promising business climate scoring high on infrastructure and cost effectiveness.
Flexy offers a range of services to accommodate flexible solutions as well as any standard workplace requirement for entrepreneurs, startups and growing companies. In their brand new and very stylish facilities you can benefit from full-time office space, hotdesking, meeting room facilities as well a large conference rooms. Their large events venue can be arranged in any style of format, providing high-tech equipment and modern surrounding.
Flexy has a contemporary design, incorporating fresh, bright colours that complement the dynamic atmosphere of the space. An essential feature of this shared office space is the ample garden equipped with comfy furniture so you can enjoy open air impromptu meetings with other coworkers.
If you are looking for a business address in Izmit, Flexy provides affordable virtual office plans that can match your needs in terms of duration and additional services. Their personable team has a hands on approach on every query, so you can fully focus on your business and operations.
The events calendar of Flexy is also very busy. From networking events to seminars and workshops, Flexy provides its members with value added initiatives, specially tailored for startups and small to medium size companies. This provides an opportunity to meet like-minded professionals and expand your business contacts– a valuable stage in growing our company.
Our presence in Amsterdam just got bigger!
The Office Operators, our strong partner in the Netherlands, added Amsterdam Apollo and Amsterdam Zuidoost to the eNetwork, expanding our presence in Amsterdam to a total of six locations.
Their high-end design and stylish interior offers everything a company could require in Holland’s buzzing capital. Providing maximum flexibility and smart solutions in compliance with the dynamic nature of today’s business, The Office Operators have established a reputation of one of the leading serviced office providers in Holland.
Created with a modern feel, Amsterdam Zuidoost centre is strategically located in the Netherlands’ third business region – the home of numerous multinational companies and their head offices. With excellent transport accessibility and plenty of shopping, dinning and entertainment venues in close proximity, Amsterdam Zuidoost offers a full-package of benefits to complement your business.
The Office Operators newest centre – Amsterdam Apollo is a fusion of stylish interior, high-tech facilities and functional solutions all integrated into a spacious venue. The open-plan set up of the office offers plenty of coworking opportunities, quality meeting rooms, as well as the opportunity to engage like-minded professionals to exchange knowledge and expertise.
The Austrian Business Center is the one-stop-shop for all your business needs.
The Austrian Business Center has locations around the world, however their headquarters are situated in the Concord Tower, Media City in Dubai. They offer businesses the opportunity to set up in one of its office facilities. There is no other office environment that can offer a more flexible or high quality service. They are therefore often the first choice for entrepreneurs and local/international companies in need of fast and efficient business environment solutions – the service is easy to start up and can be accessed without any administrative or financial obstacles.
A share office space has opened in Toronto, just north of a Distillery. This is a welcome addition to many, relatively speaking Toronto has been lacking in office space services for entrepreneurs, start-ups and other small businesses. The space seamlessly merges a stylish and modern look with the rustic brick look and metal pipes which adorne the walls. This looks like a great coworking spot in Toronto.
eOffice is a new generation of flexible workplaces, offering the ultimate in serviced office development. The new offices are located in the trendy heart of London, Soho. The stimulating modern environment offers a sociable business setting which is geared towards vibrant, like-minded startups and entrepreneurs. eOffice offers fully serviced offices, trendy meeting and conference rooms (up to 140 ppl) and super-fast broadband coverage (1GB in the building). The building has copious amounts of natural light, something which compliments the open plan interior of this state-of-the-art coworking hub.
eOffice also organises a variety of networking, coaching and business mentoring events in collaboration with leading global institutions. This provides members with a valuable spectrum of resources, contacts and professional opportunities to drive their business venture forward.
Each November sees the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an initiative started to connect young people around the world and foster the entrepreneurial spirit. This year it started on Monday the 15th of November, and events are running throughout the week. People from across 6 continents come to join this growing movement of entrepreneurial people, to innovate and develop new ideas. The initiative was initially started with the aim of “inspiring young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity”. Activities range from online to face to face, and from small intimate networking events to huge large scale competitions.
If you want more information please click here.
Mark Scott, the franchise director for NatWest and RBS, talks about franchising and why it may be a safer start-up option in the current economic climate. He discusses everything from the type of person franchising is suitable for, to where you can find franchising opportunities to consider. From a banking perspective he claims that banks are more likely to be open if you are looking to be a franchisee. This is simply because a franchise usually has a proven track record, with numerous other locations replicating success. Therefore the investment is a lower risk.
The average franchise fee in the UK is around £15,000 according to him, a fee that should simply cover the cost of setting you up in business. There should be no element of profit in this fee. The profit comes in the form of ongoing fees agreed at the outset. This is usually a turnover fee, commonly at around 8%.
More information can also be found at the British Franchise Association website.
The program said “the key to success-now more than ever- is INNOVATION. How are designers, architects businesses and schools reinventing themselves to fit 21st century models?” Susan Szenasy of Metropolis hosted, shown above with James Ludwig, Vice President of Design for the office furniture company Steelcase, not a company with a reputation for being cutting edge. That is going to change.
Ludwig made some interesting predictions about the future of the office:
Ludwig’s main thrust is that the only businesses that are going to survive are those that promote collaboration and communication. With technology at hand or coming, there really is no other point in going to an office. “Fixed and mobile devices give information a seat at the table.”
The office of the future will be affected by:
1) A new sobriety: smaller, simpler.
2) Google: will it scan everything, become the repository of knowledge? Will the workplace simply be a pipeline to Google?
3) Telepresence: will high definition video conferencing change the way we collaborate?
4) New Devices drive new postures: will smaller, lighter more flexible wireless tools eliminate the need to sit at a desk?
5) Resource use: Everything will just have to use less.
Peter Yost writes for Building Green, a great resource for anyone interested in green architecture, and a major source for TreeHugger posts. He made some interesting predictions about the future of housing in America:
1) Build with less space. The American home had been growing on average by 75 square feet per year, because people equated space with value; as we have pointed out many times on TreeHugger, the bigger the house, the lower the cost per square foot. But the carbon footprint of a house goes up proportionately with its geographical footprint, and the cost of operating these houses will become prohibitive with rising energy costs.
2. Heat people, not spaces. We should be heating and cooling by task, not whole rooms, let alone whole houses. He even predicted that we might wear heated clothing to reduce the temperature in our homes to less than we might consider comfortable.
3. Fuel will drive change. with increasing energy costs there will be a strong incentive to reduce the use of cars, and access to transit will drive real estate values.
4) Transportation alternatives will become more viable. We will choose our vehicle by task: a bike for short and local, cars when we need them. We will probably look at cars as a service rather than ownership.
5) Water 17% of all the energy consumed in the State of California goes to cleaning and moving water. We have to use less, and we have to stop using drinking water to flush toilets and water our gardens.
“Pitch It!” is the London School of Economics’ annual business plan competition. Organised by Venture@LSE Careers and the LSE Entrepreneurship Society, the competition gives student entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts, which will include various investors, academics and other successful entrepreneurs.
Combining serious business with fun, it is regarded as one of the most comprehensive, exciting, challenging and enjoyable programme of events in the UK.
For the competition’s final event, Pier Paolo Mucelli, Founder of eOffice, will be on the panel of judges. eOffice also generously supports the event by donating their Premier Virtual Office package to the winners of the competition, and by donating conference facilities to the runners up.