We’ve met the founder CEO of Greenspace Amaury de Buchet and asked him a number of questions based on two specific topics relevant to this company : innovation management and the challenges of growth. Greenspace is a coworking space where entrepreneurs, start up and companies can go to work for a fixed mensual fee.
One thing innovative about the founder is his previous experience, he did not make his debut in big companies but worked in the US then felt the call for entrepreneurship especially after health problems. He created Greenspace with co alumni of ESCP but the networking, serendipity part of his path felt really new to us. One alumni had a free space at rue du Chemin Vert and offered it to Amaury de Buchet. « Innovation is more about opportunity » as he put it.
The innovation that struck us in the actual design is the organisation of offices and the collaborative spirit. The idea of his design comes from collision (innovation according to German researcher happens within 50 meters of you when we have collision between diverse people).The officies are U shaped, so that people can meet randomly, plus there are seats everywhere for people to sit and have a chat when they feel like it. The communication at Greenspace is also not conventional, entrepreuneurs don’t exchange on the intranet like we would usually do in a big company, but prefer physical conversations in front of the coffee machine (free coffee !). The entrepreneurs themselves are particular, they are chosen by the CEO so that their profile match, he wants a diverse pool a profiles (he also has sort of quotas, 40% freelanceurs, 20% start ups, rest companies) also they are selected on their capacity to integrate easily into the community. They also give feedbacks on the CEO’s initiatives for the community.
Key idea to retain is the networking effect, entrepreuneurs usually apply at Greenspace after the word of mouth effect because the CEO does not have the budget to launch great communication plans (except social networks).
The business model in itself, if not actually disruptive, is original for such an organisation in France. You can rent a place with a non binding agreement, they are only required to stay 3 months minimum (great change compared to the 3/6/9 French lease). Also his pricing is changing greatly depending on the customer, if he wants a particular profile, like a graphic designer, he admitted he would be willing to lower his fee. His margins are really low so he is self financing his expansion, for example he sold his shares of Fabernovel, his previous company. Self financing is something that is not taught a lot at ESCP, we hear more about crowdfunding and business angels for the kick off of a company and then the further investments are left aside.
In traditional business, we focus more on KPI to measure Company’s performance individually. However, Greenspace focus on its residents’ value creation to the community. It keeps certain percent of start-ups (20%) in its customer base, which are characterized by a low margin and high rotation rate, because these companies add great value to the whole community. He founded that the start-ups begin to value more the community.
His business model is quite risky he doesnt have a great prospect on the next 3 months, if people move out. On that matter he feels the need to teach and do consulting jobs on the side. Nevertheless he invests a lot on upgrading his offers (hence the augmentation of price these last years), looking for new activities to tighten the community, making some constraints more flexible (mail box saturated, conference room booking complicated…)
One striking thing when we asked him about the future (as we are taught to forecast a lot, in strategy course for example), he said he had a lot of plans to power the place but could not say what he will be doing in 1 year, let alone 5 ! Today he is looking into real estate investment as he wants to own actual buildings some day (today he is renting the Greenspace space). We asked him about how still was his business spirit, he said the environnement was completely different a year ago, proof of that he showed us 2016 business card, the logo and key words were completely different.
- Aïda BOUFAÏM
- Camille GREFFIN
- Simone GUZZO
- Nicolai HECHT
- Lauriane HELMER
- Karoline HOLM
- Bicong HU
- Sirui LI
- Sanidhya PAINULI