We talk to Braze about their move from coworking space to flexible office, and the role of environment chemistry as a business grows up
Braze is booming. You can feel it in the air. Their workspace is cool, lofty and airy, but functional. As soon as you step out of the lift, you’re greeted by the brand’s logo in black and white on the wall and a hive of activity beneath it.
Founded in New York in 2011, Braze (formerly Appboy) sells marketing software to help companies manage mobile interactions with customers. Their tools are used by household names and innovators from Tinder and Domino’s to SoundCloud.
In January 2016, London called. They expanded across the pond. The London team started out as a handful of people in a coworking space, which tided them over until it was time to level up.
Then in February 2017, we helped Braze secure their first fully-managed flexible office: Business Cube in Shoreditch.
We spoke to Dan Head, the firm’s SVP Sales, about about their search for space and why it’s important to find a vibe that suits the company you want to build.
When did you realise it was time to leave the coworking space?
Coworking spaces are great for a rapidly growing small team. It’s great for recruitment; if you were four people in your own office, it would feel a bit soulless to a potential employee.
But once you reach a certain size - for us it was a dozen people - you need to own your brand. Every company in a coworking space exists under the brand of that space, but we wanted to hold conversations with clients in our own space under our own brand.
What brought you to Kontor?
I had lots of different property agencies call me offering space, chucking spaces at us, but they didn’t understand the culture or vibe I was looking for in a workspace. Then we spoke to Kontor and the options they put on the table were all the kinds of spaces we wanted. Sam showed me the different flexible solutions for a two-year timeframe that would take the sting out of finding a space.
Kontor were great. People buy from people. Sam paid attention to what the company we are trying to grow would be like, the chemistry we were after in the space.
Did you have a fixed location in mind?
No, we had quite a wide area to look in, from Fitzrovia across to Shoreditch and down to the Southbank. Sam showed us 15 spaces and we shortlisted three.
How did you know Business Cube in Shoreditch was the one for you?
I liked that it was newly fitted out, it was immaculate when we moved in. It’s not just a rectangular box - it has a nice vibe because it’s not a regular space. The balcony is excellent, as well a the space for phone booths and a meeting room. I really like the building itself. There are only five or six other companies in here so it’s not too busy.
The location is ideal on Worship Street. It’s not grimy Shoreditch, but it’s not a suited and booted city office. It’s a bit of both, so it’s perfect for making a statement about how Braze has grown up.
What was the main benefit you saw in taking a fully-managed flexible office?
We still need an office manager to sort the space, buy food, organise meeting rooms and so on, but if it wasn’t managed, we would also have to handle costs of cleaning, maintenance and so on. That’s a level of noise that a company of our size doesn’t need.
Do you have plans to grow into the space?
We’re 22 at the moment and this office will hold up to 35. By the end of the year we’ll be 25 or 26 people. Next year we’ll climb into the 30s. This space can scale with that. At the moment everyone has the luxury of a lot of space - so we’ll be a bit cosier - but we have lots of sales people who will be on the road a lot of the time. People can rotate desks.
What’s the future of Braze looking like?
The market we are in is so dynamic that we’re consistently releasing new features, growing the team and growing our client roster as the demand for the Braze product continues to grow. We are always looking ahead, and it’s looking quite bright.
Thanks Dan and all the best for the next chapter at Braze!
Need to find a new office that ticks the “chemistry” box? We’ve got your back. Ready when you are at kontor.com.