What started as a problem turned into a business venture for CapeSpace President Robbin Orbison and PopDesk CEO and Founder Mathieu Schepard.
The pair, who had previously worked at Silverstein Properties in New York City – Orbison was the company’s CFO and Schepard was its Coworking Director of Sales and Marketing – partnered together to address a need that was not adequately being met in the coworking industry. And this month, their efforts will lead to the rollout of a new app, PopDesk, that will allow users to book coworking space with three simple taps on their mobile phones.
“I’m really excited about launching this,” Orbison said. “There was a need when we started developing this and there’s even a bigger need now because there are so many remote workers out there due to the pandemic.”
The pair embarked on the business concept roughly two years ago when Orbison had unsuccessfully tried to book office space off-Cape for a day. That stumbling block led Orbison and Schepard to find an easy-to-use solution for professionals who need to find temporary workspace by the day.
With the support of Archer Software, the pair developed PopDesk which is modeled after HotelTonight. It’s a curated list of coworking centers, all vetted by Schepard, Orbison and the PopDesk team. By focusing on quality, the goal is to ensure that users will book office space repeatedly, confident that each facility listed on the app will meet their remote working needs.
Unlike current offerings, PopDesk provides ease of use for coworking centers, remote workers, and HR departments who need professional offices for their staff. “There are a lot of websites that purport to be places where you can easily find workspace but they don’t work very well, if at all,” Schepard said. “Whereas there’s very robust sites for booking hotel rooms on specific dates, there’s nothing like that for coworking so we decided to create our very own app to fill that void.”
The app is being launched this month and will initially feature 10 locations throughout New York City.
As more people than ever are working remotely, Schepard and Orbison realized how vital it was to have quick, simple access to professional coworking facilities. “Working from home is great, but with all the distractions, there needs to be other solutions than going into your corporate headquarters,” Schepard said. “Coworking has become one of those solutions. We’ve gone from a niche industry to more mainstream and a viable substitute when there are too many distractions that may exist if you live and are trying to work in a tiny apartment in the city.”
While New York City will serve as the test market for PopDesk, it will eventually roll out to other cities throughout the country, including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, and Austin as well as Toronto, Canada, and London, England.
“We have some pretty big ambitions for growing this,” Orbison said. “We’re really excited about this and think there’s a real need for it. And we think we’re doing it better than anyone else out there right now.”