More space for co-working at The Great Room

Plans to have more locations here and in region follow CapitaLand venture fund's investment in company

Co-working space The Great Room is opening a second location here and also expanding into Bangkok - its first overseas venture.

The brand is also exploring more regional growth opportunities, with seven new locations planned next year, co-founder and chief executive Jaelle Ang, 37, told The Straits Times.

These expansion plans come after The Great Room closed an undisclosed Series A funding round earlier this month led by C31 Ventures, CapitaLand's corporate venture fund, with participation from iGlobe Partners and the family office of Goldbell Group.

Co-working spaces like The Great Room are shared workspaces offering companies a suite of office-like amenities such as hot-desks, private meeting rooms, kitchens, coffee and more.

The Great Room opened its first location - a stylishly designed space resembling a hotel lobby - at One George Street last year.

The second space will open at Centennial Tower by the fourth quarter of this year. It will occupy 36,000 sq ft, bringing the combined floor space of The Great Room to 61,000 sq ft across its two local locations.

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The Great Room is also making its first regional foray into Bangkok with a 30,000 sq ft space at the newly built Gaysorn Tower. The space is slated to open in the first quarter of next year.

The plan has always been to build a pan-regional brand," said Ms Ang, who co-founded The Great Room with chief financial officer Yian Huang, 44, and chief operating officer Su Anne Mi, 31. "Members of The Great Room are regional or even global companies and we want to grow along with them."

The Great Room is geared towards "grown-up start-ups" which already have funding and are on a strong growth trajectory.

The brand is looking at opportunities in Hong Kong, Jakarta and Australia, among others, Ms Ang added. She said the significance of CapitaLand's investment in the company "is huge" and will help ramp up overseas growth.

"We've been approached by many people who just want to put in capital. But we wanted an investor with strategic expertise as well as physical assets."

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Even as the co-working industry becomes more competitive with more spaces opening and larger players - including property developers - joining the game, Ms Ang said demand is growing in tandem.

"(Besides start-ups and smaller companies) demand is also growing among multinational firms which people might not necessarily associate with co-working," she noted.

This means there is space to accommodate a variety of industry players.

"Some buildings might suit a mass-market brand while some others might suit a more hip or high-end brand. There is room for different players with different positioning."

With the opening of its Centennial Tower location, The Great Room will also be launching a business club to "connect movers and shakers across the Asia-Pacific".

"People don't just want facilities or space. They want a powerful network to tap on," Ms Ang said.

"We've always been doing that informally and building up a community. This is just bringing the idea into a more crystallised form."