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Oxford MBA venture launches into US market

Spacebase, an online meeting room booking service, is on a mission to change the way we meet, and November saw the company’s first foray into the US market by making 200 unique spaces available in New York. ‘The launch in New York has met the demand of our clients, and now we are seeing that NYC has become our fastest-growing market,’ said co-founder Jan Hoffmann-Keining.

After completing an MBA at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Julian Jost co-founded Spacebase in 2014 with the aim of providing a sharing economy solution for meeting places, and it has since established itself as one of Europe’s largest online meeting room booking platforms. ‘If you think about what is happening in business nowadays, we are seeing a trend towards nomadic working lifestyles. People need more flexibility, and that’s exactly what we are offering,’ said Jost.

Jost came to Oxford Saïd with a passion for entrepreneurship and a desire for a change of career. ‘I was in retail space and I wanted a new challenge. To found a company was always an ambition of mine, so I chose Oxford as I knew the entrepreneurial mind set is at the heart of their MBA.  Several of my classmates were already entrepreneurs, and they were able to offer advice and guidance during the launch of Spacebase. In fact, one of my classmates actually introduced me to our main investor,’ he said.

The venues that Spacebase offer range from the practical to the surreal, and include a boxing gym and a boat. However, Julian explained that it is the subtle meeting places that he finds most exciting. ‘In New York we have a space called the centre for social innovation, which is designed for companies with a social purpose. It has a unique vibe that people will find really inspiring.’

Jost believes that if chosen correctly, these spaces can have a real impact on the effectiveness of a meeting. He recalls talking to a consultant firm who were ‘in the midst of having some individual training sessions for their managers. These were very personal, and very psychological. However, they held the sessions in a cold, windowless hotel room. Consequently, the managers found it hard to talk openly about themselves. The setting of a meeting can have a huge impact on its outcome.’

Looking back on his successes to date, Jost has one word of advice for would be entrepreneurs; ‘dedication. When you start on a project like this, you have a huge amount of drive and excitement. The key to success is to keep that drive going, and dedicate yourself to moving forward with new ideas.’