FlexTable: Mitchel White
Name: Mitchel White
Company Name: FlexTable
Location: North West
Date Launched: March 2018
Tell us what your business does:
We're a flexible coworking start-up connecting start-ups, freelancers and small and medium enterprises with restaurants and bars which would otherwise be quiet during the day to create affordable coworking spaces.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Since I launched my first business four years ago I've worked in coffee shops, from home, coworking spaces and a dedicated city centre office and nothing quite fit. They were either really expensive or unproductive.
Richard (my co-founder) had come from a corporate background working at Accenture and missed being around other people in a team based environment.
We met up in a coffee shop (yes, we know) and the idea of a more affordable way to cowork came about – one that was focused on creating a community.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We did a lot of research into existing options for start-ups and freelancers wanting to work outside of their own home.
Coffee shops and coworking spaces were the only options, and we knew from our own experience that both have their downsides. Once we started speaking to friends and contacts we knew that it wasn't just us who had the problem of finding an affordable place to work and meet other people starting up or working for themselves.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was running my marketing agency which I founded in 2014. Richard was running his own coaching company.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes – I launched my first business when I was 20 and said I'd never start another! Four years later I decided to do it again and here we are, running another start-up and going through similar challenges.
How did you raise the money?
We have put in a small amount of money personally from our other businesses.
Describe your business model and how you make money
We work on a monthly recurring revenue model with members paying a monthly membership to access our mobile app and venues.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Signing up our first venue – trying to explain something completely new is always a challenge and trying to communicate the value of FlexTable to venues is something we had to learn and tweak over time.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Signing up our first members. It felt like all the work we had put in to date had paid off, that people were really buying into the idea and it was starting to take shape.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Test the market and your idea before you go full speed.
Make sure there is a market for your concept and then build a product or offering around that. Getting that early feedback is essential to building a great business.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
We want to have built a thriving community of like-minded start-ups, freelancers and small and medium enterprises. A multi-million-pound business would be nice too.