Tech Pitch: somewhereto_
Previously a non-profit, this London business is tapping into the growing demand for venue booking platforms while helping young entrepreneurs "pursue their dreams"
Company name: somewhereto_
Director: Tom Barratt (40)
Background: Former programme director of advertising and charities
Based in: London
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?
somewhereto_ offers a growing portfolio of handpicked, inspirational and uniques spaces for start-ups and creative businesses to hire.
We have the best meeting and desk spaces, co-working options, gallery and event space, party spots and much more. All available at competitive market rates, from trusted London venues.
What makes us special? We’re a social enterprise, so every space booked with us helps young people access a space for free.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
Affordable space in London is at a premium and creative space is scarcer still.
For established creative enterprises, this means significant operational costs and pressures. For young entrepreneurs, the effect is far more serious – they find themselves being marginalised or, in many cases, pushed out of the capital altogether.
Being creatives ourselves, we understand the potential of both the spaces and what goes on inside them, meaning we’re uniquely placed to find spaces that fit the bill for a huge assortment of creative needs. But that’s just one part of the story.
Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.
somewhereto_ is on a mission to provide the next generation of start-ups and creative entrepreneurs with free space to pursue their projects, remain in the city, and keep London creative. Every time a space is booked through somewhereto_, we help a young person pursue their dreams.
We also believe that access to the right space for young creatives and enterprises is a catalyst for so much more; from mentoring and networking opportunities to better productivity and general exposure that you wouldn’t get from say working from their bedrooms.
Are you funded?
We’ve just launched the commercial side of our operation as our current grant funding is coming to an end. Rather than source more and more funding (which will eventually run out), we wanted to make ourselves sustainable so that we can provide our free service to young people in perpetuity.
We have taken two of our key assets (our portfolio of spaces and our expertise in matching people with the right spaces for their needs) and offered them to a new market of paying customers.
We have been running somewhereto_ as a not-for-profit grant-funded programme for the past six years. We have engaged nearly 300,000 young people to date and ‘unlocked’ free space to the value of over £6m.
What were you doing before starting?
Barratt: I had half a career in advertising agencies and half a career in charities. My dad’s entrepreneurial spirit is a huge influence on me and I love the idea of investing my time in creating and building something – rather than just to receive a salary.
What’s the best thing about where you’re based?
We’re based in the Livity headquarters – the youth marketing agency in the heart of Brixton. The best thing about working here is the steady flow of young people we see come through our doors – to co-create with us, on work experience and internship or bring their enterprise and creative projects into our workspace.
It means we are always hearing, first-hand, both the challenges and successes of young people’s endeavours. Plus, Brixton itself could not be more vibrant and culturally rich so that is a huge inspiration.