Industry: Finance & Property
Type of space: Private office in coworking space
Neighbourhood: Old Street
We spoke to Tom at Bricklane.com about how working in a private office in a coworking space – on the border of the financial and tech world – has benefitted their business model and impacted their company culture.
Bricklane.com is the intelligent way for everyone to invest in property. Customers can invest in a choice of property portfolios, containing expertly chosen homes, starting from just £100. Properties are selected using Bricklane.com’s proprietary data analytics platform and an investment strategy supported by industry experts. Customers earn rental income and see property value changes reflected in their savings, and can choose from properties across the UK.
To learn more, visit Bricklane.com.
Can you tell me a bit more about Bricklane.com? What is it that you do and what is your vision for the company?
Tom: Bricklane.com was born out of frustration. Both Simon, our co-founder, and I were trying to save up for a house when property prices were rising rapidly, while cash was delivering very little. Our vision is that every city maker can contribute to and own a share of the place they live in. As it stands, there is a large, difficult to bridge gap between people who own property and people who don’t.
Our product allows anyone who is interested in owning a stake in the market to begin immediately with an investment as small as £100. Our customers own a stake in residential properties and gain access to the financial benefits of property ownership without the risk of putting five times their net worth into one asset. This gives our customers the freedom to save for their first home more effectively, defer individual property ownership, or choose not to buy entirely, while still benefitting from property returns.
We believe that Bricklane.com is the best way to invest in residential property. Each customer’s investment is spread across a portfolio of homes across London, and/or Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham. This investment lets our customers earn rental income and whatever happens to property values, equivalent to the percentage of the fund they own. We’ve focused on making the experience as easy as possible and lower the barriers to entry. Our signup process takes about 10 minutes, and once invested, customers can immediately start earning rental income.
How are you and your team liking your office and neighbourhood? Why did you choose to set up near Old Street?
Tom: We’re really enjoying working here. It’s a fun space to be in with a really nice atmosphere. We have lively neighbours, a drinks trolley on Thursday, and great communal spaces with nice decor. Our hosts are also lovely—they’re reactive and work to fix things quickly.
Bricklane.com has always been in this area. We used to work at a different space around the corner. Old Street is nicely sat between the financial and tech world, so we’re perfectly positioned at the collision of both worlds, which we feel has a positive impact on our business. Everyone on our team comes from a tech, engineering, or finance background, so they all fit into the neighbourhood.
What were the selling features when you were picking the space?
Tom: We were drawn to the décor, like the resin floors, exposed ceilings, greenery, and slightly raw materials. It feels utilitarian and honest. The use of glass partitions in this space maximises light; the office we were previously in was in a basement, so the light has made a huge difference in how happy we are to be here.
Our hosts have been great too; they asked what we wanted to make the space better. We asked for a TV mount and they installed it for us, no questions asked. They have a policy of: leave it as you find it, but in the meantime, do you want you want. We liked the size of the office when we rented it—it had enough room for a small breakout area, but we filled the space as our company grew. If we brought on one or two more people, we’ll be looking at moving.
What did you like about the Hubble experience?
Tom: This was our first time booking through Hubble and we really enjoyed the experience. We liked the way options for offices were presented and the filtering option. There’s a believability about the listing. Hubble feels genuine as in what you see is what you get.
The Hubble experience feels a bit like Airbnb, where the people that run the space are managing the space, rather than a broker or management company. Hubble understands the needs and concerns of startups like us, and the Hubble team comes across as personal account managers rather than brokers or salespeople. They’ll give us calls telling us about spaces they think are suitable to a business like us, which is helpful because we’re often too busy to browse all spaces ourselves and will call back to check on us every step of the way without coming across as pushy at all.
What’s next for Bricklane.com?
Tom: We’re currently focused on supporting the continuing growth of our customer base within our existing funds in London and the Northern cities, as they’re performing very well and there’s lots of demand, particularly with ISAs renewing in April. We’re working on making the tenant experience as good as possible – we want renting a property to feel as good as owning one – and improving on the way we communicate how well each customer’s investment is doing. We’re also taking initiatives to better provide the feeling of property ownership for all our customers.
We’d like to get more people talking about Bricklane.com and get the word out that something is being done about the problem of an inaccessible market.