Building fast-growing start-up communities in Ireland and the UK

Huckletree’s hubs in Dublin, London and Manchester are set to grow as more companies adapt to flexible working.

“From the start of setting up operations in Dublin, we wanted to target the most ambitious and visionary start-ups and scale-ups, building and growing incredible businesses in fast-growing sectors,” said Andrew Lynch, describing the first vision of Huckletree.

The office and workspace provider was originally founded in the UK in 2014, with the Irish branch established in 2017.

Today, Huckletree D2 at the Academy in Dublin city center – once home to Twitter’s European headquarters – is home to nearly 70 companies, with high-profile clients including UK unicorn Starling Bank and newcomers Irish Tines and ChannelSight.

These fast-paced businesses turn to Huckletree for a flexible, adaptable workspace that can grow and evolve as their needs change.

“The coworking space market has exploded post-pandemic, and we’re now seeing a lot of interest from large scale companies exploring alternative options to take their own lease,” Lynch said. “That means we have a really interesting mix of early, mid-stage and late-stage technology companies all operating under one roof.”

Huckletree operates six workspace centers in London, Manchester and Dublin. There’s a lot of competition in the industry, but Lynch said his company’s secret sauce is the “art” of building innovation ecosystems.

“Each of our hubs is dedicated to a specific vertical or industry. Dublin, for example, is organized around high-growth technology, SaaS and international expanders. In London, we have Soho organized around a network of VCs and investors. But we get even more specific than that,” he explained.

“While we fully organize 80% of this industry, we keep 20% open to what this industry needs, be it financial advisers, lawyers, creative agencies, investors. This creates an ecosystem of companies that pollinate, learn from each other, even trigger a flow of deals. It’s quite remarkable.

“The creation of a site in Dublin in 2017 was mainly based on how inspiring the start-up scene had become”

Lynch said Huckletree’s mission is to create “the most vibrant innovation ecosystem in the world.”

Providing workspace for high-growth tech and creative companies is the core business, but COO Lynch said Huckletree’s unique offering is its ability to unite these companies so they can share their knowledge and expand their networks. In addition to space to work and grow, Huckletree offers innovation consulting, educational programs and events that bring together its community of members, investors and ambassadors.

Lynch himself was born in Ireland but moved to London after college. “Having spent time working in the private equity and venture capital world with JP Morgan and Cambridge Associates, I traded in my suit and tie to join the coworking industry alongside the co-founder and CEO of Huckletree , Gabriela Hersham,” he said.

“The first idea for Huckletree was started by Gaby in 2010, when she was working in the film industry in New York and working in a shared office space. This led her to launch the first Huckletree space in 2014 in Clerkenwell, London.

After a decade in London, Lynch returned to Ireland with his family last year. “It’s been amazing to see the change in the city since I left after finishing college,” he said. “The creation of a Dublin location in 2017 was primarily based on how inspiring the start-up scene had become. Since then, multiple factors, including Brexit, have brought even more opportunities for tech-based businesses. here.

These changes have made it “a really interesting time for business and technology in Dublin”, according to Lynch.

“We’re seeing a lot of fast-moving companies and a growing number of exciting start-ups,” he said. “There is an undeniable buzz and enthusiasm for technological innovation in sectors such as security, SaaS, fintech, e-commerce and AI. Companies like Tines and Flipdish are proving that it is possible to scale an Irish tech company.

“Offices are now valued as the place where you create, not a place where you work and work”

And over the past two years, it’s not just Dublin’s start-up scene that Lynch has found transformed. The world of work and the attitude towards flexible workplaces has changed by leaps and bounds as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since the easing of restrictions in Ireland and the UK, we have seen more and more companies looking for workspace for their hybrid teams,” Lynch said. “Towards the end of last year our membership base in Dublin grew by 35% as the country started to open up again and we have really seen the market rebound in recent months. In fact, we are almost full in all our hubs. »

Huckletree is now well positioned to provide not just scalable start-ups, but all kinds of businesses, with the flexible workspace they need. “People expect flexible work options from their employers, and being in a space like Huckletree helps companies provide the ultimate flexibility for their employees, while providing a hub to connect with those around them,” Lynch said. .

“The way people perceive the world of work has changed, and we have responded to this change, ensuring that what we offer is what people are looking for in 2022 and beyond. Offices are now considered as the place where you create, not as a place where you work and work. It’s a place where you understand the context, connect and make important connections with the industry. For a workspace like the ours that caters to the innovation ecosystem, it’s less about benefits and more about real ingredients of entrepreneurial thinking.”

‘Gaby and I joke that the last two years have been our real MBA’

Lynch sees the transformation of the industry over the past two years as “a reminder that true innovation never sleeps.” Through the challenges brought by Covid-19, he too emerged from the crisis with valuable lessons learned.

“Covid has turned the world upside down and everything we assumed about consumer behavior and took a bit for granted before the pandemic has been thrown out the window. We are now in a phase of normalization, where companies have moved out of survival mode and are once again focused on growth,” he said.

“Gaby and I joke that the last two years have been our real MBA; a varied curriculum covering product development, sales, finance, investor relations and of course crisis management.

And during the pandemic, Huckletree has continued to push forward with new ideas, fit for the future of work.

“Last year we launched The earthworm, a virtual summit that brought together sustainability leaders, founders, politicians and innovators from all corners of the globe. We’re doing a hybrid event again this year in May in multiple cities around the world, which we’re really excited about,” Lynch said.

Across the business, Huckletree strives for sustainability, from the partners it works with to the buildings it inhabits. “We’re also in the process of applying for B Corp certification, which means we’re looking at everything from how we recycle to the suppliers we work with,” Lynch said.

Also on the roadmap, a second hub in Dublin and accelerated growth across the entire portfolio. “It means we’re going to grow our community team, which we’re really excited about!” Lynch added.

“In Dublin, our short-term goal is to at least triple Huckletree’s presence in the capital over the next three years. Our growth ambitions have accelerated over the past 24 months, due to the trend we are seeing in our markets towards a flexible approach to the workspace, which has massively helped our model and the market post-pandemic. The ultimate goal that drives us every day is to be the home of brave innovation across the UK and Ireland, and we believe we are on the right path to achieving this.

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