I recently caught up with Tushar Agarwal - Co-founder & CEO of Hubble who talks about his journey since starting Hubble and lessons learnt along the way. Hubble is an online marketplace for finding and renting office space for start-ups and SMEs. Below is the Q/A.
Hi Tushar, thanks for agreeing to share your story on YHP. Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I studied Economics at the LSE and spent 2 years working in investment banking.
How did the idea for Hubble come about?
While in investment banking, I realised how much spare space businesses had on their books. At the same time, I saw the boom in startups that were consequently looking for office and desk space. This made me realise there could be potential to match the two.
Tell me about the early days, the type of challenges you initially encountered?
The property industry is old-fashioned, and the typical way of finding space was previously through a manual broker on the phone. Dragging this process into the digital world was confusing for some, and we had to get companies and properties to operate in the way we wanted them to.
What is Hubble? And what are you trying to solve with it?
Hubble is an online marketplace for finding and renting office space for startups and SMEs. We list all the major co-working spaces, shared offices as well as more typical leases space too. We’re trying to build the world’s first Artificially Intelligent Office Broker that can decrease office search time from 3 months to just 3 days.
How have you been able to fund it so far?
We have raised funds from well known angel VCs and accelerator programmes. (EF, James Caan, Seedcamp, Spire Ventures, Starwood Capital, 500 Startups).
What advices would you give to entrepreneurs looking to raise funds for their start-ups?
Make sure your business actually needs the funds, and you are in a position where you are investable.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
It was up and down, but the first few deals we did were very exciting! We just had to stay focused on our metrics and what we were trying to achieve.
How did you initially get traction?
We were born out of EF so we utilised the workspace we were already in and started building relationships from there. We started with the businesses that most needed us which were tech startups and focused on flexible desk space - our early adopters.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
We hired a more experienced sales function to ramp up our sales, as well as an enhanced customer success team to guide companies through the search and viewing process.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Building a team of 25+ people and essentially building a place where people can say they love where they work.
What should we be expecting from yourself and the Hubble team for 2018?
We just won 4 awards at Property Week’s Best Places to Work which was great. We’re going to be scaling up in a few different ways this year. We’re also growing our own team too.
Lastly, what advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
Work on something you love and solve big problems.