Asian FlySpaces startup, founded by Italian Mario Berta in 2015, called the Airbnb of coworking, is an online platform that aggregates office space for lease. In addition to entrepreneurial activities, Mario teaches at the Madrid business school, IE — he developed the curriculum of the Owner Scale Up for entrepreneurs and startups who want to quickly grow your business.
We talked to Mario about coworking, good pitching and where is the new Silicon valley
Mario, you are developing business in Southeast Asia. What are the key features of this business environment?
The main feature of Asia is the very high value of all human ties and relations. Products and services are important, but there is business starts with relationships.
But there are economic factors that make this region special. Today Southeast Asia is the fastest growing economic zone in the world, in every industry there’s going to be great prospects. Within a region depending on the country’s economic conditions are very different. For example, in Singapore, the most open economy in the world, and in Malaysia and Indonesia, everything is very regulated. In these countries there are certain restrictions in some sectors, the foreign national can not own more than 50% of the shares of the company.
Is it true that it is similar to the Ukrainian business environment? In what way?
All emerging markets are alike in varying degrees. In Ukraine the aspect of personal relationships is also very important. As a rule, countries with a growing economy there is no reliable legal institutions. And the businessman, realizing that to rely on the state and the law in case of problems, it is not necessary, can only rely on personal relationships with colleagues and partners, built on trust.
In addition, the rapid growth of the market is always fraught with inefficiency. Many startups that launch in emerging markets, are faced with this.
Will Asia the next Silicon valley? How will this affect American Valley?
New Silicon valley already exists there and it is called Shenzhen. It is a city in China, the heart of Pearl river Delta (Pearl River Delta) — place of concentration of high-tech companies. Doing smartphones Xiaomi — they are three times faster than iPhone, and cost half the price. That is, it is formed an innovative region, which completely closes the local market.
With the American Silicon valley in many respects they compete, often successfully. For example, the largest player of e-commerce market in Southeast Asia online retailer Lazada. In 2016, Alibaba Group bought it in order to “squeeze out” from the Amazon marketplace.
Or, for example, in Indonesia there is a service delivery, Go-Jack. It can be used to send money, rent a car, to send parcels, food and medicines, call the doctor and much more. This start leaves European and American counterparts, for example Glovo, a chance to compete on the Asian market. In General, almost all successful Asian start — UPS is a solution for consumers: Go Jack, the Asian competitor Uber taxi service Grab, the Indonesian marketplace Tokopedia and others.
What can you say about the Ukrainian eco-system for start-UPS.
A distinctive feature of the start-up ecosystem in all the countries of Eastern Europe — the highest level of software development. IT specialists from post-Soviet countries is the most strong mathematical and technical base. This, oddly enough, can be traced in Asia. They have the best developers are Vietnamese, because Vietnam has long been influenced by the socialist countries, even when geographically far away from them.
But with such a high level of technical training to the Ukrainians, like other entrepreneurs from Eastern Europe need to “pump” communication skills, social interaction, the ability to sell. There are few who can do it well.
One of your master classes called “How to close a deal for $10 million.” Tell us, what’s the secret?
There are four main reasons why entrepreneurs can’t make a deal: They make no effort. Or dare not. There is a word — to dare. To dare and to do. Not enough to prepare for the meeting and the conclusion of the transaction. Must do homework, reserch about what and who you offer. Learn everything possible about your potential investor or partner Improperly prepared or conducted by a pitch. This point stems from the previous one. If you are not prepared or just don’t know how to “pitchai” idea, then nothing happens Incorrectly chosen people, which is pitching. Even a great idea or a competent pitch will not help if you choose the wrong person, which can make the final decision on the deal
What is “a competent pitch”?
Short, but informative. Create a good story, engage the listener emotionally. If you sell a product or service, which is already on the market, history is your only trump card. You should clearly and concisely show what impact is your product or service for an investor or partner.
You are an investor, listened to 10 short and informative pitches. How will you choose the best one?
I will choose a well-tailored story that captivates from the first minute. Same thing in networking — you have three minutes to hold someone’s attention.
Lately there is a perception that networking has ceased to be a key component of the business. Is this true?
He never ceases to work, but changing. Today it goes online. I get millions of messages, messengers and LinkedIn permanently. I was asked to become a consultant, partner, chat, advise, offer something and so on.
When I get a letter in LinkedIn, for example, I pay attention only to the first paragraph. If he is not interested, then I will not read.
And what should be written in the first paragraph, the investor responded to the letter?
With the first paragraph, the recipient must understand that he is really the one you want. Know to whom you are writing. For example, employees in sales don’t ask for advice on the blockchain and Vice versa.
The second — well, if you bind your email to the event or information you know about this man. For example, you listened to his speech at the conference and now want to ask…
Is there a difference in the mechanism of sales in technology startups, compared to other small and medium-sized business?
Actually the mechanism is the same for all three types. There is a challenge faced by all businesses at the start. If you present the idea of a big company, then get in the trap of the so-called “limited trust”. You must prove to the investor that you can trust. One mistake and all is lost.
What are the biggest mistakes made by start-UPS in business development. How to avoid it?
The first is the lack of established processes. As often happens in startups — everyone does, and no one has clear responsibilities.
The second is the inability to keep balance. In a rapidly changing world you need time to react to changes and to pivot without changing the essence of the business.
Your startup FlySpace aggregates coworking office space. Now the world is gaining popularity coliving — this “community” of the new generation, mainly for IT-specialists. How to develop this trend further?
Coliving today as co-working 6 years ago. In Singapore there are already several companies that are engaged in the creation of coliving, such as startup Hmlet. One of our investors also invested in coliving in the Philippines.
We consider the market as a potentially coliving it is interesting to FlySpace, but it is too early to talk about any plans, because the players on it are still very few, there is no need to aggregate on the marketplace.
Do you plan to expand your service to other regions — Europe or USA?
Not until we work exclusively in the Asian market. The only non-Asian region, which is included in our plans is Australia. In Sydney and Melbourne a very high price for the rental of office space, and we view this market as a promising market for us.
What are the trends of development of the market of coworking?
Following the trend according to the system of co-working spaces will begin to operate retail. To rent commercial area for long-term contracts and don’t sign a lot of documents, entrepreneurs will use this format to rent for short term. It’s not about big brands such as H&M, these guys need a huge area. Talking about small business that combines offline retail and e-commerce, and they will use leased retail sites for testing or product launch.
We have FlySpace are already starting to appear such space for retail. In the US there is a big company which is called StoreFront, and they are engaged in the aggregation of retail sites for lease.
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