Hear it personally from Omar and Hamza – The dynamic duo who grew aggressively from 5 to 20 co-working venues in less than a year!
Letswork is a widely spread community of pop-up co-working spaces in the UAE. An asset-light co-working concept, partnering with existing venues to offer inspiring, affordable and flexible workspaces to freelancers, SMEs and corporates. It is really something worth appreciating and recommending especially for a lot of the digital nomads, freelancers, and startups.
Omar Al Mheiri founded Letswork with Hamza Khan his partner from e-25, Emaar’s in house innovation lab.
Omar was born in Abu Dhabi and raised in Dubai, graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Business Administration.
Hamza grew up in Dubai and moved to London at the age of 18. He graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences with a degree in Law before joining Clifford Chance LLP. They were both selected for the E25 program at EMAAR and joined forces in December 2017 to launch letswork.
An Emaar brand, Letswork is more of a community platform than an office company. These co-working spaces ought to organically create networking opportunities.
How did the idea of ‘Letswork’ come to your mind?
It all began when we ourselves were looking for a space to work from as aspiring entrepreneurs.
Working from home is too distracting whereas working from cafes is super uncomfortable and the cost adds up – one easily ends up spending AED 60 on 2 coffees and a water bottle everyday.
We even tried local co-working spaces but it didn’t make sense for a team to spend thousands of dirhams per month simply over a crammed up desk.
With so much competition in the food and beverage sector, we saw many stunning venues sitting empty during the day that could act as great spaces to work from. That’s when we thought of Letswork – Why not solve both problems with one solution? 😀Two hits in one shot!
By partnering with venues across Dubai, we could offer packages to members of the public who required affordable and flexible workspace solutions with perks like unlimited tea, coffee and water. The venues would in turn benefit by being activated during dead hours with additional footfall and revenue when they would otherwise be sitting empty.
How did you get in touch with venues across UAE to create pop up spaces?
We began by putting together a list of venues that we could see as great spaces to work from. Our relationship with EMAAR helped us secure the Rove Hotels.They were our first venue partners which now act as our flagship spaces.
One-by-one, as we added more venues, our credibility grew!
The Food and Beverage industry is very close-knit. We are immensely blessed by the power of word of mouth – when owners/managers see the success letswork brings to venues, they tell other restaurant owners who later reach out to us to implement letswork in their venues too.
What all is taken into consideration before you choose a venue for workspace?
Each of our venues is unique in terms of its aesthetic and ambiance but what is common amongst them all are factors like strong WiFi, plenty of power outlets, free parking and great coffee.
We try to offer variety to our members – some like places with a bit of a buzz, while others like dead silence. We hope to cover every corner of the UAE over the coming months.
Ultimately building a strong company culture is all about improving performance, how do you manage performance?
Our performance is in check because we try to better ourselves
consistently and make sure that the entire team is making valuable contributions.
As a very small team, we’ve company KPIs but not individual ones. In a startup, you end up doing A to Z even if it’s not your core responsibility.
How strict are the policies and procedures in the company?
Company policies and procedures are vital for building accountability and efficiency! However, they should also be malleable enough to adapt to change, especially for a young startup.
Tell us about perks received by “Letswork” members?
Letswork members receive access to work at 18 locations across the UAE with unlimited tea, coffee, water, free WiFi access, comfortable seating near plugs, free parking, complimentary meeting room access, 20% off food and beverages as well as access to member events and community perks.
Can you tell me the story of your prior successes, challenges, and major responsibilities?
We feel immensely blessed to have achieved a number of successes in our first year of operations!
We grew from 5 venues to 20 that we have today! Lots of people connected with letswork due to it’s innovative concept of community collaborations.
We were finalists in the pitch competition STEP Conference 2018 (the region’s premier startup conference) and were nominated as Entrepreneurs of the Year by Arabian Business. As a result, we have also received significant press coverage both locally and internationally including in Arabian Business, Entrepreneur Magazine, The National, Dubai TV and Pulse 95 Radio.
Challenges we faced while launching letswork was the lack of coworking culture in the UAE. We took this as a learning experience, to be one of the pioneers of coworking spaces in the region. Growing from this, we now have the largest community of unique users in the co-working industry of UAE.
Are you looking to expand your business in other countries?
This is definitely something we are looking into! We’ve a very scalable business model henceforth actively looking at opportunities to either grow this regionally or globally.
What aspects of business you find far more challenging than you expected?
For any new business, building a consistent sales pipeline is probably the biggest challenge – especially when your product is something new and not many people know about it. Although social media has made building brand awareness significantly easier than ever before, converting them to leads has been a process that we are trying to master.
Do you have any other advice you would like to share?
We at letswork connect with many different startups, freelancers, consultants, SMEs, we come across a lot of interesting people with great ideas but the problem is that people sometimes spend too much time and money on specific things that may not lead them to significant wins.
We follow the motto of failing quickly and failing cheaply !
Since letswork’s launch in February 2018, it has grown into a community of over 1,500 active users using their 20 locations in Dubai and Sharjah.
Enjoy the freedom to work from beautiful spaces across Dubai (with tons of perks thrown in.)
Sign up for letswork and say goodbye to boring cubicles and crammed desks.