CO-WORKING spaces - popular with startups and foreign companies looking to set up shop here - are proliferating, making for an extremely fast-growing segment in land-scarce Singapore. On Thursday, Hub Singapore (HS), one of the country's largest co-working spaces, opened its second facility - at Cuppage Terrace.
This comes a year after HS opened its first facility, on Prinsep Street, an 8,000 square foot workspace that is home to some 500 entrepreneurs, creatives and techies. Hub@Prinsep is now "almost operating at 100 per cent occupancy".
HS chief Grace Sai told The Business Times: "As our current Hubbers grow, they would like to have another option that has a different office environment and vibe, to be in sync with their growth."
Hub@Cuppage, for instance, features both hot desks and private offices, to cater to users who require a more private setting.
Ms Sai said that the new space was testament to the growth and diversification of the startup ecosystem, as it was targeted at companies at their next stage of growth, which prefer a more professional environment with "a mix of corporate and startup elements".
Located within a row of 10 heritage shophouses in Orchard Road, Hub@Cuppage boasts 10,000 sq ft of floor space, team rooms, a corporate innovation workshop hall and Skype booths. Hubbers pay S$385-910 a month for a workspace. Private office prices are available on request.
Tenants at Hub@Cuppage include homegrown e-mail marketing startup Ematic Solutions, and San Francisco-based cloud communications company Twilio, which in July was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
On Thursday, HS also announced that it would partner IDA Hive - the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's tech facility at the Sandcrawler - to co-create solutions for Singapore's Smart Nation initiative.
HS and IDA Hive will create networking platforms for HS's entrepreneurs to access the deep technical skillsets of IDA Hive's nearly 100 data scientists, designers and engineers, and for the latter to tap the acumen of HS's entrepreneurs.
IDA managing director Jacqueline Poh, who was guest-of-honour at Hub@Cuppage's launch, said: "We see great synergy (between) IDA Hive and HS. When tech in IDA Hive meets creative in HS . . . we can work together to design and deliver more meaningful digital services for the public good."
Asked about Singapore's innovation roadmap for the next 50 years, she noted that citizen involvement in innovation would significantly increase. "The wants of the population have become more complicated. The government will provide the platform - whether for startups, big companies or aunties in void decks - to come together to do something for the nation."
Hian Goh, founding partner of NSI Ventures, added at the launch event that Singapore cannot rest on its laurels; it has to build a narrative that it is an open society for innovation and talent, and that it is "cool" to work for a Singapore company.
Apart from HS, co-working spaces here include BASH (run by IDA's investment arm Infocomm Investments), The Great Room, Collision 8, Trehaus, JustCo and The Co. In May, CapitaLand turned the entire 12th floor of its headquarters at Capital Tower into co-working space.
Such spaces are increasingly popular in the Republic as more startups are being founded and as they offer low-cost office space and a sense of community. Today, there are over 5,400 high-tech startups in Singapore, according to the IDA.
Meanwhile, Funding Societies, a homegrown peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, on Thursday said that it has raised S$10 million in Series A led by Sequoia India. It will use the money to enhance user experience and comply with regulatory variations in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, where it operates.
Founded in June 2015, the startup has since facilitated over S$8.5 million in loans to about 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore.