Workspace of the issue: Scale Space

There are plenty of workspaces out there, many are generalist, but some are niche to specific sectors. And that is exactly what Scale Space has done. Scale Space is a community for businesses looking to scale.  

“We are more than just a workspace,” commented Caroline Halley, Community and Marketing Manager of Scale Space. “We are a diverse community made up of venture builders, universities, corporate innovators, and scaleup experts.”  

Scale Space’s curated community fosters a highly collaborative environment. Halley continued: “Scale Space’s flagship site in White City is a Joint Venture partnership between Blenheim Chalcot, one of the UK’s digital venture builders, and Imperial College London. The knowledge and networks from our partner institutions enables Scale Space to connect our member businesses to the people, services and space they need to grow and thrive.”  

The vision and purpose 

As with any workspace provider, Scale Space has a solid vision and purpose. 

“The vision is to unlock UK innovation by helping businesses scale,” remarked Sodrul Hussain, Growth and Partnerships Manager of Scale Space. “The UK is abundant with startups however many of them struggle to scale. The key for us is to create an environment that fosters the scalability of businesses and innovation. This is precisely what we aim to offer: a space where entrepreneurs, innovators, and universities can work in proximity, fostering collaboration and the exchange of ideas.”

As mentioned by Halley earlier, Scale Space has two campuses. Its London site is co-located with Imperial College London, and its Nottingham site is co-located with the University of Nottingham. The site located within Imperial College London is within its White City campus, so Scale Space has seen the huge amount of talent that comes from within the university, and the academic expertise, as well as the network and resources, has helped make the Scale Space community what it is.  

Why is unlocking UK innovation so important? 

There are shocking statistics out there about the failure rates of startups. It is widely reported that up to 90% of startups fail: the average rate of failure for year one is 10%, but increases to 70% after two to five years of business. According to Startup Genome, the failure rate for UK startups in particular is around 60%. These figures are due to a number of factors, from funding to lack of market fit.  

“Starting a business and making it grow comes with big challenges – like finding the right people, getting expert advice, having strong leadership, securing funds, and having a flexible workspace. Our goal is to create an environment that tackles these issues, making it easier for businesses to grow faster,” Hussain explained.  

Having a space where these startups can go and find the resources they need, all while being a part of a bigger ecosystem can create a community that can support businesses on their journey of scaling.  

Scale Space history 

Scale Space opened its first campus, the one in London, back in July of 2020. The Nottingham campus was opened in April the following year.  

“The idea came about through a longstanding partnership between our joint venture partners, so Imperial College and Blenheim Chalcot. It was the concept of co-location between a top tier university and a venture builder with 20 years of experience in scaling businesses and startups. We aimed to attract and accelerate companies, fostering their growth and speeding up their development,” Halley commented.  

Why do startups and founders use Scale Space? 

Every workspace is different, as are the needs of startups and founders. What may be the perfect fit for one founder, may completely miss the mark with another. So why do startups and founders use Scale Space?  

“I think we offer more than other spaces do. There are a lot of co-working spaces within London, but I think what sets us apart is that we provide our members with access to a growth network of diverse talent and expertise,” Halley said.  

The workspace has been tailored to members who are looking for physical space. The space isn’t just a workspace, but it also provides learning and development opportunities, as well as social events for the community. The events are designed as networking opportunities, as well as fun ways to gather with other members and get to know the people in the community. 

Hussain delved deeper: “The White City site spans 200,000 square feet. It provides a unique blend of co-working lab and office space, catering to businesses in the tech, digital, and life sciences sectors.”  

The inclusion of lab spaces means that the startups that need access to them are able to do so, at a lower cost than most traditional purely lab space providers. Another key advantage to having lab spaces within the co-working space means that collaboration is encouraged, which can lead to more ideas and breakthroughs.  

As well as this, the workspace has a number of event spaces, meeting rooms, a sports pitch, and a podcast studio.  

At the time of interviewing Halley and Hussain, Scale Space’s White City site was at 99% capacity, highlighting that what Scale Space offers is the perfect fit for many startups and founders.  

Plans for expansion? What’s next? 

With its White City site almost fully occupied, and with customers progressing through their scaling journeys, Scale Space will need to expand in order to accommodate the growing requirements of its customer base. 

“We are looking into expansion opportunities to accommodate the future growth requirements of our customers in the medium term. There may be opportunities that come up in London, or elsewhere, and we’re always open to it,” Hussain stated. “We’ve noticed a huge demand for what we’re doing. I think it’s quite unique and it seems to be working really well. We’re excited to take that concept further and have more partnerships with universities.”  

"We’re also aiming to host more impactful events in 2024, centred around themes like talent acquisition, engagement with academic experts, securing grants and funding, and introducing exciting social gatherings to connect our diverse community," Halley expanded. “We’re really looking at plugging our community into the wider London ecosystem.”

Being part of a community and having a dedicated workspace to continue innovating is crucial for startups of all sizes. Scaling a business can be a difficult, and at times, a lonely experience, especially when the right guidance may not be readily available. This is where a workspace like Scale Space can be a lifeline for startups. Scaling a business doesn’t have to be a long and lonely road, especially when you can be part of a wider community ready to give you the resources you need.   

This article originally appeared in the January/February issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe