Matthew De Zen was one of more than four million Australians who found themselves working from home through the coronavirus pandemic.
The engineering student – who lived in Melbourne, Australia through the second wave coronavirus lockdowns – was craving a change of scenery and looking for an affordable, local workspace that would give him greater focus and offer an avenue to socialise through work hours.
With the thrill of working from home over the past nine months waning for many, Mr De Zen realised he wasn’t the only worker facing this problem. Thinking further, he realised that offering a service that could help people make money from their spare space could be a win-win.
It was the main reason he launched Coworking Mate, a peer-to-peer space hosting platform designed to connect people and provide personalised, affordable and local spaces to work from that are mutually beneficial for both the user and host.
“When I lived in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, I was watching my flatmates commute up to two hours per day to go to their inner-city offices in Brisbane. I also noticed office spaces that had been available for rent for over a year which meant landlords, many of whom a mum and dad investors, were losing money,” Mr De Zen said.
“There is a gap in the market to be the middleman between space-users and space-owners.
“Coworking mate is the perfect digital product a platform connecting people around the world to comfortable, convenient workspaces that can use any time, anywhere and with any budget.”
While many companies offer co-working spaces in major cities around the world, Coworking Mate’s point of difference is it puts the power and profit back into the hands of the average person in an Australian first.
Similar to Uber or Airbnb, the platform allows anyone from homeowners to cafes to landlords to list their space. Those working from home can easily search for a suitable space and book by the hour, day or week through our platform.
Mr De Zen believes the peer-to-peer economy is here to stay and rapidly changing the way people are looking at goods and services.
“With remote working representing the biggest shift in the Australian workforce since World War Two, we need to be ready for the changes this will bring,” he said.
Our users can rent out their home office to people who don’t have a suitable place to work remotely, helping them get work done and also earning money for themselves in the process. For many people their home is their biggest asset, why not have it make money for you?”
“We need to understand that we are all stronger together, and the strength of one is no greater than the whole. Our local communities are struggling post-COVID, this is just one way we can give back.”
Coworking Mate is currently recruiting Earlybird spaces in Melbourne and is set to launch in January 2021.
From the new year, the basic account will start at $29 per month and offer hosts the opportunity to advertise up to five workspaces from the one property, while a premium account will cost $58 per month and allow members to host an unlimited number of spaces from the one property. The site will collect a 10 per cent booking fee on all transactions through the platform.
Mr De Zen hopes to expand into Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin in the next 18 months.