Singapore-based Deskimo, the on-demand app that lets people find co-working spaces and pay by the minute, announced today it has raised a $3 million seed round. It is also soft launching in Jakarta, bringing its total markets to three, along with Singapore and Hong Kong. Participants in the round included Y Combinator (Deskimo was part of its summer 2021 cohort), Global Founders Capital, Pioneer Fund, Seed X, Starling Ventures and TSVC.
The startup was founded earlier this year by Raphael Cohen, Rocket Internet’s former head of Asia, and Christian Mischler, who co-founded foodpanda, HotelQuickly and GuestReady. Instead of offering its app directly to consumers, Deskimo works with companies that have a hybrid workplace model. The app is offered as a benefit to employees, who usually work from home but might want to get away to concentrate or take calls (Mischler said Deskimo’s average users spend three hours at a desk, but some stay the whole day). It partners with coworking spaces, including WeWork, The Hive, Executive Centre and Garage Society, giving them additional streams of revenue.
Mischler told TechCrunch in an email that the startup expanded into Jakarta because it is targeting cities with heavy traffic congestion and where real-estate infrastructure is usually less developed than in cities like Hong Kong or Singapore. “Indonesia is the largest market in Southeast Asia and Jakarta is one of the first markets where Singaporean companies expand into, hence many of our existing corporate clients were requesting the ability to use Deskimo there, which is why we’ve prioritized Deskimo in Jakarta ahead of other metropolitan areas in Southeast Asia.”
In Jakarta, Deskimo has contracted with more than 40 workspaces so far for its soft launch, with plans to add about 10 to 20 more locations by the end of this year. In all its cities, it looks for spaces outside of central business districts so users can find desks close to their homes. For example, in Hong Kong and Singapore, about one-third of Deskimo’s spaces are located in residential areas. In Jakarta, spaces are spread more evenly across the city, Mischler said, with about 60% of its partner workspaces located outside of CBDs.
“As COVID-related restrictions continue to ease, we expect spaces to become more busy, which is why we’ll continue to add options to the app to ensure availability in proximity to all Deskimo users,” he added.
Over the past three months since its launch, Deskimo has also added several new services in response to user demand, including the ability to book centrally located meeting rooms. It is also trialling fixed-fee subscriptions in addition to its current pay-as-you-go model. Other features Deskimo is working on include the ability for main account holders to bring a guest, prepaid credits for companies in addition to end-of-month bills and a rate cap for users who want to spend the entire day at a space.